November 30, 2016
It says in the Good Book: “He who honors Me, I will honor…”
That’s a line from a movie – if it isn’t immediately recognizable, it should be. Eric Liddell is reading a note from his competitor, American Jackson Scholz, as portrayed in the 1982 movie that won the Best Picture Oscar that year, Chariots of Fire. The note says: “He who honors Me, I will honor.” Liddell then goes on to win the 400 and win his gold medal at the 1924 Paris Olympics.
This is an amazing clip – at about the 1:00 mark, Jackson Scholz is in an American Express commercial with Ben Cross, who played Harold Abrahams in “Chariots of Fire.”
Now – THAT’S Amazing!
I wanted to find out where that verse came from – it’s really only stated once in the Scriptures just that way, but the underlying principle is found throughout the Word of God. That principle is: when you give the Lord public praise – you publicly “honor” Him, He will bless you. David did it with every Psalm he wrote, and he was honored by being the greatest king in the history of Israel. But he was MOST honored by being an ancestor of the Messiah, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, Jesus. Not only is Jesus a descendent of David’s kingly line, through his earthly step-father, Joseph (Jesus was virgin-born, so He was not a physical descendent of the cursed line of Jehoiakim), He is a descendent of David in Mary’s side, too – His physical inheritance through David’s son Nathan. One of the title given to the Messiah is “Son of David,” a title that Jesus readily accepted in His first coming.
The verse is 1 Samuel 2: 30 – for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. But look at the context: it’s in the middle of a curse! Yahweh has finally had enough of the high priest Eli in the days when Samuel, the last Judge of Israel, was a young man. The Lord would end the priestly line with the death of Eli and his two evil, worthless sons, Hophni and Phinehas – there has always been government corruption. Read the context of the verse – notice how similar the Scriptures are with what is said about young Samuel here and what Luke later said about Jesus. (Luke 2:52 – “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”)
1 Samuel 2
26 Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man.
The Lord Rejects Eli’s Household
27 And there came a man of God to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Did I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh? 28 Did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? I gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. 29 Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded for my dwelling, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’ 30 Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever. 33 The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men. 34 And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day. 35 And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever. 36 And everyone who is left in your house shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and shall say, “Please put me in one of the priests’ places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.”’”
Eli was of the line of Ithamar, Aaron’s son. Later, during the reign of Solomon, the high priestly line was officially transferred to Zadok, who was of the line of Eleazar, Aaron’s other son (his sons Nadab and Abihu died before they had any children). So, the prophesy of a curse on Eli’s family realized its fulfillment at that time.
The point is: because Eli and his sons brought disgrace on the name of the Lord they falsely served, He took the honor away from them. Zadok honored Yahweh, so Yahweh would honor him. The Lord blesses those who publicly give Him honor – praise and respect… to give credit to Him for what He has done.
I believe the Lord still does that today; He honors (blesses in many ways) those who honor Him, and those who dishonor Him He “lightly esteems” – or curses them.
This is one of the many reasons I believe Babe Ruth was a blessed individual: he gave public credit to God for his “Called Shot.” In a famous interview, the Bambino himself says, “Well, the Good Lord must have been with me …”
The Lord frequently blessed (and cursed) another great player, Hank Greenberg, because he honored Him publicly by sitting out on Yom Kippur during the pennant race of 1934. The Tigers were blessed with a pennant in 1934, a World Championship in 1935, and another 10 years later, in 1945, both against the Cubs. It is my contention that the Cubs were cursed with a 70 year long “Babylonian Exile” curse for the way they mistreated the Jewish superstar (and American hero) in 1945. They were kept out of the World Series for 70 years (it had to do with their anti-Semitic treatment of Greenberg, not that Billy Goat!)
God blessed the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955 by giving them their one-and-only World Championship, right after they signed a local Jewish lefthander named Sandy Koufax on his birthday in December 1954. Sandy was, for five years, the greatest pitcher EVER (from 1962 to 1966). He was blessed by pitching a perfect game in September 1965, then, being named MVP of the 1965 World Series after sitting out Game One because it was on Yom Kippur (he who honors Me…)
Shawn Green of the LA Dodgers famously sat out on Yom Kippur during the 2001 pennant race. He honored God – and he was blessed by having the Greatest single day that any hitter has ever had: on May 23rd, 2002, he hit four home runs, a double, and a single against the Milwaukee Brewers for a record total of 19 total bases.
Coincidences? You decide.
All of that to say this: The Philadelphia Eagles, at the moment 5 – 6 with 5 games to play, with three home games left with their NFL East Rivals (the Giants, the Redskins, and the Cowboys), have decided to wear special cleats this week. Carson Wentz, their rookie QB – and outspoken believer in Jesus – is wearing shoes that say “AO1” (Audience Of One) and “Romans 5:8” which reads, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
I have been predicting that the Eagles would win the 2017 Super Bowl because I see good signs pointing that way.
“For those who honor me, I will honor…”
I’m still going with the Eagles.
May HE (Elohim, Yahweh, Abba Father) get all the honor! (and glory)