The Failure of Eli’s Family

Text: I Samuel 2:11-36
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: April 6, 2008

This Sunday we come to the most famous passage in the Bible about parental failure as Eli fails to restrain his wicked sons.

Our text is not, however, primarily about parenting. God is working to remove the corrupt failed leadership of Israel and to replace them with godly leaders who will lead the nation out of their spiritual barrenness. In the short term this will involve ending the dynasty of Eli (and his sons) as Samuel is raised up. God will then work to establish a true ruler (David) and Priesthood for His covenant people. Ultimately I Samuel 2 point us to Christ our great, perfect and eternal King and Priest (2:10,35).

The phrase upon which I am focusing as we expound this lengthy passage is 2:30b where the LORD says, “Those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed.” You will see that I Samuel 2:11-36 goes back and forth between Samuel who honors God and Eli’s family which dishonors Him. Finally, God declares judgment upon Eli’s house as He determines to establish new leadership for His people.

This passage also has profound application for us as we consider how we seek to honor God in the church and in our families. Spiritual leaders continue to act like Eli’s wicked sons as they dishonor God by ignoring His requirements for worship and abusing His sheep. Parents continue to fail as Eli failed as they dishonor God by pleasing their children instead of the Lord. Children who enjoy great spiritual privileges sometimes harden their hearts against God’s truth. How we need God’s mercy!


Posted on April 6th, 2008 | Permalink