”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. 23 So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. 24 No, my sons; the report I hear spreading among the Lord’s people is not good. 25 If one person sins against another, God[d] may mediate for the offender; but if anyone sins against the Lord, who will intercede for them?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the Lord’s will to put them to death. 26 And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people.” 1 Samuel 2.22-26
We live in a day and age where truth is relative. Tolerance is preached to the point that intolerance is the outcome. Political correctness is whatever the major political party, media or lobbyists tell us it is. The world seems to be moving further and further away from absolute moral biblical truth. You can believe what you want, do what you want, say what you want unless of course you conflict with the majority. And at times it seems hopeless and we ask, “Where is God?”
God in the Old Testament, and Jesus in Revelation, judge the earth and people completely. Jesus in the Gospels is also a judge but we tend to focus on him as the Good Shepherd, Light of the World, Prince of Peace. But he is also the Lamb of God slain by people for the sins of the world.
I say all this because what we are reading in 1 Samuel 2.22-26 ends with this statement, “for it was the Lords’ will to put them to death.” And at that, some people would cry for justice, a fair trial and equality for Samuels’ sons. Those who make these demands would be ignoring the fact that were priests, are sleeping with prostitutes, committing wicked deeds and sinning against the Lord. And as we learn from Romans, “the wages/penalty of sin is death.”
Now Eli was godly but his sons were dishonorable. Eli was a man who served and loved the Lord bu this sons took their freedom and privileges for granted and committed terrible sins, not just against themselves and others, but against the Lord directly. And so, God’s will was to put them to death. Ouch.
However, a contrast is found in the boy Samuel as the text says, “he continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and the people.” So while Eli’s sons were wicked and evil, Samuel remained faithful and true in his service to God. He was not influenced by the wickedness of Eli’s son but rather to what God had called him to do.
The world is a big fat mess, there’s no doubt about that. And we have the opportunity to sin at every turn. Although the wages of sin is death, Jesus paid for our sins. This gives us no excuse to sin, rather, it is a call to repentance and to holiness (See Romans 6). To sin against the Lord means we remove ourselves from his blessing. Why would we do that? Why would we want to hurt the heart of the Father?
Today we are called to holiness. To follow in the footsteps of Samuel who grew in “stature and favor” with the Lord. Do the right thing. Turn to the Lord in prayer. Ask him to remake you by the power of the Holy Spirit so that sin may not have a hold upon your life. “For sin shall no longer be your master, for you are not under the law but under grace,” (Romans 6.14).
“O Lord God, these words are hard and heavy. But you offer us life! You offer us a chance to matter. When we see anger and evil in our world, we know that the Price of this World has dominion. But you have already won the battle for the nations and for my heart. Come now, Holy Spirit, help me walk in the light of your love. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen