WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 19, 2022
TOPIC: DISCIPLINE YOUR CHILDREN
BY T. O. BANSO
“For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them” (1 Samuel 3:13 New King James Version).
One notable thing that readers of the Bible will always remember Eli the priest for is his failure to discipline his sons, Hophni and Phinehas, who, as priests under him, treated with contempt the sacrifice offered to the LORD.
1 Samuel 2:12-15 speaks thus about the sin of Eli’s sons: “Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the LORD. And the priests’ custom with the people was that when any man offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fleshhook in his hand while the meat was boiling. Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; and the priest would take for himself all that the fleshhook brought up. So they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. Also, before they burned the fat, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who sacrificed, ‘Give meat for roasting to the priest, for he will not take boiled meat from you, but raw” (New King James Version).
Eli’s sons had no regard for the sacrifice the people offered to the LORD. As priests, they didn’t know the LORD personally; otherwise, they wouldn’t have treated His offering with contempt. They loved meat more than the LORD! 1 Samuel 2:16 says, “And if the man said to him, ‘They should really burn the fat first; then you may take as much as your heart desires,’ he would then answer him, ‘No, but you must give it now; and if not, I will take it by force’” (New King James Version). Eli’s sons put their interest above that of the LORD. They placed themselves ahead of Him. They didn’t wait for the fat to be burnt before they took part of the sacrifice. This was contrary to the laws of God (Leviticus 3:3-5).
Eli’s sons treated the LORD’s offering with contempt and this was a very serious sin in the sight of the LORD (1 Samuel 2:17). Although Eli was old, he heard everything his sons did to all Israel. In addition to their contempt for the sacrifice offered to the LORD, Eli’s sons slept with the women who worked at the entrance of the Tabernacle (1 Samuel 2:22).
What did Eli do about the sin of his sons and what was their reaction? “So he said to them, ‘Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD’s people transgress. If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?’ Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the LORD desired to kill them” (1 Samuel 2:23-25 New King James Version).
Given the gravity of the sin of his sons, Eli, as a priest, should have known that what he did was not the best he should have done because they were not just his sons, they were also priests under him. His action amounted to condoning their sins. Eli did not punish them as he should. Their sin was not unintentional and Eli, therefore, should have executed them as stipulated in Numbers 15:30 as punishment for sinning presumptuously, brazenly, or purposely. Because Eli didn’t carry out this severe punishment, they continued their wickedness.
God’s warning always precedes His judgment. While Eli and his sons continued to make God angry, a man of God came to Eli to deliver a message from the LORD to him about the judgment that would come upon him, his sons, and his father’s house.
The LORD said, “Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. And you will see an enemy in My dwelling place, despite all the good which God does for Israel. And there shall not be an old man in your house forever. But any of your men whom I do not cut off from My altar shall consume your eyes and grieve your heart. And all the descendants of your house shall die in the flower of their age. Now this shall be a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die, both of them. Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever. And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and say, ‘Please, put me in one of the priestly positions, that I may eat a piece of bread’” (I Samuel 2:31-36 New King James Version).
It is difficult to understand why a priest would receive this kind of dreadful message and would not discipline his sons to save himself and his father’s house from God’s judgment even if his sons chose to die in their sins. The LORD said that Eli honoured his sons more than Him (2 Samuel 2:29). No parent should ever do that, let alone a priest. And the LORD told Eli that those who honoured Him He would honour, and those who despised Him would be lightly esteemed (verse 30). God still does the same today.
God also spoke to Samuel on the impending judgment on Eli, his sons, and his house. Hear what He said: “Then the LORD said to Samuel: ‘Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever” (1 Samuel 3:11-14 New King James Version).
In the morning, Eli asked Samuel to tell him what the LORD had told him since he perceived He was the one calling Samuel on the two occasions he had come to him in the night. Although Samuel didn’t hide anything from him, which the LORD had told him about the coming judgment upon Eli’s house, he didn’t show any sign of repentance. Eli only said, “It is the LORD. Let Him do what seems good to Him” (1 Samuel 3:18b New King James Version).
Eli continued his failure to discipline his children. He didn’t do what the LORD expected of him. No wonder the LORD said He would raise up for Himself a faithful priest who would do according to what was in His heart and in His mind (1 Samuel 2:35a). How can your children be blaspheming God and you will not discipline them if you reverence God?
The words the LORD spoke to Samuel which he delivered to Eli were not a mere threat. He executed His judgment on Eli and his house. Eli’s sons died the same day in a battle against the Philistines. Eli who was 98 years old and nearly blind, upon hearing the news that the Ark of God had been carried away, broke his neck and died. The LORD later took away the priesthood from his family.
Suppose Eli had disciplined his sons but they continued their rebellion against God in another form, the LORD would have exempted Eli and his descendants from His judgment. Discipline your children. In other words, give them instruction, knowledge, and training. But don’t neglect correction, punishment, and reproof, which is also part of discipline. Hebrews 12:7b asks what son is there whom his father doesn’t discipline?
The Bible talks so much about disciplining a child. Don’t fail God as Eli did. Discipline your children; don’t honour them more than God. If you need to subject them to physical punishment, don’t shy away from it. It is in the Bible. “Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell” (Proverbs 23:13-14 New King James Version). Other scriptures also talk about physical punishment (Proverbs 29:15; 22:15).
Teach your children the Word of God early in life. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). Teach them the fear of God. If you discipline your children, they will give you rest and give delight to your soul (Proverbs 29:17). Verse 15 says the rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. Don’t leave your children to themselves. Instruct them, pass knowledge to them, and train them. Correct, punish and reprove them when necessary.
David was Adonijah’s father but the Bible says he had not rebuked him at any time by saying, “Why have you done so?” (1 Kings 1:6). No wonder when his father was old and still on the throne, he made himself king before David eventually made Solomon king instead. Discipline your children. “For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them” (1 Samuel 3:13 New King James Version). The word restrain, in this scripture, means discipline, control, or stop. Discipline your children.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, help me not to focus on my business, career, ministry, or vocation and neglect my children. In the name of Jesus, I will not fail God in disciplining my children. I will give them instruction, knowledge, and training and will not neglect correction, punishment, and reproof. I pray that all rebellious children who are causing nightmares and heartaches for their parents will repent and give their lives to Jesus.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947