Monday, May 08, 2006

Passive or Proactive?

1 Samuel 3.14, 18
Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, "The guilt of Eli's house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering."
Then Eli said, "He is the LORD; let him do what is good in his eyes."
Eli is a strange character. I don't much like him, because I resemble him too much in his passivity.

Eli's sons were corrupt priests. Eli didn't do anything about their evil deeds (or character) except whine at them. And when God tells him that Bad Stuff is going to happen, Eli continues on his course of doing absolutely nothing. His resignation sounds pious, but his inaction shows his apathy -- or unbelief.

Just about everybody else I can think of responds more intelligently to these decrees than Eli does (the Pharoah of Egypt in Moses's time being one notable exception): Abimelech in Genesis 20, Ahab in 1 Kings 21.27, the Ninevites in Jonah 3. When these people hear disaster is about to happen, they pay attention and try to change God's mind. And in these cases at least, they succeed! I can only think of one place where this failed (King David, 2 Samuel 12). So the percentage is with repenting and trying to change God's mind. Even the Ninevites, those enemies of Israel, succeeded!

So what about you and me? What are we in denial about? Cholesterol and a sedentary life? The cost of college? Global warming? Neglecting the poor? Financing retirement? And what are we going to do?

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