Eli: Permissive Fathers

1 Samuel 3:11-14

In this lesson we will look at Eli, the high priest in Israel who God holds responsible for the wickedness of his children because God said he restrained them not.  Today, fathers are too permissive with their children and what God tells Eli can be applied to fathers today.

The book of 1 Samuel shows the changing of the priesthood from Eli’s house to Samuel in 1 Samuel 2.  Samuel’s dad was from Bethlehem (Genesis 35:19), so he is probably in the line of Judah.  Samuel will be unique in that he is a priest as well as a prophet.  His calling is in 1 Samuel 3.   And the first prophecy he is given by God is about the destruction of Eli’s house and the place Samuel will come to occupy.   The reason for this is Eli’s spiritual laziness.

Characteristics of Permissive Fathers

  • No Diligence – 1 Samuel 1:9 Eli set up a seat at the post of the temple.
    • Accommodates his own spiritual laziness with a chair in the tabernacle that wasn’t suppose to be there in the first place.  We get that way with God where we begin to make accommodations to continue in disobedience to God.
    • 1 Timothy 5:8 provision is expected.  It is not a favor you’re doing your family
    • Deuteronomy 6:7 & Ephesians 6:4 – Eli deferred spiritual training. 1 Samuel 2:12
  • No Discernment – 1 Samuel 1:12-15 he can’t discern good from evil.  
    • Your heart affects your vision.  Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.  And the preaching of the cross is foolishness to them that perish, but is the power of God unto salvation to them that are saved.
    • Hebrews 5:13-14 discernment comes from use.  That means consistent application of God’s word and that creates discernment.
  • No Discipline – 1 Samuel 2:22-24.  
    • He’d rather nag his sons than kick them out of the temple.
    • Behavior modification rather than heart modification.  My son, give me thine heartkeep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.
    • One of the first things that develops in a child is their will.  The will is not only a direction you’re pointing in, but also an attitude toward authority.
    • Chastening for the will – Hebrews 12:5-7, 11 quoting Proverbs 3:11-12.  Proverbs 22:15 is the heart connection to the rod.
  • No Fear – 1 Samuel 2:27-29
    • He held his kids in honor above God.
    • 1 Samuel 2:13-17.  That turned to extortion in his sons.  Which led Israel to despise the offerings.  His actions worked unrighteousness in the people.

Consequences of Permissive Fathers

  • Hatred – 1 Samuel 2:17
    • It caused those in his care to despise what God loves.
    • Dad, what you allow may not affect you as much as it does those you have responsibility for.
    • Carnal Christians don’t raise godly Christians.
  • Blindness – 1 Samuel 2:24-25
    • He was completely blind to his responsibility.
    • What would you do if you found out your child was involved in something they shouldn’t be?  Would you maybe pray for them?
    • Job has a similar situation, except not nearly as bad, and Job handles it like a real man of God.  Job 1:5
  • Waste – 1 Samuel 2:27-28
    • Like the prodigal who spent his inheritance on riotous living.  Wasted blessing.

Correcting Permissive Fathers

  • Remove the chairs that accommodate your spiritual laziness
  • Exercise spiritually.  How?  Do what God tells you when He tells you.
  • Crucify the flesh.  Discipline yourself.
  • Fear God
  • Recognize your responsibility Dad, Husband.
    • If mom is the keeper of the home then dad is the priest of the home.
    • Adam was responsible.  God lays the responsibility at Eli’s feet.