Servant Leaders – Part 2
“Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord.” (1 Samuel 2:12 NIV)
With the current decline in American Christianity, it’s obvious that we need God’s help in both the pulpit and the pew. I believe that all sincere believers feel the same. And I believe we can make changes, through God’s grace, to reverse the trend. But first, let’s look at dead ends we must avoid.
Once again, Eli is an example of what not to do. “Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. So he said to them, ‘Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours’” (1 Samuel 2:22-23). Although Eli showed concern, he never put a stop to the wickedness. He merely criticized their horrible behavior. Of course, his sons didn’t bother to listen and just continued in their nasty, rebellious ways.
Is it any wonder, then, that the spiritual condition of Israel worsened with time? How could these men lead people into the true worship of God when they were so disconnected from God themselves? It doesn’t matter how popular Eli and his sons were with the people; in failing to be faithful to God, they were a moral blight to the nation.
At some point, God couldn’t abide this behavior any longer. He spoke to Eli through an unnamed prophet and said, “Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?” (1 Samuel 2:29).
Though Eli tolerated wickedness in spiritual leadership, God didn’t. Amazingly, God then revoked his own promise that someone from Eli’s house would always be high priest. “Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: 'I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained’” (1 Samuel 2:30). Even positions of service to God can be revoked when the Lord is continually dishonored.
To be continued…
-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Strong through the Storm)
Read 1 Samuel 2:12-26.