Corruption seems to be everywhere – even in the Bible. But, even though society does not always correct sin, God has His own way of giving justice.
Let’s look at today’s Bible study from 1 Samuel to find out how.
To refresh our memory, who was Eli?
Eli was a high priest of Shiloh. When Hannah came to the temple to pray for a son, it was Eli who approached her – and finally gave his blessing.
She conceived a son and gave him to the Lord. Eli the high priest raised her son to become one of the greatest prophets of the Bible. This boy was Samuel.
God Issues a Warning – A Prophecy against Eli’s House
As we saw in the passage about the wicked sons of Eli, the father was reluctant to enforce discipline on his two sons. So, God was about to take action of His own.
Yes, God is a loving God. But, He disciplines when needed.
Eli was the high priest. So, it was his job to see that the priests in his charge acted accordingly.
The Warning and Prophecy from God
Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Did I not indeed reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh’s house?
Did I not choose them from all the tribes of Israel to be My priests, to go up to My altar, to burn incense, to carry an ephod before Me; and did I not give to the house of your father all the fire offerings of the sons of Israel?
Why do you kick at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling, and honor your sons above Me, by making yourselves fat with the choicest of every offering of My people Israel?’
Therefore the Lord God of Israel declares, ‘I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father should walk before Me forever’; but now the Lord declares, ‘Far be it from Me—for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed.
Behold, the days are coming when I will break your strength and the strength of your father’s house so that there will not be an old man in your house.
You will see the distress of My dwelling, in spite of all the good that I do for Israel; and an old man will not be in your house forever.
Yet I will not cut off every man of yours from My altar so that your eyes will fail from weeping and your soul grieve, and all the increase of your house will die in the prime of life.
This will be the sign to you which will come concerning your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: on the same day both of them will die.
But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always.
Everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and say, “Please assign me to one of the priest’s offices so that I may eat a piece of bread.”’” ~ 1 Samuel 2:27-36 NASB
I guess we can compare this to politics in today’s world. Many treat their own families and friends differently than the general public.
And, I know we show favoritism when it comes to our own children.
So, Eli was in a difficult situation, to say the least.
But still, the future of Israel was at stake. And, God knew what had to be done.
God’s Love for Israel
God knew that Hophni and Phinehas were corrupt. So, even though they belonged to the house of Eli, they were not exempt from God’s law.
We don’t know who the “man of God” was who issued the warning. Nevertheless, the prophecy comes true in 1 Kings.
These verses read:
“Then to Abiathar the priest the king said, “Go to Anathoth to your own field, for you deserve to die; but I will not put you to death at this time, because you carried the ark of the Lord God before my father David, and because you were afflicted in everything with which my father was afflicted.”
So Solomon dismissed Abiathar from being priest to the Lord, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord, which He had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.” ~ 1 Kings 2:26-27 NASB
Death of Hophni and Phinehas – No Protection from the Ark
As the prophecy revealed, they both died on the same day in battle. And, even though they carried the Ark before them, God did not protect these two evil ones.
Yes, God’s discipline is sometimes harsh; but it is fair. He sees the best interest of not only our generation – but all generations to come.
When we sin, we can affect the lives of our children, and our grandchildren. As Eli honored his children over God, we sometimes put our own interests above Him.
This passage from the Bible gives us a moment of pause.
If you would like to discover how to receive the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to see John 3:16 here.