Faith, The Key To Joy Pt 1: Them That Honour Me…

Faith, The Key To Joy Pt 1: Them That Honour Me…

The consideration for this series is one where I fear many of our brethren seem to be struggling so greatly in these days. The struggle is with faith and with the KNOWLEDGE of how valuable each of them are to the kingdom of God and that, abiding in the kingdom, we are to live in a constitution that is diametrically opposed to that manner of living evident in the world.

Those who honour me I will honour. (1 Sam 2:30)

There are a mixed bag of scripts we will give consideration in this series, those that are seen in reproof I will preach as a reproof, those that are seen as an exhortation and correction, I will match as best as I can, those that are encouragement, I will move to motivate and encourage and finally those that are doctrinal I will employ to bring authority to the removes, the exhortations and the encouragments. 

We did not believe him.

He told us at the first that we could sustain our lives with the fruit of every tree in the garden but one, that one would see us die eternally. We had been given life, full life, even eternal live, created immortal, never to die, always to have fellowship with our creator so long as we enjoyed all the provisions he had given us.

Perfect joy, perfect peace, perfect life, perfect comfort. We walked with the Lord in the cool of the day, heard his voice and spoke to him. 

For how long? the scriptures do not say, but it did not seem to take long before we chose to disbelieve his words and believe the words of a serpent. We rejected the word of the living God and he rejected us from the perfect habitation of his creation, Eden.

If it was our LACK of faith that led to the sin that damned us, It does not surprise me therefore that FAITH is what saves us. “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3)

Just as our lack of faith led to sin and brought death, so too our faith brings life through the blood of the one who died for our sin.

It should not surprise us that if it is the lack of faith that led to death and eternal misery, and believing by faith that leads us to life and eternal happiness, that living by faith is the key to joy!

The just shall live by faith” (Hab 2:4, Rom 1:17, Gal 3:11 & Heb 10:38).

Every time we choose to believe God at his word we honour him and rejoice in his faithfulness to us. The greatest example of this is our salvation. How much more can we have joy in life if we are willing to trust him and be faithful to his word?

21  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Matthew 25:21.

Beloved, stay with me in this as we see the word of God come alive so wonderfully.

If unbelief so angered the Lord to lead to our damnation and misery, and believing God at his word by faith so pleased him to lead to our salvation and happiness, and then living our lives honouring God by faith enters us into the “Joy of the Lord”, IT STANDS TO REASON THAT LIVING OUR LIVES UNFAITHFULLY will lead us to both sadness and sorrow AS WELL AS his contempt.

Them that honour me will I honour, and them that despise me shall be lightly esteemed” 1 Sam 2:30. 

In other words, all of history and all of the scriptures teach us that living unfaithfully in life leads to our sorrow and his anger, while living faithfully pleases him and brings us joy.

FAITH therefore, IS THE KEY TO JOY, but the converse is ALSO TRUE, our lack of faith is the KEY to Misery.

All through the scriptures is threaded this exact same theme where God is angry with those not believing him by faith, and pleased with those who believe him by faith. 

Chastisement and sorrow fall on the lives of those who will not trust the Lord, blessing and joy on those who do. 

Blessing and cursing is seen from the very beginning of the Bible, annotated in clarity by Moses in Deuteronomy, played out historically in the entire history of Israel, all the way down to Jesus as he demonstrates the inability of his disciples to attend to their ministry for their lack of faith;

 17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. 18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. 19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? 20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Matt 17:17-20)

And so we come to the universal principle we see here in 1 Samuel 2:30, a principle that we will expound this morning that you may see God has threaded our honouring of him by the exercising of our faith with his honouring of us showing himself worthy of our trust.


Beloved, throughout this short series you are going to be fully challenged in the four main areas of life that scripture presents as the main sources of both our sorrows AND our joy.

  • Our Personal Life (in abstaining from the lusts of the flesh), the greatest single source of our sorrow.
  • Our Financial Life (in not trusting the Lord with the fundamental principle of returning to him the tenth of all he has given you), the greatest single source of fear for our wellbeing.
  • Our Ministerial Life (In not trusting the Lord has a purpose for our lives), the greatest source of discontent.
  • Our Relational Life (In not trusting the Lord to love even our enemies), the greatest single source of sadness in our lives.

