Passing on the Ways of God A Bible Study from 1 Samuel 1:1-4:22

Judges 2:10 - After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals.

How is this possible? The parents did not remind their children of the ways of God. They did not pass on the Word of God to the next generation.

At this time in history, Israel had no king (they did not even honor God as king). Everyone did as he saw fit. Judges 21:25
1 Samuel 1:3 - Year after year this man [Elkanah] went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord.

Consistency of pure worship models the ways of God to the next generation. Elkanah paved the way for the birth of Samuel and national revival.

This is the parents' responsibility... to model and lead their family in worship.

1 Samuel 1:10-11 - In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord. And she made a vow, saying, “O Lord Almighty , if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.

Hannah dedicated her unborn son to God... and then followed through with her promise. Consecration of children to God by parents is key for them understanding the ways of God.

Proclaim the Lordship of Jesus over your children continually. Start before they are born.

1 Samuel 1:28 - So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.
1 Samuel 2:18-19 - But Samuel was ministering before the Lord–a boy wearing a linen ephod. Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice.

Elkanah and Hannah continued their pure worship before God. Consistency in worship solidifies the spiritual foundation of your children.

1 Samuel 2:21 - Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.

How can you as a parent cultivate the presence of the Lord in your home?

1 Samuel 2:12 - Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord.

1 Samuel 2:17 - This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.

Their sin was related to self-idolatry (again a worship issue).

1 Samuel 2:22 - Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.

Eli rebuked them, but didn't stop them. Eli didn't care that God's name was being desecrated in all Israel.

1 Samuel 2:25 - His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the Lord’s will to put them to death.

Hophni and Phineas made their choices and hardened their hearts to God.

Parents who allow rebellion in the home are reinforcing hardness of heart toward God.

God's comment to Eli:

1 Samuel 2:29 - Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?

It wasn't just the sons' sin. It was Eli's sin...

The judgement: 1 Samuel 2:31-33 - The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your family line and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, in your family line there will never be an old man. Every one of you that I do not cut off from my altar will be spared only to blind your eyes with tears and to grieve your heart, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.
God speaks to Samuel. Why? 1 Samuel 3:1-14
1 Samuel 4:3 - Let us bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh, so that it may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.

The worst desecration of all - trying to manipulate God. The worship of God has departed. Self has taken the throne.

1 Samuel 4:17-18

The man who brought the news replied, “Israel fled before the Philistines, and the army has suffered heavy losses. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.”
When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man and heavy. He had led Israel forty years.
1 Samuel 4:22 - The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.

Eli's choice to dishonor God by not caring about the impure worship, sexual immorality and rebellion of his sons led to national disaster. The glory of God had now left Israel.

Lessons Learned:

  • Consistency of parents in modeling and leading pure worship is the key foundation for a child's life.
  • Foster the presence of God in your home.
  • Do not allow rebellion to go unchecked.
  • Lead out in honoring and worshipping God in the home.
  • Parents must be alert to any idolatry, witchcraft, or sexual immorality that the children might be toying with (including games, internet, movies, tv shows, etc.).
  • You want the glory of God to remain in your home. This begins with the parents' determination to make God feel fully welcome in the home.
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