This morning before heading off to work, I spent some time reading in 1 Samuel 8. The chapter begins, “And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel… His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.”
Recognize this anywhere? This is what happened probably 50 years ago with Samuel’s spiritual father Eli. In 1 Samuel 2, we read, “Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the Lord and the custom of the priests with the people… Thus the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for the men despised the offering of the Lord… Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.”
Just like dad.
One thing stands out to me above all else here: we must father well. If I do not father well, then I harm not only my sons but their sons as well. It’s a cycle that has to be broken.
Things started with Eli, a godly man himself who had some serious failures as a parent. He never corrected his sons until things had gone much too far. By the time he finally challenged their ungodly, harmful behavior, judgment was on the way and countless lives had been used and abused.
Samuel, somehow managing to grow up decent himself, learned how to parent by watching Eli. It’s no wonder we see him showing failings as a parent, too. It’s no wonder we see him setting up his spiritually immature sons as leaders. And it’s no wonder we never see him correcting them.
Above all else, I want to father well, whether that’s natural kids to come or spiritual children. I want to leave behind men and women who are strong.