Does evil reside in the house of God? Can spiritual leaders allow wickedness to run rampant within their congregations? Yes. Eli and his 2 sons demonstrate how this can happen.
Eli was the High Priest and Judge of Israel. His sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were Priests of the Lord. “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord.” (2:12) They did wicked things. “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress.” (2:22-24)
So how long did Eli allow this wickedness to continue? Eli was a judge for 40 years. Eli failed to hold his sons accountable to the commandments of God written in the Mosaic Law. Then his sons failed to teach Israel the Mosaic Law and caused Israel to transgress. Eli was 98 at this point. His sons were probably in their mid 70’s.
God judges Eli and his sons. On the same day Hophni and Phineas are killed in a battle with the Philistines. Eli when he heard the news fell and broke his neck and died. “And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.” (4:11) “And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken.18 And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.” (4:17-18)
Eli failed to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) His sons were not taught, failed to learn, or were not held accountable to God’s word.
Church leaders must know and live the Bible. They must be held accountable to God’s truth and commandments. They must live their lives in accordance with the Word of God, the Bible.
This is true of us as believers in Christ.
What a sad testimony about a Priest of Israel, “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord.”
Are you a saint or a sinner? Are you saved or lost? Are you serving the Lord or are you serving Satan?
If you need to know how to get saved, call me.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001