1 Samuel 2
There is much we can glean from this second chapter, and much I have. However I decided to reflect on one particular verse that drew my attention. Early on we learn that Eli's sons are nothing to rave about, and in fact the Bible mentions them as worthless, because they did not know God. Worth seemingly is tied directly to knowing our Creator. Without that knowledge, our worth is worldly, passing, and terminal. However knowing Him, even being sinful and full of faults, we then can experience true and eternal worth. However, that's not the passage that I reflected on this time through.
Later in the Chapter, God also rebukes Eli:
Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded for my dwelling, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’ (1 Samuel 2:29 ESV)Clearly, while Eli's sons may have shown their greed, he too partook. After they took what was not theirs, their father enjoyed the spoils of their sinful actions as well. Perhaps he wished to rebuke them, perhaps he wished they hadn't taken part in sin, and perhaps he didn't want to eat with them ... but he did. Temptation, fear of conflict, love for his children, whatever the reason, he chose to honor his sons above what he knew was right, and dishonored God.
Children can become an idol.
Often times a rebuke, correction, or disciplinary action can be very difficult, but we must choose His will. Luke 12:51 reminds us that Christ did not come to bring peace, but rather division. His life, sacrifice, and resurrections leaves us with a choice. A line in the sand has been drawn. Division has been declared. We are for Him, or against Him. We must choose.
When our child stands against God's will, we must lovingly stand with Christ, and pray that they have the strength to choose life for themselves. We grant them no favor encouraging them down a path of sin and destruction. We grant them no favor giving them smiles if we should be giving them warnings.
I do not think that Eli was completely unable to control this situation. I think that their actions could have been different had a firm but loving hand been placed on them at a younger age. Why? Because they "did not know God". Eli had sons that did not know God ...
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:7-9 ESV)How is this possible? Clearly there was something being missed ... a home of legalism? Perhaps he was so wrapped up in his role that he abandoned one of his most important ministries, his family? Whatever the case, I sadly feel it could have been different.
Let not our love for our children be so misguided that we think that love does not come with rebuke. Let not fear of rejection or conflict have us sitting on the sidelines as our children go astray. May we be active and loving, but always hold Him up in all we do, and never let our children forget who they are before their King; masterpieces.
Our children becoming idols does not stem from love, it stems from pride. May we love our children, not create idols out of them.