Scripture: 1 Samuel 1-2, Psalm 66, 2 Corinthians 7
1 Samuel 1:17 This sin of the sons of Eli was extremely serious in the Lord’s sight, because they treated the offerings to the Lord with such disrespect.
1 Samuel 1:29 Why, Eli, do you honor your sons more than me by letting them fatten themselves on the best parts of all the sacrifices my people offer to me?
Eli’s sons were a piece of work! They stole the people’s offerings for themselves, and slept with the women who worked at the temple. Eli attempted to correct them, but it seems that it was a half-hearted effort or at least far too late to make a difference. So God pronounced judgment on Eli’s family. This future judgment would be certified by the death of two of Eli’s sons on one day—that happened not long after.
First, Eli’s sons treated the Lord’s offerings with disrespect by doing whatever they wanted with them. This made me think about the way that we (church leaders) handle the offerings. I want to make sure that we treat them with respect. This money is holy—given to the Lord—often sacrificially. Never spend it cavalierly. Use it in ways that honor the Lord. In Paul’s words about handling the offering for the poor in Jerusalem: “Our purpose is to do what is right, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of others.” 2 Corinthians 8:21
Second, Eli honored his sons more than he honored God. How? By allowing them to abuse their position as priests. He should have removed them. Their sins were egregious and they deserved removal from office. What Eli failed to do, God did—He removed Hophni and Phineas in one day, killing them both. This is a stark reminder that we must always honor God above all others. Eli faced a choice between God and his sons—he made the wrong choice, probably because he was afraid of crossing and alienating his sons. He should have honored God—it might have saved his sons’ lives. Do the right thing, even when it seems that it might be hurtful to someone you love. Honor God by doing the right thing.
Prayer: Lord, help me today to honor You in all I do and say. You are to be honored above all others.