Them that honour me will I honour, and them that despise me shall be lightly esteemed” 1 Sam 2:30. 

I begin this series with this passage because it truly is the principle that sets all else that comes after it.  

The Four points this morning therefore are;

  1. The Principle Explained
  2. The Primacy Expounded
  3. The Priority Expressed
  4. The Provision Expected


The Principle Explained

Them that honour me will I honour, and them that despise me shall be lightly esteemed” 1 Sam 2:30. 

As we have read already this morning the text we are giving consideration to is in the midst of a context of defiance in the ministry of God to his people. 

The High priest rebuked for neglecting the principle purpose of his life and office and that being his honour of the Lord his God. 

The setting of this principle BEGINS in the highest office of ministry. Fail there, and the people follow. Pastors will do well to remember this.

But we have also here the sons of Eli actively and evidently long being rebellious against the Lord and Eli had not dealt with them even once according to the proper order.

So bad was their failed ministry to the Lord that verse 17 states;

1 Samuel 2:17

17 Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.

And so, having already found a replacement of the prophet in Samuel the son of Hannah promised to her by Eli several years earlier, God now sent an unnamed servant to Eli to tell him of the consequence of his sin in failing to honour the Lord.

Again, verse 27

1 Samuel 2:27–30

27 And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? 28 And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? 29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? 30 Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

God had given to Eli all that pertained to the priesthood of the LORD, but now he “Kicks” at the sacrifice, honours his children more than God and demonstrates himself to despise the Lord in the ministry with which he has been tasked to attend to faithfully.

Much can be said even here that applies to each one of us who are indeed tasked to minister to the Lord and to do so faithfully. 

Much could be said as to how we attend to this ministry; 

do we cumber the ground like the barren fig tree Jesus cursed, or do we bear fruit? 

How do we “Kick” at the sacrifice of Jesus made for us? 

No doubt this will all come out as we continue this series, but for now we need look at the principle given us at the end of verse 30.

Them that honour me will I honour, …” 1 Sam 2:30. 

We know this to be a principle because God has set it so as a statement of fact. 

It is not a preference clause. 

Not based on your personal preference to honour other things before you honour the Lord, not a choice that teaches equality between the two options, no not at all;

Them that honour me will I honour, and them that despise me shall be lightly esteemed” 


That means it is true for all people at all times in history. The statement was addressed to Eli, but is given in the plural form as a principle to ALL PEOPLE; “Them that honour me will I honour, and them that despise me shall be lightly esteemed” 

Far too often we pick and choose whether we FEEL like honouring the Lord.

  • I don’t “Feel” like going to church today.
    • I don’t “FEEL” like reading my bible today.
    • I don’t feel like praying today.
    • I don’t feel like sharing the gospel at the moment.
    • I don’t feel like disciplining my children who blaspheme God to all around them.

That was Eli, and that is far too often a description that hits very close to home.

It is not a conditional clause

It does not permit ANY Excuses. It does not say you can honour me BUT, if it’s too hard feel free to dishonour me. 

If your boss wants you to work on the Lords day, feel free to neglect the day I have set to bless you.

If your children have sports on Sundays, don’t worry about going to your obligation to minister to the assembly.

If you can afford to tithe to the ministry of the Lord, feel free to ignore the statute set for learning how to trust the Lord for all your needs.

If temporal duty calls you to ignore eternal duty, feel free to choose without consequence.

None of that disannuls the principle explained in this text.

Them that honour me will I honour, and them that despise me shall be lightly esteemed” 

God has set in order a fundamental principle that he explains to bless you, our trust in this reality will find for us THE KEY TO JOY.





The Primacy Expounded

Them that honour me will I honour, and them that despise me shall be lightly esteemed” 1 Sam 2:30. 


Notice the order given in the passage. 

God does not say, I will honour you so you can honour me. And yet that is how most Christians and even most of the people in this very church live. 

You have an expectation of the Lord that, IF HE FULFILS IT, you will then honour him.

  • You do this with your money
  • You do this with your ministry
  • You do this with relationships.
  • You do this in your personal life.

The testimony to the truth of this is evident in the LACK OF ONGOING JOY in your lives today.

