Passage for Study: 1st Samuel 3: 1 – 18 … 1st Samuel 3 linked for study …
My Journal for Today: If you believe – as do I – in the truth of 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17 that all of God’s word has been given to us for instruction in righteousness and so that we can serve God, “… thoroughly equipped for every good work,” then today’s passage is for all of us as a lesson in Godly parenting. Now, it’s also for you singles as well; because you live in a world where marriage and family are God-created institutions which form the foundation of a Godly, but crumbling, culture. And we all have the responsibility to either be the parents God allowed us to become or to support all things God’s word gives us to promote God-following families. And singles may not be able to be Godly parents; but you singles can be witnessing and working in the world to honor your own parents and to promote a culture which supports the rearing of Godly families. And those precepts, in today’s world, have become vitally important as the family structure, especially involving Christian parenting, is being attacked from all sides. But let me hone in on what today’s passage is teaching.
In 1st Samuel 3 we read about Eli, who was an upstanding High Priest, installed by God to be the spiritual leader of God’s people; and in that role he did everything he could or should to be a God-following Priest who did all that was required of him in that role. And Swindoll documents many of these duties which included leading in Temple worship and sacrifice, keeping the Temple Holy and cleansed, giving priestly counsel to God’s people, and even judging them as their primary, God-ordained Judge. BUT [and this becomes an enormous “BUT”], Eli was passive and lax in one of his primary, God-ordained roles; and that was to be the Priest of his own home; …AND … to be the Godly father of his two boys. Yes, Eli was way too passive as to what transpired in His home, which, I’m sure you’ll agree, was just as much (or maybe even more) a part of his ministry as were the duties of his leading Gods’ people politically and spiritually.
And oh how Eli failed as a dad; and we read about his sons, who became absolute scoundrels, taking away the best of the meat from the sacrifices for their own consumption, … as well as taking, for sexual consumption, the nicest looking women who came to the Temple for worship. By Jewish law, remembering that their father was the High Priest and Judge, these boys should have been taken out of the Temple and stoned to death; but Eli did nothing. And his sons devolved into godlessness and were later brought down and sacrificed by God for sinfulness, which actually became Samuel’s first prophesy for God.
My friends, I don’t know if you are married or whether God has blessed you with kids; but if God has been generous in this way, I hope we can all take heed from today’s lesson. Actually, I hope your kids were raised by parents who saw their folks as Godly, active, involved parents, and who took their God-ordained roles as parents even more seriously than we treated our careers or anything else in our lives as we were raising our kids.
As some of you who may be reading here know, I’m an Elder in my church; and I take the duties and responsibilities of that calling very seriously; but before I could even become an Elder in my church, I had to come under the examination (by my fellow Elders) of God’s own criteria for eldership in His church; and you can go to 1st Timothy 3: 1 – 7, where Paul laid out for Timothy [and God’s church], the criteria which all church leaders (Elders, Bishops, Pastors, etc.) come under. And if you know these (or go back and read them), you’ll see that one of them clearly states the family/parenting responsibilities church leaders have. It says that the Elder, Pastor, Priest, or Overseer should be … one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?) Too bad Eli didn’t live up to this one in his home or in his role as a Priest.
So, with these things in mind, these Godly instructions from God’s own word, as it says in 2nd Tim. 3: 16-17 are given to us, especially those of us chosen to be parents, as God’s instructions so that we can become the parents we should be in our families. But maybe you did all you could do, following these God-led instructions, and one (or more) of your kids turned out bad. Your child was raised in a Godly home; but he took an unGodly route in life; and for that scenario, God’s word gives us hope … that the child, a prodigal child, will return to us and God one day as we pray for him or her to do so. Don’t give up, take heart from Jesus’ parable of the prodigal father and son [see Luke 15: 11-32]; and from the rock solid promise of Proverbs 22, 6, stating, as you probably know, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
But if you have young children or grandchildren in your life as parents or grandparents, now is the time to get involved in their lives, devoting God-honoring time with God-led boundaries and instructions, so that those kids can learn what is Godly and know the path which God would have them follow.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I’m so thankful that I chose to follow You and learn from your word what a Godly father should be like and to be able to see our two daughters become Godly women and parents. Now, I have the opportunity to help them be Godly parents to our grandchildren. Oh, I’m such a blessed man! Amen