Marriage and Mentoring

Bible Book: 1 Samuel  2 : 22-25
Subject: Children; Parenting
Series: M&Ms: Sweetening Up Our Family Life

Now look with me to the Old Testament book of 1st Samuel. We’ve been learning from God’s Word how to sweeten up, straighten up and strengthen our families by considering some of the Bible’s M&M’s.

The first M&M was Marriage & Money. The second M&M was Marriage & Mates. Last time together we learned some things about Marriage & Morality.

Now we come to the fourth M&M: Marriage & Mentoring. And let me say to our Fathers: the greatest thing you can do for your children is to point them to Jesus! Now you cannot point them to Jesus until you first know Jesus!

They need to SEE the difference Jesus makes in your life. Model the saved life before your children, but don’t stop there! Your children need more than a Model, they need a Mentor! They need you to counsel and teach them how to live for God. Now I can hear somebody say, “I thought that was the job of the church; to counsel and teach my children about God and how to live for Him.” I don’t know where you got that idea, but you didn’t get it from the Bible!

The Bible says in Deut 6.5-7 that parents are to diligently teach God’s word to your children! Yes, the church gathers to under gird what you’re teaching at home, but it begins and end with you Dad, with you Mom.

Now look with me to the book of 1 Samuel where we find the account of a man named Eli. His family perhaps was similar to yours. Eli was a faithful man. Even his name tells us that for the name “Eli” means “Jehovah, my God.” He had a duel responsibility at the church as both priest and judge.

But not only was he a faithful man, he was also a family man. He had two sons who grew up to be priest like their daddy. But there was something wrong in his home. Eli was a success professionally but a failure domestically. Eli reminds me of Billy Sunday, the great evangelist. As he was out winning the world to Christ, he neglected his children. In fact, all of his children turned from the faith and several became alcoholics. And at the end of his ministry, Billy Sunday said, “I have won the entire world to Christ, but have lost my family.”

Well, Eli made some tragic mistakes with his family. Mistakes, that if you make will lead your children down the road of rebellion. And that road leads to ruin! That’s what we’re thinking about in this final M&M: Marriage & Mentoring.

I believe we can learn some things from the family life of Eli that will help us help our children avoid the road of rebellion which leads to a life of ruin!

Marriage & Mentoring

1 Samuel 2.12, 22-25; 3.11-13

2.12, “Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did no know the LORD. Vv.22-25, “Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. So he said to them, ‘Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil doings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD’S people transgress. If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?’ Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the LORD desired to kill them.”

3.11-13, “Then the LORD said to Samuel: ‘Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. In that day, I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.” Now as we think about Marriage & Mentoring, the first thing we find here is:

THE SAD REPORT ELI RECEIVED ABOUT HIS SONS.

The sad report that came to Eli about his sons involved several things. To begin with, Eli was told that his sons were...

the source of godlessness.

We read in verse 12, “Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the Lord.” Here’s a man who won many to Christ but he couldn’t win his family. Noah on the other hand couldn’t win his world but he won his children! Now you tell me who was better off?

Eli’s sons were the source of godlessness! In fact, here in verse 12 the Bible describes his sons as “corrupt.” The word means good for nothing. It speaks of wickedness and godlessness. The equivalent New Testament word is where we get the word “Satan.”

Here is a godly father but he had godless sons! Here is a righteous father and rebellous sons. And as you’re going find, Eli was more concerned with his reputation as the Judge and Priest than his responsibility as a Father with his sons!

So we read here that Eli’s sons were the source of godlessness.

They were also responsible for...

the spread of godlessness.

Let’s back up and begin reading in verse 13 and read down through verse 17. “And the priests’ custom with the people was that when any man offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fleshhook in his hand while the meat was boiling. Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; and the priest would take for himself all that the fleshhook brought up. So they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. Also, before they burned the fat, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who sacrificed, “Give meat for roasting to the priest, for he will not take boiled meat from you, but raw.” And if the man said to him, “They should really burn the fat first; then you may take as much as your heart desires,” he would then answer him, “No, but you must give it now; and if not, I will take it by force.” Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.”

Let me tell you something about those two sons of Eli: those boys were priests because their Daddy was, not because God had called them to be priests! And there they were at the church leading in worship for one reason: to satisfy their own needs!

They didn’t have a heart for God or for the things of God! They were counterfeit priests with more concern for their flesh than the faith! And they ended up leading people away from God rather than to Him! Verse 24, “No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord’s people transgress.” Those sons of Eli were leading the Israelites into sin! The people were doing what the leaders were doing. And Moms and Dads, your children are doing the same with you!

I remember back when our children were 2, 4, and 6. I had a radar detector in the car. As we would drive down the highway the kids asked what it was and why it was making all those noises. Well, I’m ashamed to tell you, but I told them it was a McDonald Finder. That every time we drove by a McDonald’s that it would make a noise.

Well, they believed that for awhile until it kept going off with no McDonald’s around. God convicted me about that radar detector. I was teaching my children it was all right to break the law as long as you don’t get caught. So, I removed the radar detector and have never used one since. If you need motivation to do right and be right just take a look at your children.

Well, the Israelites followed the example of Eli’s two sons and they followed them away from God!

