“He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.
1 Samuel 3:18 (NIV)
The man who spoke the words of our verse, Eli, was losing his eyesight in his old age. He had served the Lord forty years as priest in the house of God. His family situation was sadly marred because of his sons’ sinful lives. They did not listen to their father’s ineffective rebuke.
Eli had been warned by the Lord that his adult sons were living in sin and so it came as no surprise to him when the Lord had the young Samuel, who lived with him, give him the message that his sons were going to be cut off because of their rebellion.
Over the years I have witnessed many young adults walk away from the Lord. They had Christian parents who took them to church regularly, the parents even prayed with them as little children. Yet, as they grew up, they walked away from the God of their parents and lived in open sin.
This small insight into the life of Eli disturbs us when we recognize that God does eventually turn away from those who have already gone away from Him. How we wish that God would continue to speak to them about their wicked lives and cause them to repent and come to the One Who alone can forgive and grant them eternal life.
What is clearly seen in the short story of Eli’s sons is that we cannot reject the Lord without consequences. We also learn that having Christian parents will not be our “ticket” to heaven. Heaven is only gained by those who turn and seek the Lord.
Eli was now an old man when God revealed that He had given up on the sons. So, regardless of how he hurt for his children, he let go of them and handed the situation over to the Lord for what He thought best and right.
How hard for believing parents to let go of their rebellious children and hand the matter to the Lord for Him to deal with as He thinks best. There comes a time when some Christian parents may face a situation similar to Eli’s. You are free to pray for your children until you see them repent or until you are taken to glory.
Ultimately, we who trust the Lord recognize that the way in which He deals with rebellious children will be right. As long as we are in this world, and have such children, we may earnestly pray for their conversion. Yet, with Eli, we know that if they do not repent they will perish in the end.
Sin is so attractive when people first meet it, but the longer it remains in our lives the more it works to destroy us. Sin is insidious and buries itself deep within the person and the longer it is there the more difficult it is to forsake it and turn to the Lord.
Remember that the Lord is gracious, He can turn the most stubborn ones to Himself. So pray in hope as long as you live. Ask the Lord to break the stubborn will of the rebellious child. But in the end we must say with Eli, that the Lord is God and we accept what He chooses to do.