Pastor Idleman spends several pages writing about the priest Eli, in 1 Samuel.
This is another example of how the Bible is so relevant today and how passivity can creep into everyday life. It was a factor in Bible times.
Eli had two sons who were not good boys, Hophni and Phineas. They stole money from the offering [from God]. They kept and ate sacrifices meant for God. They slept with women who served outside the sanctuary.
In short, they had no serious regard for God at all.
Eli knew of their activity. He was getting reports from others about his sons.
What could he do?
1.punish his sons severely so they would suffer the consequences of their sacrilege.
2.ignore their actions.
3.yell at them and do nothing.
Eli did the third.
He scolded them and the boys heard Eli’s voice but they knew there would be no consequences.
What is the upshot of this? The boys kept right on with their sacrilege.
They knew their father was not going to do anything to punish them so they knew they had to endure a few minutes of tongue-lashing and that was all.
I am a parent [and not a perfect one by any means]. It is hard to discipline a child. However, if you just yell and do not enforce consequences, children will catch on to that very quickly. They will know they can get their way.
God was not happy with Eli. God accused Eli of loving his sons too much. Eli put his sons above God.
God warned Eli that if things did not get serious and he did not implement change, that his whole family would suffer.
What did Eli do?
His response is [1 Samuel 3:18] “Let Him [God] do whatever He thinks best.”
What should Eli have done?
1.repent of his disobedience of God [his own personal failing].
2.call his boys “on the carpet” again and punish them severely [give them consequences].
You see, Eli was a talker and not a doer. His admonitions to his sons were just so much “hot air”.
His boys knew it but most of all, God knew it.
God punished the whole family of Eli because of Eli’s passivity.
You see, God is not just a talker; God is a doer.