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Those Who Honor Me I Will Honor

January 15, 2023 Speaker: Allen Snapp Series: Highlights in 1st Samuel

Topic: 1 Samuel Passage: 1 Samuel 2

Highlights from 1st Samuel

Allen Snapp

Grace Community Church

Jan. 15, 2023


“Those Who Honor Me I Will Honor”

The movie Chariots of Fire tells the story of Eric Liddell, a Christian missionary to China who trained to compete in the 1924 Olympics. When the heats for his favored race, the 100 meter, was moved to Sunday, he refused to run because his religious convictions held strongly that Sunday was a day to be kept holy unto the Lord.

A lot of people thought he was crazy to throw away this opportunity to win gold after years of training. His coaches tried to talk him into relaxing his convictions just this once. Liddell held to his convictions and when the opportunity was offered to him to compete in the 400 meter race on a different day, he gratefully accepted.

But Liddell was a 100 meter not a 400 meter runner. The American coaches dismissed him as no threat to their team. Just before the race began, one of the American runners, Jackson Shultz, handed Liddell a note that read as follows:

It says in the old book, “He that honors Me, I will honor.” Good luck!

Liddell went on to win the gold medal in the 400 meter race. He honored God and God honored him. The verse Jackson quoted is found in our chapter and reads:

those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 1 Sam. 2:30


Millions of self-help books are sold each year. How to do better in life, deal with anxiety, succeed in the workplace, succeed in our marriages, succeed in our relationships, be more productive, enjoy life more, and so on. The demand for these books reveals that we want to live our lives well and many of us suspect that we aren’t. Or at least we could be doing better.

I submit to you that this one verse holds more power than all the self-help books combined to direct our lives towards true success and the best life possible, at the same time helping us avoid living a frustrated and failed life.

God says, those who honor Me, I will honor. Those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed.

God draws a sharp contrast between those who honor Him and those who don’t. We see this contrast clearly drawn in chapter 2 starting with those who aren’t honoring God: Eli the priest’s two sons, Hophni and Phineas.

Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord. 1 Sam 2:12 

These men served as priests in the house of God but they didn’t know the Lord. The NIV translates it they had no regard for the Lord. To them the position of priest was a way to exploit and abuse God’s people for their own benefit. To them the ministry was just an opportunity to fleece the flock. Worshippers brought their best to offer to God and Hophni and Phineas came along and took it from them. If they didn’t give it over willingly, they threatened to take it by force.

To make matters worse, they were sleeping with the women who served at the entrance of the temple. The spiritual state of Israel was spiraling downward because of the wickedness people saw in their “spiritual leaders”. God also was watching.

17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.

The opposite of honoring God, they treated God and His offering with contempt. They spat on God, they thought of Him as worthless – that’s what contempt means. What they didn’t know was God was watching. Their sin was very great in the sight of the Lord. God was watching. God saw. Verse 18 gives another contrast:

18 Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy clothed with a linen ephod.

God also looked and saw a young boy – just a kid - named Samuel ministering before Him. And this young boy pleased Him.

God says, those who honor me I will honor. God is watching…all the time.

  1. We honor God by recognizing we live our lives in the sight of the Lord

When we post about our lives on facebook or youtube, we post a sanitized version of our lives. We selectively pick through the moments of our life and say, “hey, this makes me look good…happy…interesting…adventurous…” I’m gonna post it. We pick the moments when we look the best and pose for the camera.

What if your life was like a real-life Truman show? What if you were always on camera, 24/7, 365 days a year with the world watching? Well, in a sense, you are, and so am I. God sees everything. Nothing is hidden from God. God not only sees everything we do

(and don’t do), He knows the thoughts of our minds and the motives of our hearts.

In Psalm 139 the psalmist asks God where could I go from Your Presence? If I ascend into heaven, you are there! If I descend into hell, you are there! Darkness is as light to God. There is nowhere to hide.

To make matters worse the Bible promises that what we do “in secret” will one day be shouted from the housetops. God’s not very good at keeping secrets! Our secrets will one day make the front page news! God’s piercing gaze sees everything and one day He will expose everything and there will be nowhere to hide.

