2010-02-08 - Parental Lessons from Eli
The Good, the Bad, and the Godly, Part 2
So he said to them, "Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people, about these wicked deeds of yours." (1 Samuel 2:23)
With a priest as their father, Hophni and Phinehas must have witnessed the importance of fellowship with God and living a Godly life. These sons of Eli were exposed to the Lord's works, and yet how did they turn out to be such heathens? Was it a rebellious nature that lead to their wicked life? They worked for God, and yet they did not know Him. The boys did not take up offerings properly, nor did their behavior fit men working for the Lord.
Eli heard accounts how his sons took advantage of women serving in the church, and how the two men did not take the sacrifices seriously. Eli did tell his sons that he knew the bad report about them, and how he did not approve, but Hophni and Phinehas did not listen.
Is Eli to blame for how his sons turned out? Perhaps Eli should have removed them from their positions, or taken a stronger parenting role. Maybe as their father, he was too close to the situation. It is difficult to watch when your sons aren't all they can and could be, all you and God hope them to be.
Samuel had to be the one to break the news to Eli, his mentor, that God was not going to honor Hophni and Phinehas' actions. Eli took it soberly, accepting God's omnipotence. Later, Eli and his sons all died on the same day. Eli's family paid the price for his boys' selfishness and Eli's enablement. May we learn from his mistake, and take an active part in our children's lives.