“For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.”
I Samuel 3:13
The Lord was speaking to young Samuel. He had been reared in the house of God under the guardianship of Eli, the high priest. God informed Samuel that He would be judging the house of Eli for the way his sons had profaned the priesthood, “because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” Eli did not exercise his parental or priestly authority to rebuke or censure his rebellious sons. As a result, his sons were both killed in battle. Eli died when he received the grim news that his sons were dead and the ark of God was captured. In announcing this news to Samuel, God referred to the cause of this chastisement of Eli as, “the iniquity which he knoweth.”
The thing that made this so serious was the fact that Eli knew all about it. It is one thing to be unaware of something that is sinful or needs to be corrected, but quite another thing altogether to know a thing is wrong and do nothing about it. Eli was fully aware of the wickedness practiced by his sons, yet he refused to do anything to correct it. Eli’s negligence should be a warning to us all. The Scripture says, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). God did not judge the house of Eli for something he did or allowed in ignorance, but for the sins that he was aware of.
With this in mind, it would be wise for us to ask ourselves a couple of probing questions: “What is it that I know I should be doing and am not doing? What am I doing that I know is sin? What am I allowing my children to do that I know is against the Word of God?” God expects us to walk in the light that we have and obey the truth that we have been given. In fact, if we do not walk in the light we have received, we cannot expect to be given more light. When we deliberately disobey God’s Word, it should not surprise us when chastisement comes.
There may be points of God’s will which we are not certain about, but we should be more troubled about our failure to obey the truth with which we are acquainted. Eli’s failure to manage his family and his reluctance to deal with their iniquity resulted in personal and national tragedy. It is the sin that we know about and disregard that will bring the sorest judgment.