From Hannah’s beautiful prayer of praise to God in the beginning of 1 Samuel 2, we change tone to the corruption of the Eli’s sons. They were born into the Tribe of Levi, thus they are Levitical priests charged with serving and representing God at the Tabernacle. But, what happens when they are corrupt and their father doesn’t properly correct them? Let’s dig in….
1 Samuel 2: 12-36 — Eli’s Wicked Sons
12 Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the Lord 13 or for their duties as priests. Whenever anyone offered a sacrifice, Eli’s sons would send over a servant with a three-pronged fork. While the meat of the sacrificed animal was still boiling, 14 the servant would stick the fork into the pot and demand that whatever it brought up be given to Eli’s sons. All the Israelites who came to worship at Shiloh were treated this way. 15 Sometimes the servant would come even before the animal’s fat had been burned on the altar. He would demand raw meat before it had been boiled so that it could be used for roasting.
16 The man offering the sacrifice might reply, “Take as much as you want, but the fat must be burned first.” Then the servant would demand, “No, give it to me now, or I’ll take it by force.” 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.
18 But Samuel, though he was only a boy, served the Lord. He wore a linen garment like that of a priest. 19 Each year his mother made a small coat for him and brought it to him when she came with her husband for the sacrifice. 20 Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the Lord give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the Lord.” 21 And the Lord blessed Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.
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.
26 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people.
A Warning for Eli’s Family
27 One day a man of God came to Eli and gave him this message from the Lord: “I revealed myself to your ancestors when they were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. 28 I chose your ancestor Aaron from among all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer sacrifices on my altar, to burn incense, and to wear the priestly vest as he served me. And I assigned the sacrificial offerings to you priests. 29 So why do you scorn my sacrifices and offerings? Why do you give your sons more honor than you give me—for you and they have become fat from the best offerings of my people Israel!
30 “Therefore, the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I promised that your branch of the tribe of Levi would always be my priests. But I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me. 31 The time is coming when I will put an end to your family, so it will no longer serve as my priests. All the members of your family will die before their time. None will reach old age. 32 You will watch with envy as I pour out prosperity on the people of Israel. But no members of your family will ever live out their days. 33 The few not cut off from serving at my altar will survive, but only so their eyes can go blind and their hearts break, and their children will die a violent death. 34 And to prove that what I have said will come true, I will cause your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, to die on the same day!
35 “Then I will raise up a faithful priest who will serve me and do what I desire. I will establish his family, and they will be priests to my anointed kings forever. 36 Then all of your surviving family will bow before him, begging for money and food. ‘Please,’ they will say, ‘give us jobs among the priests so we will have enough to eat.’”1 Samuel 2:12-36 NLT
Points to Ponder
- Interesting that among all this evil and wrong-doing, Samuel grew up. He’s going to be the “faithful priest” that Jesus talks about in v. 35.
- By the way, the “Man of God” is the pre-incarnate Jesus!
- Jesus came down to deal with the sinners and He’ll be back to deal with sinners very soon!
- God doesn’t look at labels. He looks at the reality of our lives. You can’t hide behind a title! God sees and knows EVERYTHING!
- Failure to correct the immorality made Eli just as guilty as his sons. Furthermore, that is just like condoning immorality and sin in today’s world makes you just as guilty as the sinner. Now, THAT’S something to think about!
- Jesus gives us a warning of the fierce judgement that is coming to all mankind — living and dead. It’s time for you to repent! Stop sinning and surrender your life to Jesus.
Greedy Hypocrites — Immorality Then and Now
It’s sad that these supposed “men of God” — “priests” — didn’t know, fear or respect God at all. Unfortunately, it’s reflected even today with fake “priests” or “pastors” who use their power to seduce innocent children and women, as well as, to embezzle funds from the church. In addition, they preach false teachings. They are the blind leading the blind.
If you wonder where that phrase, the blind leading the blind comes from, it’s the Bible! Matthew 15:13-14….
13 Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, 14 so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.”Matthew 15:13-14 NLT
How Do YOU Worship God?
First, we have the Bible at our fingertips! Clearly, there is absolutely no reason why we should not KNOW GOD! Second, because we know God, then we know that God wants us to honor and worship HIM and HIM ONLY! Not Mary, not the dead saints, not any man-made statue, not the Pope or bishops or cardinals, ONLY HIM.
Are you completely free to worship as you feel, or are you concerned that you’re not doing it right and following the rituals and protocols correctly? Do feel JOY when you worship or just a sense that you’ve completed an obligation? That’s the difference between being a born-again Christian, following Jesus and a person who is a slave to religion. You are not free if you are a slave to religion!
God sees our hearts and every act of worship!
Jesus didn’t suffer torture and die so we could have religion!
He died so He could have a Relationship with YOU!