Through the Bible in a Year – May 17th

The scheme for May – June can be found here

1 Sa 1-2; Heb 7-8; Psalm 23-24

Perhaps the dominant theme of the epistle to the Hebrews is that of the Priesthood of Christ, one without beginning or end, like that of Melchizedek. It is interesting that the writer reaches back in the history of GOd’s people to a time before the formal establishment of the sacrificing priesthood, to Melchizedek, one who offers bread and wine . . .

Throughout the Old Testament, there is an ongoing critique of the Aaronic priesthood – which culminates in Jesus’ conflict with the Temple authorities. It is Aaron after all, the first High priest, who causes the Israelites to sin by creating the Golden calves. Warning there surely and a Powerful one to all those of us who are involved in the leadership of the church in an age which like the city of Athens is full of Idols, many of which we worship within the church.

Throughout the Old Testament it is the prophets who lead the critique of the priestly cult and their forerunner is Samuel. And so the story of Samuel begins in the context of the sacrificing priesthood. [It is I think important to note that for all the two books of Samuel are focussed on the rise and fall of David, its roots are to be found in this critique of the sacrificing priesthood]

And so as often happens, when God seeks to raise up a faithful one, one is born beyond human hope, by the intervention of God most High, to Hannah. And so Samuel is born and in the early years of his service we are introduced to the degenerate ministry of Eli and his sons – the reverberations of which will continue to be felt for many years. At its heart is indeed that which brings Satan down – ‘Why then look with greedy eyes on My sacirifices and My offerings – the offering of My people Israel?’

The first temptation was to take that which belonged to God, to seek to be like him, Satan fell from heaven we are told because of his desire, his lack of humility, his thirst for that which was not his – Jesus comes to us at the end ‘as one sho does not consider equality with God something to be grasped . . .’

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