Eli Didn’t Correct His Children

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 1 – 3

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 11 – 14; Proverbs 29; Psalms 136 – 140)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

“Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.” – (1 Samuel 2:17)

“For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” – (1 Samuel 3:13)

In these beginning chapters of 1st Samuel, we see the miraculous birth of Samuel; and the downfall of Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas. Often, when I reflect on this portion of Scripture, I am drawn to the subject of Samuel and how God answered the prayer of Hannah (his mother) by giving her a child. However, this morning I am thinking about the two evil sons of Eli – Hophni and Phinehas. The first reference above tells us that the sin of these men was “very great before the Lord”, because it actually caused the people of God to hate coming to the Temple to give their offerings. These priests were not only corrupt in their handling of the offerings of the people, but they were also immoral with women who came to the Temple. These men had to go. God’s patience with them was running out. God was further angered by this situation because their father, Eli, the high priest, knew about what was going on, and he didn’t do anything to stop it.

This passage of Scripture admonishes me in two areas. First, I must remember that as a leader in God’s service, I bear a tremendous responsibility to deport myself well. My actions will affect others. If I become corrupt or immoral I will not just be impacting my own relationship with God, but I will become a big stumbling block for others. This idea is especially important for people who are leaders in the church, but it applies to all Christians. People are watching us. We must be careful that we are not leading them astray. We have an obligation to “adorn the gospel”, which basically means we are to make God look good.

My second thought from this passage regards parenting. We are to restrain our children, which must begin when they are very young. If we can instill in them the fear of God at a young age it will not depart from them when they are old. It is obvious from this passage that Eli did not discipline his boys when they were young. Again, this applies to every parent, but it is especially important for preachers, deacons, and other leaders who are commanded to have their houses in order. Parents need to stop trying to be their children’s “buddy”, and they need to start being parents; and parenting involves love, instruction, and correction.

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” – (Proverbs 13:24)

“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” – (Proverbs 19:18)

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” – (Proverbs 22:6)

“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” – (Proverbs 23:13-14)

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” – (Proverbs 29:15)

“Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” – (Proverbs 29:17)

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Camille Stahl
Camille Stahl
12 years ago

You can tell how a child is raised by how they respect or disrespect an adult. It breaks my heart to hear a ten year old saying four letter words. I heard a very young boy talking like that to his Dad, and the Dad just went on like nothing. Wake up people!!

Gary Shannon Smith
Gary Shannon Smith
5 years ago

Many children today are not reared by parents at all. They begin their tender years at child care while both parents work. Consequently, the child is raised by other adults and to a degree by other children. The primary influence on a child should be that of a mother who first loves and nurtures; and then to a degree by a father who provides leadership and discipline. Yes, this is out of date. But compare the children of today to those who were reared by two loving parents 50 years ago. I can remember when I stayed with adults other than my parents for a day; My father would say, “do what you must to make him mind.” My fear and respect for my father went far beyond the household and I cannot remember once an adult having to correct me, spank me, or scold me. My parents knew that I knew that if I had to be corrected when I stayed with someone else I would be corrected again when I got home. I also cannot remember a single time in my life when I or my brother ever told our parents “no.” NO kidding–not once.

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