THIEVES IN THE SANCTUARY II – Open Heavens Devotional (Thursday October 6th 2016) – By Pastor E. A. Adeboye
Memorise: Thou therefore which teachest another; teachest not thyself? Thou that preachest a man should not steal, does thou steal? Romans 2:21
Read: 1st Samuel 2:12-17, (KJV)
2:12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord.
2:13 And the priest’s custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a flesh hook of three teeth in his hand;
2:14 And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the flesh hook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither.
2:15 Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw.
2:16 And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force.
2:17 Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.
Bible in one year: Ezekiel 37:15-39:29, Psalms 74:12-23
The worst of all thieves in the church are the ministers who take the tithes, offerings and the first-fruits collected from member for their personal use. You hear them say, “He who serves at the Altar must eat from the Altar.” As true as this statement may be, custodians of the Lord’s sanctuary should be wary of greed and the love of money. 1st Timothy 6:10-11 says:
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee all things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love patience, meekness.”
In the Bible reading for today, the children of Eli corrupted the people’s sacrifice through greed. Unfortunately, the same thing is happening today; some ministers of God, through greed, have made the tithes, offerings and first-fruits that people bring to the sanctuary unacceptable to God. Sometimes, members of the congregation suspect this foul play and begin to ask the ministers in charge what they use their tithes and offerings for. Though the ministers should be accountable to God through men, however, the tithes and offerings become an abomination before the Lord when the givers monitor it to the extent of wanting to know what God does with it. This is the reason some people claim to be paying their tithes and offerings and there is nothing to show for their giving. In Matthew 6:3-4, Jesus Christ said:
“But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.”
It is dangerous when brethren are not being encouraged or motivated to give more because they do not have anything to show for their previous giving. This happens when they begin to develop a negative attitude towards the way their pastors handle the finances of the Church. Some people leave their local assembly to go and pay their tithes and offerings elsewhere. This is counterproductive. Hence, the ministers handling God’s assets must be very careful. They must not become thieves in the sanctuary. The Lord enjoins us to fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life whereunto we have been called, and keep away from the love of this world. If it is dangerous to rob God by not paying our tithes and offering, it is deadly to steal out of the one that the brethren are faithfully contributing for the advancement of the Kingdom business. We must learn from the children of Eli and the children of Samuel himself (1st Samuel 8:1-5).