The Father only has children, not grandchildren
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.- Ephesians 6:4
5 You must love the LORD your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength.
6 These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind,
7 and you must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up.
You may be astounded as I was when I learned in a History of American Higher Education class in graduate school that all of the first colleges in America were created to train Christian ministers. There was no separation of church and state. The states directly supported the churches in their religious efforts.
The original cornerstone of Harvard College, the first college in America reads:
“After God had carried us safe to New England and we had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship and settled the civil government, one of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present minsters shall lie in the dust (1636).
Yale University was founded on October 16, 1701, by Congregationalist ministers to fight growing liberalism at Harvard. It was eventually named in honor of Elihu Yale, a successful merchant and financial contributor. Their objective was that “Youth may be instructed in the Arts and Sciences who through the blessing of God may be fitted for Publick employment both in Church and Civil State.”
Students were required to “live religious, godly and blameless lives according to the rules of God’s Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, the fountain of light and truth; and constantly attend upon all the duties of religion, both in public and secret.” Prayer was a requirement. Furthermore every student was instructed to “. . . consider the main end of his study to wit to know God in Jesus Christ” and “to lead a Godly, sober life.”
Such faith and high and lofty resolve did not last past the generation that possessed it. Faith, salvation, and spiritual life are not part of a person’s DNA. Each child of each generation must make those fateful decisions for themselves. Parents cannot ensure the faithfulness of their children. But fathers in particular have a responsibility to instruct them in the Truth.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
REFLECT & PRAY
How much truth did you have growing up? And how did you respond to it? Life on earth is what we know, but eternity lasts forever.
Father may I faithfully pass on truth to those that I love and care for.
The story of Eli the priest and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, is a tragic account of parental responsibility gone bad with dreadful, lethal consequences. The Aaronic priesthood was hereditary and passed down from father to son.
1 Samuel 2:12 The sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the LORD.
Eli was now 98 years old and his eyesight was failing. Eli had become somewhat of a pathetic figure. He was an absent father and even worse an absent priest. As a father, he was far too permissive and overindulgent with his kids. He was negligent. He did not instill the values and the knowledge they needed to succeed. He more or less let his sons run the family business, the sacrificial system of the tabernacle. A big mistake. Knowing the playing field, his sons took full advantage of their father’s laxity and absenteeism.
Eli sons had never entered into a personal relationship with the Father. And their lives reflected it. They were basically thugs and acted like gangsters. Because they could, they robbed people of their share of sacrificial offerings. They demanded meat before the fat had been offered to the Lord. Apparently, there personal taste ran toward barbecue and demanded to roast meat for themselves instead of boiling it as directed in the Law of Moses. If people resisted, they simply took what they wanted by force (1 Samuel 2:11–17). To make matters worse, they sexually abused and seduced female workers who assisted the priests and Levites (1 Samuel 2:22, Exodus 38:8).
Eventually all of this got back to Eli. Apparently, the #MeToo Movement was at work in ancient Israel even without Twitter. Eli heard reports about the wicked things his sons were doing. What did Eli do? He reached out to his strong-willed and rebellious boys. Although Eli was blunt and asked them, “Why do you keep sinning?” (1 Samuel 2:23). It was too little and too late.
Eli’s sons had no idea that they were not merely mistreating people and sinning against them, they were sinning against the Lord God Almighty. Eli told them to stop. He warned them, “If someone sins against another person, God can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede?”(1 Samuel 2:25)
But Hophni and Phinehas simply blew Eli off. They were getting away with murder and saw no reason to quit. I mean who was going to stop them? They never took into consideration what the Father, the living God might do. They soon found out.
Hophni and Phinehas simply had pushed the Father too far, and He had had enough. The Father sent a man of God to deliver his message of judgment. First, Eli’s house would no longer serve as priests before the Lord. The entire line would be cut off from this sacred and honored privilege. Second, to prove that this prophecy would be fulfilled in the future, Hophni and Phinehas, would soon die and on the same day! (1 Samuel 2:34).
The Father sent the Philistines to execute His sentence on Hophni and Phinehas. They were both killed in the battle that ensued. But worse, the Ark of God was taken by the Philistines. A messenger brought this news to Eli. When he heard his sons were dead. He was understandably disturbed and saddened. But when he heard that the Ark of God was taken, he fell off his seat backwards in grief, broke his neck, and died.
The removal of the Ark of God from Israel was absolutely tragic. Imagine if someone were able to carry off the Statue of Liberty and ship it back to their own country. The Statue of Liberty stands for much of what America is all about. The American identity is tied to it. It is a symbol, a national rallying point.
But the Ark of God was more than a symbol, the Ark of God was the place where the Father’s glory dwelt. And now the Ark was gone, and with it the glory of God. Imagine for the first time in memory, God’s visible presence was missing from Israel. A child, a grandson of Eli was born. The grief-stricken mother named her child Ichabod, meaning “no glory.” His name made a statement and asked the question “where is the glory?” The glory had departed!
All of this happened because of an absent, weak father. Eli had overly indulged his children. They had grown up without discipline, having no fear the Father, and far from Him.
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
Hosea 8:7 For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind.
You reap what you sow,
More than you sow, and
Later than you sow (Charles Stanley).