The sons of Eli were base and worthless; they did not know or regard the Lord. – 1 Samuel 2:12 (AMP)
We have all seen the bumper stickers, and billboards. Perhaps your Pastor has even preached a sermon, opening with intensely building theme music, leading to the profound statement that boldly snaps on the screen at the precise moment, leaving your heart pumping as you read the words, “Know God or No God”.
Yes, I am also aware of the many derivations of this. Know God; Know Peace or No God, No Peace. Know God; Know Love or No God, No Love. The possibilities are endless and you can replace the words with practically anything. But the point has been driven home regardless of the word usage.
Are we children, or are we raising children who know God?
Eli was a priest appointed with his assigned post at the tent or tabernacle of the Lord. If you familiarize yourself with the Scriptures, not just anyone could say, “Hey, you know what, I think I’ve made my career choice and I have decided that I am going to be a priest and get a job serving at the temple of the Lord”. It didn’t work like that.
You could say in most simplified terms that it was a family business. You had to be born into it. God chose and established the priests from Aaron’s line, Moses brother, to serve before Him as the Levitical priests.
Eli was of this line. Eli is probably best known to Christians as the priest that would pray for Hannah so that she would be blessed with a son, Samuel. Hannah would bring her son to the temple, and leave him at a very tender age to be raised by Eli.
Eli had two sons of his own that were in the family business, serving as priests, Hophni and Phineas. These two sons performed their priestly duties before the Lord at Shiloh.
But what do we read of these sons, of the priest Eli, operating in the capacity of priests themselves? They were base and worthless; they did not know or regard the Lord. How can that be?
How can you be raised in a priestly lineage, living daily at the temple, witnessing the ministry before the Lord, learning the Torah, practicing the sacrifices, seemingly living it day in and day out?
Allow that to sink in momentarily. These men were raised in it. They were educated probably from birth in the ways of the Lord. We would assume that they knew the recorded Word, or the part that existed at that point and time, inside and out. But Scripture bears witness that in spite of what they knew about the Lord, they did not know or regard Him.
Where are you as a child of God? Do you know plenty about the Lord but seem to be struggling in order to apply what you know? Do you know the One Who has given everything for you?
Hophni and Phineas were going through the motions; and they were using their prestigious power and authority to abuse Gods people. If you read 1 Samuel 2, you will see that Eli was aware of the horrible things that they were doing, stealing sacrifices for themselves, committing adultery with women in the temple. What did he do as a parent? He talked to them, told them what they were doing was wicked.
Did you know that his lack of what we would perceive as adequate parental intervention cost him his life? Do you realize his sons were grown men, that Eli was an old man and God still held him accountable?
34And what befalls your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be a sign to you--in one day they both shall die. [Fulfilled in I Sam. 4:17, 18.]
As a child of God, and as a parent of children that I want to raise as children of God, am I living a life of knowing God? Am I offering adequate intervention in my children’s lives to direct them towards God?
I knew my husband before I married him. We spent countless hours together and on the phone; every available moment. Yet even after we were married and living a life together, there were things that I would come to know about him. There were things that I thought I knew, but I didn’t, that only became evident after being together all of the time.
Grace is an inexplicable gift of invaluable worth. But I fear grace has too often become an excuse easily offered on the Christians behalf. Grace is what covers the failure of our well intentioned efforts. It’s the “supplement” if you will that sustains what God knew we could never achieve on our own.
Let me ask you a question. Just because you know that vitamins cover what you are not gaining from your daily food intake, are you willing to quit eating and live off the vitamins? No, you still eat and possibly alter your diet to gain the benefits of the food more efficiently.
Knowing about God, His ways and His grace will never be enough. There are no excuses.
When my husband and I were dating, we were limited to getting to know each other more by our schedules. I was working; he was working and finishing college. We had “things” to work around. It’s not like that with God; at least not on His part. He is always available.
Corporate worship, serving in the ministry and being about the Father’s business is a commendable life. But we need to pause and ask ourselves, commendable to and for whom?
Maybe the greater question we need to place before ourselves and allow God to answer in each of our lives is this:
Know God, Know Children of God: No God, No Children of God?