A Hard Message
My Lord and my God, may all I do and all I say honor and please You today.
Read 1 Samuel 2:27-36
 Now 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?  I 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.  Why 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?’  “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.  The 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,  and 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.  Every 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.  “‘And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you-they will both die on the same day.  I 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.  Then 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.”‘” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhy was such punishment to come to Eli's family?
“Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained” (30). The prophet made a disturbing observation: by indulging his sons and allowing them license, Eli was actually dishonoring God. Therefore, there would be consequences. It must have been a hard message to deliver, and a hard one to receive. Every one of the predictions came true (4:11; 22:18,19; 1 Kings 2:26,27). It’s hard to tell people that if they do not live God’s way, there will be consequences. Yet we cannot just do things our way, and get away with it. God is not an indulgent parent; if he ignores the sin of his children, it’s a denial of his power, purity and very being. It would also be very unjust to let some things go without consequences: we would be living in an uncertain relationship with a capricious, inconsistent God. Christian parents today have a hard job. How do we bring up our children in God’s ways, and yet allow them to make their own choices in life? There’s no formula for success, though a prayerful heart and a life that models Christian love count for much.
Pray for any Christian parents you know whose children have turned away from God. Pray for those children, also.
Merciful Lord, keep me alert to sin in my life. May I always be ready to repent and be forgiven.