So he said to them, "Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear spreading among the LORD's people. If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?" His sons, however, did not listen to their father's rebuke, for it was the LORD's will to put them to death. (1 Samuel 2:23-25)
Eli's sons were deliberately sinning. They had been reared by the High Priest. They knew the Law. They knew they should fear and revere God and the sacrifices made to Him. But they allowed their own personal desires to control their actions. And so, they sinned knowingly and willingly they continued to sin.
All sin is evil and deserving of punishment. The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) That's a given. That's why the people came and offered their sacrifices in atonement for their sins, first in the Tabernacle, and then in the Temple. That's why Jesus came to the earth, to be sacrificed on the cross in atonement for your sins and mine. That's why God says that the wages of sin is death. But Eli's sons were deliberately sinning. They were willfully and knowingly going against God's word.
So what did God do about it? When Eli's sons went into battle, they took the Ark of the Covenant with them. After all, having the Ark present had always protected the children of Israel in the past, right? It was an amulet, a lucky charm, a supernatural guarantee that they would be protected and successful, right? But they forgot that God hates sin. He especially hates deliberate sin. So God withdrew His protection. He didn't go into battle with them, even though the Ark did. And Eli's sons were all killed.
The forgiveness granted through Jesus' death on the cross is not a license to sin; it is the freedom to obey. Just because a person has accepted Jesus as his Savior, does not grant that person the "right" to keep on doing whatever he wants, then occasionally pray for forgiveness. Saturday night's sins aren't absolved just because a person shows up at church on Sunday morning, especially if he fully plans to do the same thing again next Saturday night. That person, just like Eli's sons, is setting himself up for destruction.
Do you have a "pet" sin? Something you keep doing over and over again, pointedly refusing to stop? If so, it's time to give your whole heart to God - not just the parts you're willing to give. It's time to commit yourself to fully living God's word in your life, without reservation. If you know better, it's time to stop.
From Newsong Ministries
Used with Permission
This Day's Devotionals