Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 77/260: Eli

Read 1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22-36; 3:11-18

Let the Lord Do What Seems Right To Him

How faithful was Eli the priest? The Bible does not offer a glowing report of this man. His sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were “corrupt” and “did not know the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:12). Eli deserves at least part of the blame for their shortcomings. While it is true that they will face the ultimate consequences for their own actions, Eli will have to own his failure as a father to these men.

Did Eli rebuke his sons? The text says that he did. “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord’s people transgress” (1 Samuel 2:23-24). His sons would not listen; their hearts were hardened against the truth. God would make an example out of them and their wickedness.

Eli stands as an example as well—a bad example. He did not raise his children properly, and he did not deal with their iniquity in a godly fashion. He rebuked them but they continued sinning. Something stronger was required but Eli did not deliver.

God then speaks to Samuel and delivers some bad news about Eli and his family. Samuel was afraid to tell the priest. Yet, Eli’s reaction to the news was not what Samuel expected. When Eli heard the word that God had delivered through Samuel, he responded, “It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him” (1 Samuel 3:18).

Though he was unfaithful when it came to parenting, Eli showed faith in the justice of God. Eli knew that he had fallen short, and he was content to accept the judgment of the Almighty. Did he wish he could travel back in time and correct his mistakes? Perhaps, but the text does not say that he dwelt on the past. He simply took God’s proclamation through Samuel as what it was—a fair judgment.

How do we respond when we come across a passage of Scripture that tells us we are in the wrong? Perhaps we have failed to do something that God commands, or maybe we have been doing something that He forbids. Do we seek to correct ourselves or do we look for loopholes? Jesus plainly says that we can know the standard by which we will be judged (John 12:48). We must learn to accept His authority and submit to Him! “It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him.”

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