Friday, September 18th, 2009
"Children, be obedient to your parents in everything." (Colossians 3:20)
The Bible outlines the respective roles of the various members of a Christian family. The father is both head of his wife and the one primarily responsible for directing the children. The wife is to recognize the authority of her mate, and the children should strive to be obedient, a course that is well-pleasing to the Lord. Each member of the family can contribute to the unity and peace of the household by being yielding in a proper and balanced way. In contrast, consider Eli, who served as high priest in Israel. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were “good-for-nothing men” who did not “acknowledge Jehovah.” Eli failed to correct and discipline them. As a result, Eli’s sons continued in their bad course. Finally, Jehovah justly determined that they merited the penalty of death. Upon hearing the news of their deaths, Eli himself died. What a sad outcome!—1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22-25, 34, 35; 4:17, 18.
(Watchtower issue: 03/15/08, 1:18, 19)
*this account is a good example of how being overly lenient and lax with discipline can turn out just as harmful to a child's long-term development and the course they take in life, as being overly strict and authoritative can be. And it's ashame, because Eli himself seems to have respected Jehovah and his law's, but he lacked follow-through when it came to disciplinary action, because his sons were committing very serious sins that definitely required much more than a rebuke! ... not only did they show no respect or regard for Jehovah, their own father, Eli, or their sacred priestly duties,...but they also took the 'first portion' of the peoples' sacrifices which belonged to Jehovah, and they had relations with the women serving at the temple. Since we know that at least Phineas was married, (I'm sure Hophni was also) that makes it even more offensive, since that means he was committing adultery on top of everything else!
So obviously that situation required strong disciplinary ACTION, since his sons failed to listen to counsel or stop what they were doing. And the important thing to remember is that a person doesn't turn out like that overnight... I'm sure Eli never would have imagined his sons could turn out that way when they got older. Those traits are usually the result of an ongoing pattern of disobedience and lax discipline over the years, which is why it's such a good reminder for parents not to overlook the future consequences that can result from 'inaction' on their part.