In this lesson we will go into the Old Testament and look at a man called by God to serve Him full time. He was Eli. Eli was a judge and a High priest. Even his sons, Hophini and Phinehas were priest of the Lord serving at Shiloh. Let us look at the life of Eli and see how this man of God rose to great heights only to fall.
1. Don't jump to conclusion
1 Samuel 1:9,14
9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lord's temple.
14 and said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine."
Eli was a priest who wass sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lord's temple. He was watching people coming and going. He was aware of what was going on in the temple. His eyes fell on a woman named Hannah, who was weeping and praying.
He ovserved her mough and came to the conclusion that she was drunk. He didn't even bother to find out the truth or the reality. He jumped to conclusion and accused her of drunkenness and told her to stop drinking wine.
When Hannah explained to him that she was not a wicked women and that she has not been drinking wine or beer that she is in grief and anguish, then Eli understood her and blessed her.
How many times we have behaved like Eli. How many times we have accused people, got angry with others, lashed out at people around us and even rebuked people without finding out the truth.
We sometimes even pass judgment on people only listening to one side of the story. When we jump to conclusion, we hurt people; ruin relationship and our friends lose trust in us.
Many marriage relationships have been destroyed because of doubting each other.
2. Don't compromise God's standard
1 Samuel 2:12,22,25
12 Eli's sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD.
22 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.
25 No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear spreading among the Lord's people.
Eli was a priest who had lost his spiritual edge. Eli's mistake of thinking that Hannah was drunk suggests that in those days it was not uncommon for drunken people to enter the Lord's temple. Eli being the temple priest had no conviction about sin. He allowed people to enter the temple drunk. Even his own children were ungodly, immoral, sleeping with women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Something went wrong in Eli's life. He did not raise his son the way God wanted him to raise.
Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.
It says that God wants a godly offspring. Our children imitate us. The way we are around them determines the way they grow. If we are not godly, then our children will not be godly. May be Eli never had time for his children, may be he ignored them and may be he saw their sin bud did not correct them.
They were so steeped in sin that when Eli did rebuke them, they ignored him. I that how I am? Am I ignoring my children, not disciplining htem> Am I ignoring my wife or husband? Are there things in my life that are more important to me than my spouse and my children? Am I ignoring my disciples?
1 Samuel 2:23
So he said to them, "Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours.
In v23, Eli rebuked his sons but did not remove them from office. God would do that. We always will have to pay the price for sin. Eli had to pay the price. Both his sons were killed on the same day.
3. Don't ever give up
1 Samuel 3:11-19
11 And the LORD said to Samuel: "See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.
12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family--from beginning to end.
13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them.
14 Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, 'The guilt of Eli's house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.'"
15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the LORD. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision,
16 but Eli called him and said, "Samuel, my son." Samuel answered, "Here I am."
17 "What was it he said to you?" Eli asked. "Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you."
18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, "He is the LORD; let him do what is good in his eyes."
19 The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.
1 Samuel 4:1-18
1 And Samuel's word came to all Israel. Now the Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines at Aphek.
2 The Philistines deployed their forces to meet Israel, and as the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand of them on the battlefield.
3 When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, "Why did the LORD bring defeat upon us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the Lord's covenant from Shiloh, so that it may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies."
4 So the people sent men to Shiloh, and they brought back the ark of the covenant of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim. And Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
5 When the ark of the Lord's covenant came into the camp, all Israel raised such a great shout that the ground shook.
6 Hearing the uproar, the Philistines asked, "What's all this shouting in the Hebrew camp?" When they learned that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp,
7 the Philistines were afraid. "A god has come into the camp," they said. "We're in trouble! Nothing like this has happened before.
8 Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? They are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the desert.
9 Be strong, Philistines! Be men, or you will be subject to the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Be men, and fight!"
10 So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers.
11 The ark of God was captured, and Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.
12 That same day a Benjamite ran from the battle line and went to Shiloh, his clothes torn and dust on his head.
13 When he arrived, there was Eli sitting on his chair by the side of the road, watching, because his heart feared for the ark of God. When the man entered the town and told what had happened, the whole town sent up a cry.
14 Eli heard the outcry and asked, "What is the meaning of this uproar?" The man hurried over to Eli,
15 who was ninety-eight years old and whose eyes were set so that he could not see.
16 He told Eli, "I have just come from the battle line; I fled from it this very day." Eli asked, "What happened, my son?"
17 The man who brought the news replied, "Israel fled before the Philistines, and the army has suffered heavy losses. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured."
18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man and heavy. He had led Israel forty years.
God chose Samuel to raise him up to be His faithful priest, who will do according to what is in God's heart and mind. God revealed his plan for Eli's sons to Samuel.
When Samuel told Eli what God has said, Eli gave up on his children, saying that let God do what is good in his eyes. Eli decided to quit on his children. He did not fight to save his children from the fires of hell till the last moment. He made an excuse that let God's will be done. God's will is for every soul to be saved.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Even when Eli heard that his sons died, he was more concerned about the ark of God than his sons. Eli lived for 98 years. We can say, he started off great, but last few years were mediocre.
Is our Christian life mediocre? Have I given up in my Christian life? Have I given up on God? My spouse? My children? My disciples? Bringing visitors? Being fruitful? Being a leader? God hates quitters. God was never a quitter. And he never wants us to quit.