Eli: A Father’s Neglect

Text: 1 Samuel 3:11-14

Eli did not restrain his sons because first of all, it was inconvenient to do so

1 Samuel 1:9 Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat in the temple of the Lord.

    • Accommodates his own convenience over the known will of God
    • Convenience is something you look for while travelling the wayside path.
    • Folks who are following the Lord ask the question, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do.  Folks who are in the wayside look for convenience.  1 Samuel 4:13
    • God’s will oftentimes seems inconvenient.  Lord, I’ve worked all day and just want to relax.  Well, your son would like to play basketball with you.
  • Paul before Felix.  Acts 24:25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.  Felix is looking for a time when convenience intersects with God’s will.  The fact of the matter is it never does.  Never judge God’s will based on the convenience of it.

Eli does not restrain his sons because he is afraid of them

1 Samuel 1:13-15 He says things to Hannah that he would never say to his boys.  The root cause of that is fear.  1 Samuel 2:27-29

  • He held his kids in honor above God.  More afraid of hurting kid’s feelings than obeying God.  More afraid of driving children away than accepting God’s solution to the sin.
  • Fear will cause you to follow your kids down a path of sin until there is no place to come back to if they do want to get right.
  • Fear affects your judgment.  You see it 1 Samuel 1:13-15.  He can’t discern good from evil. Here is Hannah praying and doing the right thing with Eli, the spiritual leader of Israel unable to differentiate between the drunkenness that’s surrounded him and the heartfelt prayer of Hannah.
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  Where fear is present, there is no sound judgment.
  • 1 Samuel 2:13-17.  That turned to extortion in his sons.  Which led Israel to despise the offerings.  His actions worked unrighteousness in the people.
  • Hebrews 5:13-14 discernment comes from use.  Eli is afraid to apply scripture.  No exercise, no discernment.
  • He honors his children above the God that gave him children.

Eli does not restrain his sons because of his career

1 Samuel 2:29

    • He extended himself too far in his “career” and failed as a parent.  There were guidelines for priests in Leviticus 8 and Numbers 8:23-26 that instructed on length of service, retirement age, and how that service was performed.
    • Dad is responsible to pastor his family
  • Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
  • Deuteronomy 6:6-7 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
    • Make God’s priorities your priorities as a parent
    • Did you ever notice that 1 Timothy 3 qualifications for pastors and deacons.  Ruleth well his own house.  This little flock is preparation for this big flock.  Home is a training ground.  The question is what are we training our kids for?  If TV has replaced the family altar, what exactly are we training our children for?
    • Abraham, Job good fathers
  • Be Instructive – You must be instructive as a father.  You must be saying something if your children are to hear something.  That may sound very simple, but it is very often neglected.  God as a Father is not dealing with children according to their sin.  He is actively pursuing the image He wants to see with instruction and revelation.  We need to do the same.
    • Discretion and wisdom are preemptive.  Don’t wait for a catastrophe to begin speaking.  Proverbs are preemptive. Your child should hear more from you than “Don’t touch the remote” or “You’re grounded.”
    • Experience is a lousy teacher.  Why?  Because of what it cost.  Proverbs is written to keep you from having to learn from experience.  Trial and error is a bad idea because trials take too long and error costs too much.
    • What are you teaching them about God?  Not what are they learning at church, but what are YOU teaching them?  The same Dad’s that are quick to kick their kids out of the house are very slow to instruct, open the Bible, pray, or spend one on one time with their kids.
  • Spend Time
    • The average dad spends 25 minutes a week in personal, one on one interaction with his children.
    • Schedule rule – make time or it won’t happen.  Dates are a good idea.
    • Magnet rule – Can I do this with my child?  Kill two birds with one stone.
  • Communicate
    • Communication is a two way street – there is a transmitter and a receiver, otherwise communication is not taking place.
    • Instruction includes why something is right and why something is wrong.  It paves a way for your children to trust you.
    • When the kids are playing and there is lots of noise it can be annoying, but I know what’s happening.  My concern is when it gets real quiet.  If it’s getting real quiet between you and your kids just be warned there is a problem coming.  It means no one is going to talk until they HAVE to and that’s not good.
  • Practice
    • The Bible says to train up a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6).   Training is practice for the real thing.  Training involves exercise (Hebrews 5:14) and muscle memory.  Military service calls preparation for  service Basic Training.
    • Joe Frazier, heavyweight boxing champion said, “You can map out a fight plan or a life plan, but when the action starts you’re down to reflexes and that’s where your road work shows.  If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, you are getting found out now under the bright lights.”  The world doesn’t offer training to Christians, the world makes every effort to undo any training that your children had.
  • Preparation
    • Along with the first principle of training is the truth that preparation must be done while the environment is controlled.  If you fail as a parent to use the time you have now to prepare your children, there is no chance for them to learn what they need to learn, from you anyway.
    • Daniel 1:3-4 tells of Daniel, Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego being hand selected by Nebuchadnezzar to serve in his palace.  These boys had learned in Judah what they needed to learn to face the world.
    • If you’re children cannot learn in the safe environment of the home and local church where people love them and want the best for them, they will not stand a chance in the world.  Do what you can do now.
  • Eli does not restrain his boys because he is too involved in his career.

