1 Samuel 3:11-14
11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel. 12 I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and his family, from beginning to end. 13 I have warned him that judgment is coming upon his family forever, because his sons are blaspheming God[a] and he hasn’t disciplined them. 14 So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings.”
1 Samuel 2:12 tells us that Eli’s sons were “scoundrels.” During their ministry as priests, they not only stole sacrificial meat offerings made by their fellow Levites, they seduced women who were serving at the entrance of the Tabernacle!
As a parent, I have often felt condemned when our kids behave like “scoundrels.” But, the truth is, I am not guilty for their sin. Each of our children has their own will (some stronger than others!). All of them have the freedom to choose life or death; obedience to God by submitting to their parents or disobedience towards God by rebelling against them. Our three daughters and only son will stand alone before the Judge to give an account of their actions. I won’t be punished for their sin. I will, however, be held accountable for how I failed to discipline them when they disobeyed.
Let me state plainly: I am NOT a perfect parent. Our kids aren’t perfect either. But, I have learned a few important things on this parenthood journey…
1) I must worship God above all others.
Whenever I place my husband, our children, or any person/thing above Him, I am guilty of idolatry and I, and our family will suffer the consequences of my actions.
2) I must submit to my husband, as unto the Lord.
Studies continue to show that kids thrive in families that have a father and mother who honor their marriage covenant, ‘till death. When I love my husband, our children feel loved.
3) I must train our children.
When 1 & 2 are rightly ordered, my life is a living testimony to our children. I don’t have to lecture them relentlessly about what it means to love God and others. They will see it in my actions every day. And when they disobey, I don’t have to take it as a personal attack against who I am in Christ. Instead, I can love them enough to discipline them and assure them that forgiveness…and restoration is always available through repentance.
Eli “may have been an excellent priest, but he was a poor parent. His sons brought him grief and ruin. He lacked two important qualities need for effective parental discipline: firm resolve and corrective action. Eli responded to situations rather than solving them. But even his responses tended to be weak. God pointed out his sons’ error, but Eli did little to correct them.” -Life Application Study Bible
I would hate for the Lord to do a shocking thing in our family because I failed to heed his warnings to correct our children’s behavior. I’d much rather obey His commands to train our children in the way that they should go so that our family may reap His blessings for a thousand generations!
6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old he will not depart from it.
6 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those[a] who love me and obey my commands.