Bible Order: 2 Kings 5–7
Chronological Order: 1 Chronicles 1-2
New Testament Only: Luke 14:25–15:7
Today’s reading in 1 Samuel disturbed me. I’ll have to meditate a bit about it all for I don’t really know exactly why it disturbed me. On the surface is the story of Eli and his wayward sons and I’m afraid that the Lord may be leading me to examine more deeply my behavior as a father.
Eli was the High Priest at this time, a descendant of Aaron. Having read through Judges and Ruth we know that Israel had wandered far from God and that they were an exceedingly sinful people by this time. There were godly people in Israel, but they were extremely out numbered. Kind of like the people of God today. A majority of American’s today consider themselves to be Christians, but the behavior of most of them is anything but godly.
Eli had two sons and they were running an extortion racket. The priestly office in that day was hereditary so unless something happened to these two bad apples one of them would become the High Priest. Now Eli did, at one point, take his sons to task for their bad behavior.
1 Samuel 2:22-24 ESV
“Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad.”
We can’t know if this was the one and only time Eli attempted to correct his children but we do know that his efforts were a failure. I want to be careful here because as a parent you can do your very best to guide, instruct, and correct your child and they can still turn out to be a bad apple. I don’t know what percentage of children whose parents attempt to do their very best turn out to be godless adults, but I’m pretty sure it is much lower than the percentage of children whose parents offer little or no effort on that front. I love my only child. She is the apple of my eye. Unfortunately I am overly indulgent with my daughter and I am seeing the negative consequences of my poor parenting.
God put Olivia in my care. She belongs to Him. I am only the caretaker, or steward, to whom God gave the responsibility of raising this child. Sometimes my child needs correcting and I’m just too tired to the right thing. I often look for the quick and easy way out. I might yell or make snide comments or even say “I don’t care” and walk away. This is humbling for me to admit to you. I suspect you may have had a higher opinion of me than I deserve. I am very human. I am not always the man God intends me to be, and I am confessing all of this to you so that you understand that I am not some guy who has it all worked out and you are some kind of freak. My suspicion is you’ve been were I’ve been.
Understand me, I don’t say this to say it’s alright; it isn’t. I’m saying this so you know that we all have to work at this godly man thing. It isn’t easy and there are no days off. Yelling may allow me to blow off steam but it has not been shown to be a highly effective parenting approach. Neither have snide comments or giving up. None of those really lives up to our responsibilities as God’s stewards. What was the consequence for Eli’s poor parenting?
1 Samuel 3:13-14 ESV
“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.”
His children were dead men walking, and Eli would leave this world a sad, empty old man. Guys, when we fail to make an appropriate attempt to raise our children well, we leave them as dead men and women walking; it is only a matter of time until the eternal grave catches up with them. Do you think your 9 to 5 job is important? That job is nothing compared to the importance of the job God has given you.
Brothers, our failures are in the past. There is only today and tomorrow. Go to your knees in prayer. Ask God to forgive you for your failures in your role as steward of the family He has put in your care. Ask Him to teach you and guide you to be the father and husband He intends you to be. Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ. Do the hard things that have to be done so that your children will know the Lord. Live the example, do all in love, and never give up!
Have a blessed day!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(Originally posted 4/8/11)