Like so many people, I was so disappointed after Ravi Zacharias’ death to hear that he had sexually abused women in his employ and carried on secret relationships with women other than his wife for many years. I respected him as a godly man and a brilliant Christian apologist. He kept things well hidden while he lived, but all his sins became front page news after he died, leaving his family heartbroken and betrayed, and revealing that he hurt many victims along the way.

We live 24/7 in the sight of God and one day everything will be known. Does that mean that honoring God means we live perfectly 24/7? We can’t. We need Jesus, we need the gospel of grace and forgiveness. The Psalmist says,

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,Lord, who could stand?But with you there is forgiveness,so that we can, with reverence, serve you. Psalm 130:3-4

Thank God Jesus covers our sin but know this – he doesn’t cover our sin with secrecy, he covers our sin – all our sin – with his precious blood. With forgiveness. With mercy. But not secrecy.

We honor God by walking in the light, being honest with God, being sincere. That means we don’t live double lives: a public life and a secret life. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have privacy – privacy is a healthy and needed thing. I’m talking about secrecy. I’m talking about doing one thing and being one thing in public and being and doing another thing behind closed doors where we think no one can see.

Because the most important Person of all sees. We live our lives in the sight of God.

  1. Honoring God means doing the right thing even when it’s the hard thing

Going back to Samuel, there is yet another contrast starting in verse 22.

22 Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24 No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. 25 If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death.

26 Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man. 1 Sam. 2:22-26

Eli the priest was a good man but his response to his two son’s sins is totally inadequate. He heard about their sin but he didn’t take action. He rebuked them but he didn’t remove them from their positions as priests. That would have been hard for a father to do but it would have been the right thing to do.

Understand that their sin wasn’t private sin, it was polluting all of Israel. It was taking the nation down the tubes with them, yet Eli took no action. What his sons needed – what Israel needed – was strong accountability but all Eli did was protest weakly. And we find out a few verses later, Eli was fattening himself on the food they were stealing so he’s complicit in their sin.

We can sometimes make the mistake of equating conviction with legalism, which leaves us equating convenience with grace. Eric Liddell was not a legalist, he loved the grace of the Lord Jesus, but God had built a conviction in his heart to set aside the Sabbath as holy and he knew his conscience would be violated if he broke it because it was convenient.

As God speaks truths to our hearts from His word, let’s not be afraid to mix those truths with resolve until they become convictions. If we aren’t guided by biblical convictions we will be guided by personal convenience. Following Jesus will be “when it’s convenient”. Loving our spouse will be “when it’s convenient”. Going to church will be “when it’s convenient”. Serving others will be “when it’s convenient”. Tithing will be “when it’s convenient”. Forgiving will be “when it’s convenient.”

Now, can all these actions be done out of legalism? Absolutely they can and we need to watch out for that for sure. But each of the things I mentioned is a biblical command. Grace doesn’t give us permission to disobey God’s commands, grace gives us power to obey. And, of course, forgiveness when we fail. But it’s Biblical convictions that give us the strength to the right thing even when it’s hard.

God says, those who honor Me, I will honor.

Eli chose the easy road and it resulted in the hardest possible consequences.

But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death. Vs 25

They had treated God with contempt and the “good life” they were living was going to come to a terrible end. God had disdain for them. But listen to the contrast in verse 26:

26 Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man. 1 Sam. 2:26

Sometimes honoring God means doing the right thing when it’s hard and there may be people who don’t like you for it, but in the end honoring God will help us have favor with both God and man.

Eric Liddell made the hard choice to stay true to his convictions and God honored him. And people respected and loved him because he was a kind and encouraging man. He had favor with God and with man.

There are a lot of self-help books out there promising to improve our lives. Some are helpful, others less so. But this one verse has more power to guide and direct our lives to the best success and the most fruitful life: those who honor Me I will honor.

Lord, help us to honor You in all we do. Amen.

More in Highlights in 1st Samuel

May 28, 2023

A Beautiful Friendship Part Two

May 21, 2023

A Beautiful Friendship Part One

May 14, 2023

The Torment of Jealousy