Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
1 Samuel 3:11-14 ESV
Wow! God was being really harsh in today’s passage. Why?
If we go back a chapter to 1 Samuel 2, we read that Eli, the high priest, had two very wicked sons. They did not know the Lord; they stole the best meat from the sacrifices and they slept with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
Keep in mind that these men were priests. They who were supposed to be above reproach. Yet, they were some of the most evil men in the country.
There is one phrase in today’s passage that really stands out to me – “…his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them.” While we know from prior chapters that Eli talked to his sons about their wickedness, this passage indicates that he did not do anything to correct their behavior. We also know that he did not have them removed as priests. He allowed them to continue serving in the tabernacle, even though they were living in outright sin.
As I look at this family, I wonder what Eli was like as a father when his sons were little. Did he allow them to get away with things? Did he discipline and correct them as children? Or was he too busy to take time to teach them? Was he a pushover and allowed his sons to walk all over him? The Bible doesn’t say. But I think we can guess a few things about Eli’s parenting.
Here is my takeaway from Eli – Disciple your children. Start early while they are still pliable and aren’t set in their sinful ways. Deal with their sin and point them towards God.
Looking for some practical parenting examples?
“Lessons From Our Parents” is a practical look at how various parents in the Bible responded to the parenting challenges they faced and what they did right and how they messed up.
“Lessons from Our Parents” features five different parents from the Bible and what we can lessons we can learn from them. Each devotional features scripture and thought-provoking insights, designed for quick reading (aka. while in the bathroom) for busy moms.