You might wonder why I called this post “Becoming Eli”. This morning during my Bible study I opened the Book to Ⅰ Samuel, at the very first chapter. I read through the first several chapters and the thing that bothered me the most were the chapters pertaining to Eli.
Eli was a priest who had two sons who were low in morals. During that time, a tribe of Israel was chosen to serve as priests. It was expected that the sons would follow in their father’s footsteps to minister to the LORD and the people.
Eli had a problem. In verse 12 of chapter 2 we read that his sons “were sons of Belial; and they knew not the LORD”. We read further, in verse 22, that Eli had heard all that his sons did unto all Israel. Their sins included whoredom, and theft of the offerings. In verse 23 he confronts them, but they heed not their fathers voice. If you are wondering what the father should have done then read Numbers 15.
Then we read in verse 27 that a man of God spoke with Eli, by reciting his lineage and the purpose of the priests. As we see the Lord approaches the sins with questions. He asks Eli why Eli chose his sons over the Lord God.
29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? …
30 … but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
31 Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.
Then in chapter 3, verse 11, Samuel is also told what would happen and he told Eli of the words that the Lord spoke to him.
3:11 And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, …
12 In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.
13 For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.
14 And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.
If we search out what was being said in verse 14 we come to understand that Eli would have no place in heaven. During that time, sacrifice and offerings to the LORD were the way to eternity. Do we understand how even a priest can be cut off from heaven?
Then as we continue reading, Eli asks Samuel what the Lord wanted. It kind-of saddens me to think that Eli still continues to ignore the LORD in regards to his sons. Even after Samuel shares what the LORD told him, Eli continues to seem not to care.
17 And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? …
18 And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.
Chapter 4 the iniquities are punished. The Philistines were at war again. The sons of Eli were with the Ark and in verse 11 the sons were slain. Worse was the loss of the Israelite’s 30,000 men and the Ark was taken. These events were the direct result of the sins a father [and priest] let continue. By allowing the sins of the sons toward their God, the father was condoning those sins.
What we can learn from these chapters is that when we, (as a parent, friend, church member, church leader, [simply put: a child of God]) see some sin that is being done, in that it pertains to the worship of the LORD, it is our duty to call it out. That sin could be theft, allowing sexual sin within the family or church leaders, even members. Really any sin. Because, if we do not call it out, we have participated in that sin. And by participating in the sin we are causing others to transgress.
Then after calling it out we have a duty to eradicate it from the LORD’s house. I am saying that we need to personally see to it the sin is removed or that the sinner is removed if they do not repent. As a child of the LORD we must become a tattle tale of sorts. On a personal level we know we should take a wrong directly to the person and give them a chance at redemption. [The congregation’s grumbling and Eli confronting his sons did this.] Also, we should offer up forgiveness. If that person continues to wrong us personally, then we should take a church member with us as witness to the person doing the wrong. It is here that a deciding action should be taken. Do we take it to the church to let the congregation handle? [The man of God did this in 2:27, he was the LORD’s intercessor. And again thru Samuel. Finally the LORD handled it thru the Philistines.]
That action could be the sinner repent and be forgiven, or the sinner be removed from the privilege of worshiping. Gone are the days of stoning, but the “calling out” is still expected by our Father. In this instance, God chose the opposing army to deal the punishing blow. Eli sent his sons with the Ark, knowing full well they should never have handled the Ark.
Some may wonder why I mentioned the “stoning”. In Numbers chapter 15 we read the duties of the priests, the offerings of the atonement’s, and the actions of the congregation. Peruse chapter 15 starting in verse 22 thru to 36.
24 Then it shall be, if ought be committed by ignorance without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer …
30 But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
31 Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.
32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. …
35 And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
Again I type: You might wonder why I called this post “Becoming Eli”.
The reason is to say that we all have become like Eli. We let our children participate in sin, we watch church members participate in sin, we even accept members into our church who have been turned over to their vile imaginations, and the sacrifice of our children in the womb. But let me say that Eli was not the only one that is to blame. The people of Israel accepted the doings of his sons. They just grumbled about the issues. They never stood up to the priest; they never stood up for their LORD. Their grumblings were not “taking action”. By accepting the wrong doings of Eli’s sons, the people even transgressed.
The question is not only, what should Eli have done, but what should the people have done? Do they continue to go to church and give their tithes to evil? Do they just turn their head when they hear their preacher say that a sin should be overlooked, that Jesus loves them too, and the sinner should be accepted into their congregation?
I have almost lost all faith in the local churches for this very reason. I find it hard to sit in a church building. while listening to a service that says we should accept any person into the family when we know they are participating in evil. And I find it hard to listen to services that ignore sin. When we are standing in the final judgement crowd, how can we look the Lord in the face? I guess I consider myself lucky that Jesus is my atonement. My physical health will not allow me to sit for the time church services are being held. I miss the hymn singing, which is hardly done anymore, so I turn my tablet on to an app and sing praises that way. I pick my copy of the Word up and do my ‘learning’ that way. I have my continual conversations with the LORD. And if I do visit a local church; have no fear that I would not get myself up out of the pew and leave said church if I do not feel comfortable with the message. Oh, and I carry a hard copy of my Word, and you should see the stares that I get. I get comfort holding a leather bound book and it sends a message to those around me that I am not afraid of boldly showing I know how to read it.
My prayer today was for all the priest and all the people of this nation. That we find a way to turn back to Him. That we have a stronger backbone than Eli and chastise our children. Even chastise our adult children and remove them from our sight if they continue in their sin. Then I offered up tears to those that the Turkish are slaughtering when our military forces withdrew. I pray that they have the fortitude to stay strong in their belief of our Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I pray that when my being a child of God causes the people to seek me out and face death or starvation, then I will put on His armor and I will see the face of my Redeemer.