Beloved, we will address the POLARITY EXPRESSED in the latter part of the the verse in the last point. But for now recognise that, though you may know that those who honour the Lord he will honour, too many of you LIVE in that conditional phase expecting the Lord to honour YOU FIRST.

  • You will ONLY cast in of your ABUNDANCE to the treasury, and until you deem to have it you restrain honour from the Lord.
  • You will only take part in the ministries God has placed before you IF you can get the time off work, IF you don’t have other commitments, IF you feel like it. Sunday services…IF, Youth camps …. IF, family bible studies… IF, preaching the gospel…IF, attending to the sick, the elderly, the troubled….IF etc
  • You will choose to love your enemies….IF
  • You will abstain from the Lust of the flesh….IF


But God EXPOUNDS THE PRIMACY of the principle as an absolute;

Them that honour me will I honour, and them that despise me shall be lightly esteemed” 1 Sam 2:30. 

ONLY when we honour him FIRST, will we be honoured. 

Proverbs 3:9–10

9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

Hebrews 10:24–25

24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Matthew 5:44–45

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

1 Peter 2:11–12

11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

This is NOT just an old testament idea, but the reality of THE PRIMACY of a FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE of how the world ACTUALLY WORKS.

Beloved, I want you to notice something as I preach this message this morning to you.

There are two unbiblical ways that such a message as this has been preached in the past and is still preached today. 

One is that of the carrot and the other is that of the stick.

Modern pentecostalism and Charismatics preach the former; “if you do all these things you will prosper” “if you give you get”, as if it is an investment strategy and its focus is on YOU. The ultimate aim is for YOUR GLORY.

Roman Catholicism and other works based cults preach the latter: “if you don’t do this you will go to hell”. Etc.

What saddens me most is that both of these false doctrines seem to have a greater externally adherents than how the Lord presents it.

All through the scripture, from the beginning to the end God desires his people to trust him and to live their lives trusting him. To be blessed BECAUE they honour HIM First and for HIS GLORY.

Moses at the first instant in Deuteronomy told the people that principle of blessing and cursing. Those that trusted in the Lord and obeyed him were indeed blessed, but their desire was to HONOUR HIM FIRST.

Leap and the Net Will Appear

Quickly desire to tell you a story I heard many years ago that I have retained to this day to help me understand the primacy of this principle in honouring the Lord FIRST.

There was a great acrobatic star who amazed the people who came to see him. One day an inventor of an invisible net came to promote his product and the acrobat immediately saw the opportunity of drawing even more crowds to his spectacle.

If the people could not see the net, how great a crowd might attend.

The net was installed. The acrobat climbed the tower, took hold of the swings bars, and suddenly got frightened in seeing NO NET below him.

His legs shook at the the prospect of falling.

Suddenly the inventor cried out to encourage him, ‘LEAP AND THE NET WILL APPEAR”

THAT, in short, is the Primacy Expounded in this text,

Them that honour me will I honour, …” 1 Sam 2:30. 

We honour the Lord FIRST, even if we don’t know the outcome.

We honour the Lord in primacy, above all else.

We honour him also in priority, trusting him for the outcome.


The Priority Expressed

Them that honour me will I honour, …” 1 Sam 2:30. 

Given to Eli by the man of God was this principle and it was given him as a rebuke for honouring his family before honouring the Lord. 

We need to be careful here for there have been cases of ungodly people separating from family members un-biblically taking such portions as a justification to separate from them. We look at this text in both context and understanding the principle as The Key To Joy when we are willing to trust the LORD in his words.

1 Samuel 2:29

29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?

We are to honour the Lord ABOVE all else, and in PRIORITY to everything and everyone else (v29)

Eli had understanding of his responsibility to the Lord, but chose to ignore it for whatever practical reasonings deceived his mind.

Many are the speculations regarding WHY Eli chose to honour his sons above God, but there is little doubt Eli had weighed up the options and perceived his limited expectation of the practical ABOVE TRUSTING THE LORD.

And so we come to the crux of the matter. The passage presents an EXPRESSION OF PRIORITY that is a challenge to our perception. It tells us that we are to trust in the Lord above and beyond what we think the outcome of that trust will contain.

