Two Faces, Two Families
As you prepare to read God’s Word today, ask him to give you open ears to hear his message.
Read 1 Samuel 2:12-26
 Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD.  Now it was the practice of the priests with the people that whenever anyone offered a sacrifice and while the meat was being boiled, the servant of the priest would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand.  He would plunge it into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot, and the priest would take for himself whatever the fork brought up. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh.  But even before the fat was burned, the servant of the priest would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.”  If the man said to him, “Let the fat be burned up first, and then take whatever you want,” the servant would then answer, “No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force.”  This sin of the young men was very great in the LORD’s sight, for they were treating the LORD’s offering with contempt.  But Samuel was ministering before the LORD-a boy wearing a linen ephod.  Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice.  Eli 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.  And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD.  Now 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.  So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours.  No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear spreading among the LORD’s people.  If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the LORD’s will to put them to death.  And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy were the sins of Eli’s sons so serious?
Have you noticed how quick people are to criticize others? Yet you think: you’re worse than the people you’re running down! We call these people two-faced. They judge others by a different set of standards from those they use for their own behavior. Jesus warned about this in Matthew 7:1-5.
Eli had two sets of standards. When he thought Hannah was drunk and bringing dishonor to the temple, he reacted in righteous anger (1 Sam. 12-14). Yet when his sons, Hophni and Phinehas, brought shame and disgrace not only to Eli but to the God whom he served (12-17), Eli did little or nothing to stop them (3:13). He only scolded them to no effect (23-25).
In clear contrast to Eli’s dysfunctional family, we have the godly family of Elkanah, Hannah and Samuel (18-21). Elkanah and Hannah continued to love and care for their son (19) as he grew in the temple, and God blessed them for their sacrificial giving (21). Although Samuel didn’t yet know the Lord (3:6), the boy showed a respect and responsibility that Eli’s sons lacked (26). He only had one face—and it looked to God.
Ask the Lord to preserve you from being two-faced. Ask him to help you to keep looking to him every day.
Lord, help me judge others with the same standards I use with myself. I want to show Your love to everyone.