Read 1 Samuel 2:12-36
Samuel had been dedicated to the Lord. Even before his conception, his mother, Hannah, had vowed to give him to the Lord and to His service. As a young lad, then, he was left in the hands of Eli and in close proximity to Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas. Although Samuel’s mom and dad made regular visits, the influence of those around him on a daily basis was certainly strong. I suppose his proud parents could have reasoned, “What could be better? Our son is learning to serve the Lord with godly mentors!”
But that was far from the truth. Even though Hophni and Phineas seemed to “serve the Lord,” in reality they “had no regard for Him!” They were more concerned with filling their own stomachs than they were with honoring the Lord. They were more concerned about satisfying their own lustful urges than they were about pleasing God. To borrow the words of the NIV in verse 12, “Eli’s sons were scoundrels!”
Let’s pause here for a moment and pose an important personal question. Is your spirituality a mere veneer placed on the surface of an otherwise self-serving life? Do you ever try to leverage your so-called commitment to God in order to get the things you want? Or is it your objective to honor God independent of sacrifices you may have to make?
Back to the story . . . apparently, the fruit did not fall too far from the tree! Now let me be quick to say that many children choose paths of rebellion in spite of their parental influence. But that was not completely the case here. As the prophet spoke to Eli, we learn that he too had scorned the sacrifices. He had been guilty of preferentially honoring his sons over God, and the consequences would be felt for generations to come.
There is no denying it. Our deep and sincere commitment to Christ is essential! The consequences of anything short of that are significant and far-reaching.