The spread of godlessness not only affected the worship, it affected the women! Verses 22-24, “Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. So he said to them, “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.”

Eli was so busy teaching morality to the people that he forgot about his sons. And as those boys grew, they possessed and practiced the morals of an alley cat! And verse 24 tells us that along with their godlessness spreading, the gossip was spreading!

So, there’s the source of godlessness and the spread of godlessness. We finally we read about...

the seriousness of their godlessness.

We read in verse 25, “If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?’ Nevertheless they did not need the voice of their father, because the LORD desired to kill them.” Let me tell you something, when God’s out to kill you, you’re in serious trouble!

Those boys were making a mockery out of worship! They were making a mockery out of their sacrifices and God wouldn’t tolerate it any longer! God’s fuse is shorter than you may think! He will not tolerate your sin forever! You say, “Ernest, why wouldn’t God let their immorality slide? Why won’t God let my sin slide?” I’ll tell you why! Because God cannot forget what sin cost Him!!

That’s why God doesn’t let sin slide, because He cannot forget the price that was paid for our sin debt: His son, our savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

So we read here about the sad report Eli received about his sons. But next comes:

THE SHARP REBUKE ELI RECEIVED FROM THE LORD

Now we find that the Lord’s sharp rebuke was personal.

We find that beginning in verse 27 where we read, “Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Did I not clearly reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me? And did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire? Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’

Don’t miss what God told Eli in verse 29 when he said, “… and honor your sons more than Me ..” Eli was honoring his sons above the Lord and that’s idolatry! By permitting his sons to make a mockery out of worship and calling them in on the carpet about their sexual immorality, Eli was committing idolatry!

So God’s sharp rebuke was personal!

It was directed to Eli! It was also permanent. We find that beginning in verse 30 where we read, “ Therefore the LORD God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the LORD says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. And you will see an enemy in My dwelling place, despite all the good which God does for Israel. And there shall not be an old man in your house forever. But any of your men whom I do not cut off from My altar shall consume your eyes and grieve your heart. And all the descendants of your house shall die in the flower of their age.

We read in 1 Samuel 3.13a, “For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows ..” It’s not that he personally committed some gross sin, it just says that he knew about.

Here’s a father who knew what his sons were doing and he didn’t do anything about it! And God judged him and not just him, but his entire family, forever! There was a permanent result!

God said that “all the descendants of your house shall die in the flower of their age.” And from that time forward, every time the family met at the cemetery they were reminded of how Eli failed to keep his children off the road of rebellion.

Now somebody asks, “What did Eli do wrong? He raised those boys in church, didn’t he? He was a godly father, wasn’t he?” Yes, he raised those boys in church. Yes, he was a godly father. So what did Eli do to contribute to the corruption of his sons that brought God’s judgment upon him and his family forever?

The answer is found in 1 Samuel 3.13, “For I have told him that I will judge his house, forever for the iniquity which he knows, because he did not restrain them.”

There it is! That’s where Eli failed with his sons and that’s where a lot of parents are failing! “Because he did not restrain them.” Rather than disciplining them, he pampered them! Rather than setting boundaries and holding to them, he turned his back on the evil of his sons! He disregarded their sin rather than disciplining his sons!

And the result is found recorded in 1 Samuel 2.12, “Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the Lord.”

Mom’s and Dad’s, if you want to help your children avoid the road of rebellion then set boundaries, hold to them, and discipline your children and start early! I’ve met some parents that started 6 feet, 180 lbs to late!

The Bible teaches if you love your children then you’ll discipline them: Proverbs 13.24, “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly (early).”

You say that you don’t discipline your children because you love them but God says if you loved them that you would discipline them. Now you tell me, whose right? You or God?

The Bible says to discipline your children while there’s hope: Proverbs 19.18, “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.”

The Bible says to discipline your children to drive out the foolishness in their heart: Proverbs 22.15, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.”

The Bible says to discipline your children in order to deliver their soul from Hell: Proverbs 23.13-14, “Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die, You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.”

The Bible says that discipline will give your children wisdom: Proverbs 29.15, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”

So .. the sharp rebuke of Eli from the Lord was personal and permanent.

So God's Sharp rebuke was prophetic.

Verse 34 says, “Now this shall be a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die, both of them.” And then in 1 Samuel 4.16-17, “Then the man said to Eli, ‘I am he who came from the battle. And I fled today from the battle line.’ And he said, ‘What happened, my son?” So the messenger answered and said, ‘Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has been a great slaughter among the people. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead; and the ark of God has been captured.”

And if that’s not bad enough, listen to the words of Phinehas’s wife after he had died. 1 Samuel 4.21, “The glory has departed from Israel! Because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband.”

I fear that same glory has departed from our homes because we’ve failed to discipline our children!

1 Samuel 2.13, “… and he did not restrain them.” If you’ll discipline your children in love, they won’t question your love, it will confirm your love!

Three boys were talking one day bragging about their Fathers. One kid said, “My dad knows the mayor.” The second boy had to top that so he said, “That’s nothing. My dad knows the governor.” And the third boy had to top that and he said, “That’s nothing. My dad knows God.” You talk about being a name dropper!

Nothing better could be said of you than that you know God! Model the saved life (show them) and Mentor your children (tell them) and watch how God honors those who honor Him!