June 2, 2011
SONS OF SIN
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Eli served as a priest of God at Shiloh, where the tabernacle of God had been pitched for many years during the time
For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them.
1 Samuel 3:13
Worthless Sons. God described the sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, as worthless (“בְלִיָּעַל”) men who did not know the LORD and the custom of the priests with the people (1 Samuel 2:12). Apparently, these children despised education in the ways of God, and spurned salvation from God. In those days, God had commanded that priests take meat from offerings by using a three-pronged fork to lift out portions from a boiling pot (1 Samuel 2:13; Leviticus 7:29-34). God also directed that, before boiling, the fat of the meat be removed and burned separately as a soothing aroma. But Hophni and Phinehas wanted the meat raw, with the fat still intact. Through their servants, they forced the people of Israel coming to Shiloh to give them the offerings as they demanded. Those children of Eli corrupted all the sacrifices offered at Shiloh while they were in charge.
Immoral Sons. Hophni and Phinehas also polluted the morality of people coming to Shiloh. Many of the pagan temples in the land had male and female prostitutes. The evil sons of Eli “lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting” (1 Samuel 2:22; compare Exodus 38:8). The Bible implies that the priests consented to the immorality and freely participated in the same. They thoroughly disregarded the holiness of God and their position as priests to serve God through their daily work. Instead, they viewed their position as an opportunity to satisfy their own hungers and lusts.
The Father Lost Contact. When he was old, Eli confronted his sons, Hophni and Phinehas, because he heard of their sinful behavior from other people (1 Samuel 2:22, page 440). This verse indicates that for many years Eli apprently had been completely out of touch with his sons and neglected fatherly care. If you want to have children like Hophni and Phinehas, repeat the mistakes of Eli: do not educate your children about serving God according to their calling, do not keep in touch with your children, do not honestly evaluate the work of your children, make sure you get so busy doing God’s work you have no time for your adult children, and, in short, let your children do what they want without your guidance.
The Sins of the Father. Eli himself not only failed his sons, but he also participated in the abuse of the sacrifices and offerings. One day a man of God confronted Eli, after he had rebuked his sons for their sins against God. Through the man of God, Eli heard about his sins: (1) he was “kicking at” (“תִבְעֲטוּ”) the sacrifices and offerings of God in His holy dwelling; and (2) he honored his sons above God (1 Samuel 2:29). Eli loved the choicest of every offering, and took it, growing extremely fat in the process.
Glorifying Your Sons. The other major sin of Eli concerned his own devotion to his sons. God said Eli honored those boys more than Eli honored God. God commands fathers to love their children, but they must never honor children above God. The word “you honor” (“תְּכַבֵּד”) here means to glorify, to esteem highly. Instead of the children following the commandment to honor their father, this father chose to glorify his children above God (compare Exodus 20:12; 1 Samuel 2:29-30). God also observed that Eli knew about the iniquity of his sons, and that they brought a curse upon themselves, but Eli did not rebuke them (1 Samuel 3:13; Deuteronomy 17:12). Whenever fathers allow their children to get away with all their evil deeds, even when the father knows about them or should have known, then God will take action. Fathers who love their sons confront their sons in love, and take all appropriate action immediately.
Sons Cursed by God. In consequence of the sin of Eli and his sons, God told Eli that He would break the strength of Eli and his house so that “there would not be an old man in your house” (1 Samuel 2:31). God also cursed Eli by making him watch the holy house of God fall into distress, and the death of the increase of his house in the prime of their lives (1 Samuel 2:33). God told Eli that He would cut off every man of Eli from serving at the altar of God (1 Samuel 2:32).
Five Sins of Fathers
Fathers Sin When They Lose Track of Their Adult Children
Fathers Sin When They Participate in the Sins of Their Children
Fathers Sin When They Honor Their Children more than God
Fathers Sin When They Overlook Their Childrens’ Sins
Fathers Sin When They Despise God and His Purpose for Their Children
Eyes Full of
Offspring Become Beggars.
So we learn more about fathers and their role in daily devotions.
● Being a father in Christ means do not lose touch with your children, no matter how old they are.
● Being a father in Christ means that you confront and rebuke your children, no matter how old they are.
● Being a father in Christ means you do not participate in the sins of your sons, and never honor them more than you honor God.
Application for Today
Eli reminds all parents of the need to stay in touch and connected to their children. Your children will always need you to confront them about their sins, and encourage them to repent and follow Jesus. Will you let your children know how much you love them, and want the best for them, today? If you know they are living in sin, or particularly in immorality, will you confront them today? Will you read the Bible and pray with your children today?