We do this in every area of our lives; Our money, our ministry, our relationships and our personal life.

We think of what we are commanded to do and what we KNOW we should be doing, but then the fears appear in our hearts, the questions of “what if” create in us the fear of not being able to deal with the perceived trouble that may come IF we give priority to honouring the Lord.

Examples abound in the Scripture telling us of how faithful the Lord is, but it is not until WE apply it to our OWN lives that the challenge really hits home.

I am reminded of the story of two Russian Communists coming to gather to affirm one another’s beliefs;

The official giving instruction says to the other; “and if we have two houses, we give one to him that has no house”, the other affirms saying “yes, I will”.

The official continues, “and if we have two cars, we give to him that has no car”, and quickly the other affirms, and says, “yes I will”.

And if we have two chickens, we give to him that has none”, but the other then says “no”.

Perplexed at the response, the official repeats the call, ““And if we have two chickens, we give to him that has none!”, and the other replies and says, “no, I won’t”.

The official asks “Why not”, and he answers, “I have two chickens

It is always easy to agree in principal, but not easy to apply it in person.

Turn to 

1 Kings 17:8–15

8 And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, 9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. 11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. 

12 And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.

13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. 14 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. 15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.

The greatest enemy we have that prevents us from honouring the Lord as a priority is FEAR.

But the KEY TO JOY is that which casts out all fear.

Beloved, when we take and FULLY COMIT to honouring the Lord as a PRIORITY, life will never be the same again as you watch him honour you in return.

Everything from making no excuse against reading your Bible every day to taking that great step of faith in honouring the Lord in that which you are presently challenged, will have its blessing returned IF IT IS COMMITTED TO only for the purpose of honouring the LORD.

How I wish I could express to you the blessing of determining to trust the LORD completely with the outcome of that difficult decision made to honour the LORD as a PRIORITY.


Imagine the joy even in the midst of his greatest trials when Job could say with absolute confidence, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him” (Jb 13:15)

Them that honour me will I honour, …” 1 Sam 2:30. 

An expectation to the result of the principle proclaimed should be anticipated, FULL STOP!

There would be PROVISION made to every decision we make in honouring the Lord with all he has commanded and shown us.

What limitation could I give examples to you respecting this verse. You all have already in your hearts a knowledge of that which you fear to tread, yet KNOW that it is of the LORD to attend to. 


Please, hear the stories and the accounts of those IN THIS CHURCH who can this day testify of all the stories in their lives when they took that step to trust the LORD and LISTEN to the Joy that abounds in their discovery of how God ministered to wonderfully to them.

Don’t leave church today until you share an example of your experience in this that OTHERS may learn a little of that KEY TO JOY. 

Let me close with this thought.

We now live in a completely different economy to that which we used to live in the world. Everything we did in the world was based on OUR EFFORTS and maybe the results will be what we hoped for. 


That’s quite a statement, and yet it’s true.

Yes, the world might give you fame and fortune, BUT it can NEVER GIVE YOU the containment you expected FAME AND FORTUNE might provide you.

Yes, the world might give you excitement and thrills, multitudes of people to inflate your ego, even looks and power and popularity might possibly come your way, BUT EMPTINESS WILL PREVAIL, rather than JOY.

Cursing rather than blessing.

Them that honour me will I honour, …” 1 Sam 2:30. 

Imbedded within that text, and not too deeply is the KEY TO JOY. Can you see it yet?

It truly is the KEY to ALL lifestyles blessings, if you don’t see it yet, try doing what it tells you and discover it in reality.

First we had THE PRINCIPLE EXPLAINED, The doctrine is there, it is not a PREFERENCE CLAUSE, it is not a CONDITIONAL CLAUSE. It is an absolute. “Them that honour me will I honour”

NEXt we had THE PRIMACY EXPOUNDED; “Leap and the net will appear”. If you are reading your Bible, and you know there is that which you are to obey the Lord in, then do so trusting him for the outcome.

Next the PRIORITY EXPRESSED; The temporal is to give way to the eternal. Jesus spoke of our treasure in heaven. He spoke of this to the rich young ruler, to his disciples, to you and I.


Them that honour me will I honour, …” 1 Sam 2:30. 


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