When we last left Samuel, he was a toddler that would be taken care of by Eli and those who attended God’s house.
Like those here with us today who are graduating from one school to another or going on to find jobs, life for Samuel was one of finding his purpose. Samuel leads what must of been an interesting childhood, but he is growing and learning to serve God and the people.
We also find two other sons, who decide that they want to use who they are not to serve anyone but themselves. Let’s look at the contrast between these boys.
I think the KJV, the ESV, and the NASB have verse 12 more exact, Eli’s boys did not “know” the Lord. It’s not that they were unaware of God, they simply did not have a intimate relationship with God.
A lot of people know about God, they may even believe their is a God, but that does not mean they “know” God. In the OT we find that “know” is used to imply covenant relationship. I know my wife probably better than anyone else, I am in relationship with her, a lot of you are acquainted with her, but I know her.
The same I would say was true of Eli’s sons and God.
This is important, even though they were in the priestly line of Aaron, it did not mean they knew the Lord. Like Samuel they had grown up around God’s house, had every opportunity to know of God and His ways, yet they chose to live for themselves.
Samuel lived to serve God, Eli’s boys served themselves.
They abused the sacrifice by getting what they wanted of the meat sacrifice before God got was was required, even the people knew this wasn’t right, and when the people complained they were threatened with violence.
This did not go unnoticed by God.
Not Heeding Advice
Eli may have been very old, but his hearing hadn’t gone. The people were complaining, the sin was getting worse. The sons were copying pagan temple practices by sleeping with women who were working at the temple entrance. Not only have they shown contempt for the sacrifices of the Lord, now they are desecrating God’s house.
Eli warns and rebukes them, however they don’t listen. God had known they wouldn’t and their fate is sealed.
But I want you to notice the contrast in Samuel’s life, “continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with men”.
Do you see the difference?
What we need to know
Eli’s sons grew up in God’s house, their father was God’s representative, they were exposed to teachings, the importance of keeping God’s laws, yet they chose to live life their way. Please understand that going to church is good, but it doesn’t make you a Christian. You must “know” Jesus Christ from an intimate relationship standpoint. To “know” Him is to know His ways, to follow Him, which means that you have to chose to die to your selfish desires that will lead you away from Him.
2. Your choices affect more than you
The way Eli’s sons lived affected those they served. It caused bitterness, anger, resentment. I see so many people who care little about how their choices affect others and that happens when we become focused on ourselves. We can be a positive influence or we can have a negative impact.
Eli tried, perhaps it was a little late, but he tried to warn his sons that disaster was waiting if they didn’t change. That is good advice for all of us. We need to listen to people who care about us and love us. Sin always carries with it consequences and if somebody loves you, they will not want you to endure that. Learn to listen more and talk less!