Eli does not restrain his sons because he’s not parenting on purpose

1 Samuel 2:22-24

  • Eli’s discipline was emotional and reactive, not purposeful
  • What constrains behavior trains the heart.  If I bribe my child in order to get the behavior I want then I am training that child to respond to bribery.  To take it a step a further, I have appealed to that child’s greediness and hooked their heart to equate good behavior and greed.
  • Behavior modification rather than heart modification. My son, give me thine heart… keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.
  • One of the first things that develops in a child is their will.  The will your attitude toward authority.
  • Chastening for the will – Hebrews 12:5-7, 11 quoting Proverbs 3:11-12.  Proverbs 22:15 is the heart connection to the rod.
  • Why expecting obedience is important
    • Obedience is growth – there is no limit to what God can do with a Christian that always does what he’s told, when he’s told.  The reason Ephesians 6:2-3 is practically true is that if your children were to obey everything you said about their choice of friends, their decisions, and their lives they would avoid the trouble that shortens lives.
    • Obedience is opportunity
    • Obedience is success – Proverbs 10:17 – reproof is the way of life
  • Identifying Rebellion
    • Rebellion is not a phase, it’s a nature.
    • Rebellion is an authority issue. Psychology attempts to find some peripheral issue like the past or stress in the marriage and link that to rebellion.  We have become so backward where parents will not chasten rebellion in their children all the while congratulating them for just having a pulse.
    • Rebellion starts as experimenting.  Testing boundaries is how your child will begin.  You will both lose in the end if the rebellion is not checked early.
    • Start with a tight grip, then loosen it.  Don’t start with a loose grip and try to tighten it.
  • Obedience Requires Parent’s Expectation
    • First of all God requires obedience from your children, so don’t hinder the work of God by not expecting the same.  Children obey your parents is a command given to them by God.
    • Ministry of reconciliation – don’t take disobedience personal.  Disobedience is against God and you are to facilitate their relationship with God.  If you are going to take it personally, don’t make any decisions while you’re stewing over being offended.
    • Goal is to get them to be what God wants them to be.  You may be domineering and be able to impose your will on people, but the art of parenting is to point them in the direction of God and represent God well.
    • Don’t say things you don’t mean.
  • Obedience Requires Parent’s Enforcement
    • Don’t make rules you can’t enforce.  Don’t make rules you aren’t going to enforce.  That’s otherwise known as an idle threat.
    • “You hurt Mommy’s feelings” or “You make Dad so mad” are not reasons kids should be trained to obey.
    • Compassionate anger means corporeal punishment is not payback or punitive or parents throwing a fit because they’ve been offended.  Children don’t need to wade through hypocrisy or inconsistent discipline and emotional bullying.
    • Mom must have the ability to discipline as needed.
    • No chastening is an indication that the father has not taken responsibility for that soul.  Hebrews 12:8
    • Expect to have to discipline your children multiple times.  I’ve heard people say for instance spanking doesn’t work.  First of all, the purpose of the rod is not that you use it, the purpose of the rod is to deliver temporary pain that prevents future punishment.  Proverbs 23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.  Now if you had the option of sending your child to Hell or spanking them which would you choose?  How about what the Lord Jesus Christ said in Mark 9:47, pluck out eyes, cut off hand, cut off feet and avoid hell.
    • Pain is the deterrent.  Proverbs 20:30 The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.  A hot stove is a quick lesson you can learn.  Spanking is good because its over.  Don’t drag out punishment or drama over hours or even days.  Get it over with and move on.