Evil Blinds Our Hearts

First Samuel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:40
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[Read Scripture passage slides here - 1 Samuel 2:12-36]
1 Samuel
Last week:
Introduced to the book of First Samuel
We learned about Samuel’s family
Elkanah & Hannah - the father and mother of Samuel
Annual sacrifice
Samuel - a child left to serve at Shiloh with Eli.
This week, we’re going to learn more about Eli’s family, and by their actions we can see their heart. So lets dive in:
1 Samuel 2:12 ESV
Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord.
Our opening verse condemns Eli’s sons. Depending on your translation you might read that Eli’s sons were base, scoundrels, a bad lot, and in the end, they did not know the Lord.
Last week I shared with you the end of Judges,
Judges 21:25 ESV
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Earlier in that book, it lets us know what has happened within Israel. From Abraham in Genesis all the way through Joshua is God choosing a people and delivering them to the promised land. The book immediately after Joshua is Judges and in chapter 2 we get this indictment:
Judges 2:10 ESV
And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.
So, back to Samuel...
1 Samuel 2:12 ESV
Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord.
The author does not stop there but goes right in to describing how corrupt they were -
1 Samuel 2:13–14 ESV
The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there.
Now remember when it says “the people” it is meaning “the people of Israel”, God’s chosen people. The priests are there serving (in theory anyway) the Lord and God’s chosen people. One would think then that they would do so by God’s Law…but not Eli’s sons...
1 Samuel 2:15–17 ESV
Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.” Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.
What was the rule? How were they supposed to treat the sacrifice? How were the priests supposed to get their portion?
Leviticus 7:28–36 ESV
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever offers the sacrifice of his peace offerings to the Lord shall bring his offering to the Lord from the sacrifice of his peace offerings. His own hands shall bring the Lord’s food offerings. He shall bring the fat with the breast, that the breast may be waved as a wave offering before the Lord. The priest shall burn the fat on the altar, but the breast shall be for Aaron and his sons. And the right thigh you shall give to the priest as a contribution from the sacrifice of your peace offerings. Whoever among the sons of Aaron offers the blood of the peace offerings and the fat shall have the right thigh for a portion. For the breast that is waved and the thigh that is contributed I have taken from the people of Israel, out of the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons, as a perpetual due from the people of Israel. This is the portion of Aaron and of his sons from the Lord’s food offerings, from the day they were presented to serve as priests of the Lord. The Lord commanded this to be given them by the people of Israel, from the day that he anointed them. It is a perpetual due throughout their generations.”
That’s how it was supposed to be done…but that’s not what Eli’s sons were doing.
The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament 2:11-36: The Decline of the House of Eli

Eli’s sons insisted on taking what they wanted, when they wanted it. Their ritual offenses came in three areas: (1) their selection of the best parts for themselves; (2) their preference for the meat being roasted rather than boiled; and (3) their refusal to yield the fat for burning on the altar (Lev 3:16; 7:25).

Contrast this with two verses of what we’re learning of Samuel from a very young age.
1 Samuel 2:18 ESV
Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy clothed with a linen ephod.
1 Samuel 2:26 ESV
Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man.
Now for you New Testament Scholars that sounds remarkably similar to Luke’s comment about Jesus.
Luke 2:52 ESV
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
So we know that Eli’s sons were corrupt, what about Eli? What did he do?
Let’s look at v. 22 and following:
1 Samuel 2:22–25 ESV
Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death.
In vs. 27 to the end of the chapter we hear from a Prophet or a “Man of God” that comes to Eli and he lays it on the table.
He begins with two rhetorical questions that can all be answered, “Yes!”
“Did I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father...” v. 27
“Did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest...” v. 28
Then the not so rhetorical...
1 Samuel 2:29 ESV
Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded for my dwelling, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’
This verse is telling and a condemnation of Eli - by allowing his sons to do as they’ve done he has affirmed it. He hasn’t done anything to stop it. What’s more he likely taught them what they know. Remember back in vss. 13 & 14 - “The custom of the priests…This is what they did at Shiloh...”
Eli was the priest there at Shiloh. Who set the customs?
So what do we do with all of this? How do we apply it to our own lives?
Deuteronomy 4:9 ESV
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—
Deuteronomy 6:4–9 ESV
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:7 ESV
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
This is such a challenge and what that Eli missed. He obviously did not teach his children the words that were commanded by God. Perhaps he didn’t know them, yet, he seemed to be able to Bless Hannah and Elkanah to the point that they had several more children.
So what’s our take away?
Teach these things to our children.
Talk about them
Make God’s Word a part of your daily life.
Live by it.
Teach these things to your children - It’s not too late. Remember more is caught than taught. Little eyes are watching.
Talk about them - it’s hard to talk about what you don’t know. Get into the Word, read it. Ask questions, not just of your believer friends ask your non-believing friends.
Make God’s Word a part of your daily life - I hear all the time how people wish they knew more of the Bible, and yet when you ask them when the last time they picked up their Bible to read it was a long time ago. Don’t let that be you.
Live by it - This is the hardest part. And, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to fail. That’s okay. Do it again. Seek to live by God’s Word - be the person that God created you to be.
Perhaps, when people think about you, they can say the same thing that is said of Samuel:
1 Samuel 2:26 ESV
Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man.
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