They knew not God: Now the sons of Eli [were] sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD, 1 Sam. 2:12(KJV)
Familiarity is a monster that devour every good thing in relationship and breeds contempt
Many a time familiarity with people can blur their vision or erode their understanding of what a man is and what the man can do and they lose what is available at their fingertips. Husbands can get familiar with their wives and fail to appreciate or lose the value in the treasure given to them by God; the same is applicable to wives.
Many people get familiar with Prophets of God that they cannot receive any miracle when such a man ministers. Invariably, familiarity with God can make a man to lose touch of Him and limit himself of what God can do for him. The same ark of Testimony that cannot deliver the Israelites from the Philistine was what destroyed Dagon the strongest idol in their land, just the Israelites has lost the efficacy of the ark due to familiarity (1Sam 5:4-6).
Familiarity with God can make a man to lose touch of Him and limit himself of what God can do for him
The earthly ministry of Jesus is a typical example of this. Jesus Christ could hardly perform any miracle among His immediate people not because he was not empowered to or that it is not the will of God but because of their familiarity with him. This is found in these scriptural verses:
Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother Mary? And his brethren, James, and Joses and Simon and Judas and his sisters, are they not all with us? …Mat. 13:55, 56
These people had every biological details of the Lord Jesus and were so familiar with Him that they lost the spiritual details that heaven wants to communicate with them, what a loss to them! It is the same Jesus who was anointed with Holy Ghost and power and went about doing good, delivering the oppressed, healing the brokenhearted and performing all manners of miracles, signs and wonders (Act 10:38), yet they lost the manifestation of all these in his own land.
On the other hand familiarity with a man ought to open the eyes of the people to the treasure that God kept in fellow human being in order to draw it out.
Familiarity, should be a tool that enhances a man to maximize the relationship with fellow man and God. It should create a better understanding about the to personality and their ability to explore what is obtainable.
In the light of this, I want to once again consider another characteristic in the life of the sons of Eli, the Priest, who earlier knew the Lord but lost out of relationship with Him. What surprises me is that they were still serving in the temple and offering sacrifices on behalf of people, yet they were far away from God and the sacrifices they offers have become abomination to God.
Nominal knowledge of God but lacks revelational knowledge
Due to the number of years spent in the temple of God, the sons of Eli knew God nominally, they also bear names that shows that they belong to the tribe or family that knows God. Nominal knowledge of God is not sufficient to walk with Him what is required is revelational knowledge of God. Hence, they know God by name but lack His revelation.
The word ‘knew’, used in this context, is an Hebrew word that means to get acquainted with or to have the understanding of a personality, which is an indication that they only know God at the surface level and this should have propelled them to dig deeper but they remain at that level and their knowledge of God got fainted with time. They tend to know God but don’t have any understanding that can sustain their knowledge of Him.
Staying at the nominal level of the knowledge of God is remaining at the story level about God (Ps 78:3) which is grossly insufficient to sustain the relationship with God, He must be personally sort out as those fathers telling the story also sort Him. Eli must have related the personality of God to his children but they did not have any personal revelation of God that will sustain what they have been told. We must not stay at the level at which our fathers (spiritual and biological) told us about God, we must have personal revelation of Him
It burns in my heart when we have people bearing names that portray God but there is nothing of God in their lives; rather they continuous do things that make God to say I know you not (Mat. 25:12). It must be understood that nominal knowledge of God in not sufficient to keep the relationship with Him alive but revelational knowledge.
Jacob had nominal knowledge of God, yet his life was not transformed until the encounter at Bethel. It was this revelation that brought an untold and lasting transformation to his life and the generations after him. Revelational knowledge of God is what is required to sustain relationship with God and bring about a turn around to a life.
What sustained Joseph in Egypt was not nominal knowledge of God because he left his father at a very tender age, but revelational knowledge does. It was the same revelational knowledge of God that gave victory to David while physically stronger people were hiding themselves at the battlefront, indeed they that know their God shall be strong (Dan 11:32). Apostle Paul was not satisfied with surface knowledge of God and was always panting after the revelational knowledge that was why he was praying that I may I know Him and the power of his resurrection….
How to overcome familiarity with God
What is certain is that we can relate with God constantly without losing the power in the relationship through the negligence in familiarity.
As I draw conclusion today on this characteristics of sons of Eli who were so familiarity with God that they despised and dishonour Him right in the temple, what must be our focus as in our relationship with God is to pant after the revelational knowledge of God, personally find God and let Him know you. Whatever you are told of God, no matter what it is, is incomparable to what God reveals to you about Himself.
Those who did, and who are still doing, exploits in the world did that through their personal understanding of God. God has so much simplified having revelational knowledge of Him for us in many ways including:
- Love the Lord wholeheartedly, Mat. 22:37: love has the capacity to renew the personality of the person that is love. Newness of the person helps to rekindles the flame of love.
- Having constant fellowship with Him: unbroken relationship is what strengthens the cord of love.
- Search the scripture: the scripture is the manual of love that God has given to men. No man can love God outside of what is the scripture. What ever love shown unto God that is not scriptural is lust in its entirety.
- Coal must constantly be fanned to flame to keep bringing fire
Oh that our hunger and thirst will be that I may know Him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering being made conformable unto his death….