A Bible Devotion


Saturday, October 01, 2016

Eli's Children

1 SAMUEL 2:12 NLT 12 Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the LORD

Eli was a priest of Israel who did not train his sons to obey. Eli's failure to properly train his children affected not only his own family very negatively, but also caused disaster for the nation of Israel. (see 1 Samuel 4:10-11)

If children are not trained to respect the word of their parents, they won't properly respect anyone -- including God -- without first experiencing the painful consequences of their actions.

How important God considers training children to obey can be seen from the story of Eli and his sons.

1 SAMUEL 3:13 NKJ 13 "For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.

1 SAMUEL 2:17,22-25 NLT 17 So the sin of these young men was very serious in the LORD's sight, for they treated the LORD's offerings with contempt. 22 Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle. 23 Eli said to them, "I have been hearing reports from all the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning? 24 You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the LORD's people are not good. 25 If someone sins against another person, God can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede?" But Eli's sons wouldn't listen to their father, for the LORD was already planning to put them to death.

Eli may have told his sons they were doing wrong, but they obviously had no respect for the word of their father and ignored his warning. Because God held Eli accountable for this, it must have been a result of his failure to train them to obey when they were children.

Training is more than telling. Training is making sure someone does something correctly until it becomes a habit.

1 SAMUEL 2:29-30 ESV 29 Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?' 30 Therefore the LORD the God of Israel declares: 'I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,' but now the LORD declares: 'Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

Because Eli did not make his sons do right, God held him accountable. God said Eli honored his sons more than he honored God.

Many parents make the same mistake. They put their children -- their desires, their happiness -- above everything else in life, including God. In that way they are actually worshiping their children by putting them above God.

COLOSSIANS 3:20 NLT 20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord.

Only when we are children are we to OBEY our parents. However, Scripture instructs us to always HONOR our parents no matter what our age may be. To honor primarily means to show respect and treat with special consideration.

EPHESIANS 6:2-3 NLT 2 "Honor your father and mother." This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, "things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth."

Training children to obey is not primarily for the benefit of the parents, but for the benefit of the child. Not training your children to obey is actually child abuse.

It may seem easier at the time for a parent to let their child do whatever they want -- without restraining them or training them to do right. But that harms the child because it trains them to do wrong. As a result they are robbed of the peace and blessing they should enjoy.

God places primary responsibility on fathers to make sure their children are trained according to God's Word. Mothers are not exempt from this responsibility, but God does hold fathers ultimately responsible.

EPHESIANS 6:4 NLT 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

(Note: if you fell short as a parent, don't despair. God is merciful and gracious. So pray for your children and God will work in their lives.)

SAY THIS: Lord, I pray that the parents in our land will train their children according to the Word of God.


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