Archive for the ‘Children and Discipline’ Category


Under Gods Command

Eli’s Wicked Sons

1 Samuel 2:12-36  12Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the LORD. 13Now it was the practice of the priests that, whenever any of the people offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being boiled 14and would plunge the fork into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot. Whatever the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. 15But even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the person who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.”

    16If the person said to him, “Let the fat be burned first, and then take whatever you want,” the servant would answer, “No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force.”

     17This sin of the young men was very great in the LORD’s sight, for they were treating the LORD’s offering with contempt.  

   18But Samuel was ministering before the LORD—a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annuals sacrifice. 20Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the LORD give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the LORD.” Then they would go home. 21And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD.

     22Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. 24No, my sons; the report I hear spreading among the LORD’s people is not good. 25If one person sins against another, God may mediate for the offender; but if anyone sins against the LORD, who willy intercede for them?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the LORD’s will to put them to death.

     26And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with people. 

Prophecy Against the House of Eli

    27Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Did I not clearly reveal myself to your ancestor’s family when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh? 28I chose your ancestor out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your ancestor’s family all the food offerings presented by the Israelites. 29Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’

     30“Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. 31The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your priestly house, so that no one in it will reach old age, 32and you  will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, no one in your family line will ever reach old age. 33Every one of you that I do not cut off from serving at my altar I will spare only to destroy your sight and sap your strength, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.

     34“ ‘And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you—they will both dies on the same day.t 35I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his priestly house, and they will minister before my anointed one always. 36Then everyone left in your family line will come and bow down before him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread and plead, “Appoint me to some priestly office so I can have food to eat.”

The law stipulated that the needs of all the Levites were to be met through the people’s tithes (Numbers 18:20-24; Joshua 13:14, 33). Because Eli’s sons were priests, they were to be taken care of this way. But Eli’s sons took advantage of their position to satisfy their lust for power, possessions, and control. Their contempt and arrogance toward both people and worship undermined the integrity of the whole priesthood.

Eli knew that his sons were evil, but he did little to correct or stop them, even when the integrity of God’s sanctuary was threatened. As the high priest, Eli should have responded by executing his sons (Numbers 15:22-31). No wonder he chose not to confront the situation. But by ignoring their selfish actions, Eli let his sons ruin their own lives and the lives of many others.

This fork was a utensil used in the tabernacle for offering sacrifices. Made of bronze (Exodus 27:3), it usually had three prongs to hook the meat that was to be offered on the altar. Eli’s sons used this fork to take more meat from the pot than was due them.

What were Eli’s sons doing wrong? They were taking parts of the sacrifices before they were offered to God on the altar. They were also eating meat before the fat was burned off. This was against God’s laws (Leviticus 3:3-5). In effect, Eli’s sons were treating God’s offerings with contempt. Offerings were given to show honor and respect to God while seeking forgiveness for sins, but through their irreverence, Eli’s sons were actually sinning while making the offerings. To add to their sins, they were also sleeping with the women who served there (2:22).

God harshly judges those who lead his people astray or scorn what is devoted to him (Numbers 18:32).

Samuel was a young child, and yet he “was ministering before the LORD.” Children can often serve God just as effectively as adults. God will use anyone who is willing to learn from him and serve him. He has no age limits. Don’t discount the faith of a child or let your age keep you from serving God.

Samuel wore a special linen garment (in Hebrew called an ephod). Ephods, long sleeveless vests made of plain linen, were worn by all priests. The high priest’s ephod carried special significance. It was embroidered with a variety of bright colors. Attached to it was the breastpiece, a bib-like garment with gold embroidered shoulder straps. Twelve precious gemstones were attached to the breastpiece, each stone representing one of the tribes of Israel. This breastpiece also provided a pouch to hold the Urim and the Thummim, two small objects used to determine God’s will in certain national matters.

God honored the desires of faithful Hannah. We never hear about Peninnah or her children again, but Samuel was used mightily by God. God also gave Hannah five children in addition to Samuel. God often blesses us in ways we do not expect. Hannah never expected to have a child at her age, much less six children! Don’t resent God’s timing. His blessings might not be immediate, but they will come if we are faithful to do what he says in his Word. 2:23-25 Eli’s sons knew better, but they continued to disobey God deliberately by cheating, seducing, and robbing the people. Therefore, God planned to kill them.

Does a loving God really will or want to put people to death? Consider the situation in the tabernacle. A person made an offering in order to have his sins forgiven, and Eli’s sons stole the offering and made a sham of the person’s repentant attitude. God, in his love for Israel, could not permit this situation to continue. He allowed Eli’s sons to die as a result of their own boastful presumption. They took the ark into battle, thinking it would protect them. But God withdrew his protection, and the wicked sons of Eli were killed (4:10-11).

Eli had a difficult time rearing his sons. He apparently did not take any strong disciplinary action with them when he became aware of their wrongdoing. But Eli was not just a father trying to handle his rebellious sons; he was the high priest ignoring the sins of priests under his supervision. As a result, the Lord took the necessary disciplinary action that Eli would not.

Eli was guilty of honoring his sons above God by letting them continue in their sinful ways.

For the fulfillment of this prediction, see 1 Kings 2:26-27. This is where Solomon removed Abiathar from his position, thus ending Eli’s line. Then God raised up Zadok, a priest under David and then high priest under Solomon. Zadok’s line was probably still in place as late as the days of Ezra.

Lets Bring it Home: Like Eli’s sons, some religious leaders look down on the faith of ordinary people and treat their offerings to God casually or even with contempt.

There are times when serious problems must be confronted, even if the process and consequences could be painful.

Any sin is wrong, but sin carried out deliberately and deceitfully is the worst kind. When we sin out of ignorance, we deserve punishment. But when we sin intentionally, the consequences will be more severe.

Don’t ignore God’s warnings about sin. Abandon sin before it becomes a way of life. Is there a situation in your life, family, or work that you allow to continue even though you know it is wrong? If so, you may become as guilty as those engaged in the wrong act.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.

We see here, that punishment should not be overlooked in training a child. If he cries, it is not because you are killing him. The child will survive the punishment and thus avoid an untimely or premature death due to sinful conduct.

However, many parents are reluctant to discipline their children at all. Some fear they will forfeit their relationship, that their children will resent them, or that they will stifle their children’s development. But correction won’t kill children, and it may prevent them from foolish moves that will.

A lesson learned where punishment is involved is remembered better. In the Old Testament, a rebellious child was killed. Rebellion was associated with witchcraft. This is just saying, whip him and drive the rebellion out of him, before it gets too much hold on him. In the long run you will save him.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is carful to discipline him

It is not easy for a loving parent to discipline a child, but it is necessary. The greatest responsibility that God gives parents is the nurture and guidance of their children. Lack of discipline puts parents’ love in question because it shows a lack of concern for the character development of their children. Disciplining children averts long-range disaster. Without correction, children grow up with no clear understanding of right and wrong and with little direction to their lives. Don’t be afraid to discipline your children. It is an act of love. Remember, however, that your efforts cannot make your children wise; they can only encourage your children to seek God’s wisdom above all else!