Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lessons from Eli, the High Priest

I recently reread the story of Eli, a High Priest of the Old Testament. Eli had two sons who were also priests, but they did not show respect to God and were very poor examples as priests. Besides being womanizers, they kept the best of offerings and even stole offerings for themselves.

Eli verbally reprimanded them, but nothing more. He offered no other form of punishment, and his sons continued in their roles as priests. They also continued in their disobedience and sin.

What struck me is God's response to Eli. Through the prophet, He asked "Why do you honor your sons more than me - for you and they have become fat from the best offerings of my people!" (1 Samuel 2:29). God made a direct correlation between Eli allowing his sons' disobedience with dishonoring Him. Eli was putting his own sons ahead of God because he wasn't doing what was necessary a High Priest and a father (and this is with adult children).

How many times have you seen parents verbally reprimand their child but do nothing more? How many times have we done this ourselves? "I told you not to run in the house." "I told you to do your homework," or "Stop hitting your brother." These things are repeated countless times because the disobedience is repeated countless times. They do not follow through with a consequence for fear that the child will feel unloved or abused, for fear that their child will count them an enemy rather than a friend, or perhaps because they are too distracted with something else to bother. By not following through with our child's disobedience we are putting something else above God. We were given the responsibility to train our children "in the way they should go".

We are first to obey Him, to follow His directives as He laid out in the Bible. Doing what He says is what is best for our children. This is part of the example I want to set for Caleb. There may be times in the future when he doesn't understand or is put off by my discipline or descisions as a parent. We should not parent based on our child's temporary feelings but with a goal to honor God first in all things.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is awesome insight and I would that every Christian parent would view rearing of their children with the same insight! Those who do are often criticized for not upholding their children (adult or not) in their wrong doings. But, I have always believed that we, parents, are going to be held accountable for putting on blinders and not following through with what we know is right!