Teague McKamey

Hophni and Phineas were priests in Old Testament times (1 Sam. 1:3). The Bible says Hophni and Phineas were wicked men (1 Sam. 2:12). Why? When someone brought a sacrifice, certain parts of the animal were burned first as an offering to the Lord (Lev. 7:3-5, 29- 31). Hophni and Phineas ignored this command. They took whatever part of the animal they wanted; anyone who protested was threatened. The Lord responded,“Why, then, do all of you despise My sacrifices and offerings...by making yourselves fat with the best part of all the offerings of My people Israel?” (1 Sam. 2:29).

The Lamb of God

John the Baptist announced Jesus with the words,“Look! The Lamb of God!”(John 1:36). This is what John meant: Old Testament sacrifices foreshadowed Jesus’s death on the cross. Every time Hophni and Phineas slaughtered an animal Jesus’s crucifixion was prophetically portrayed. When they despised offerings to the Lord, they despised Jesus, the Lamb of God to come.

Hophni’s and Phineas’s contempt for the Lamb went beyond thinking little of God’s offerings. The entire bent of their lives rejected the Spirit of those offerings — Christ crucified. They slept around. They took the best of everything. They pleased and fattened themselves. Instead of serving God’s people they used their religious stature to serve themselves. All this self-preferring was done in the face of the sacrifices that poured out their lifeblood day after day. In effect, Hophni and Phineas spat on the Son of God; they mocked and dismissed Christ’s laid down life, by which we know the God of love (1 John 3:16).

House of the Lamb

When it comes to Hophni and Phineas, pointing fingers is easy. We’ve all heard of ministers that were caught sleeping around, stealing money, or using their positions to benefit themselves. But it isn’t only ministers that need to be concerned about the sin of Hophni and Phineas. How often do average church-goers view Jesus mainly as a means to a better life? We take the best parts of Him for ourselves — forgiveness, financial blessing, healing, etc. But we want no part of His self-sacrificing nature. The cross is something Jesus did for us. It has little bearing on our motivations or decisions. Our life is essentially directed by what makes us feel happy, comfortable, and successful. Jesus is more life-coach than Lord. He supports and inspires us as we pursue our own dreams.

Jesus diedfor us. He wasted himself to the last drop. His Spirit constantly pours out to calm our emotions, give us understanding, and meet our needs. Can we look on Him who gives Himself so freely and remain unaffected? Paul said, “He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised”(2 Cor. 5:15). To live for ourselves in the face of the One who died for all is to despise God’s Lamb and only Son.

The Lord said his sacrifices were required for His dwelling (1 Sam. 2:29). In Old Testament times, God dwelled in a temple. Now He dwells in His people, the church (Eph. 2:21-22). Christ crucified is the sacrifice God requires for us, His dwelling. We are the house of his Lamb. Don’t we violate Him when we enshrine personal interest? Don’t we fall from purpose when we house selfishness?

Teague McKamey lives in Ellensburg with his wife and two children. He is an Elder at Thorp Community Church and blogs at thevoiceofone.org.

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