1 Samuel 2:12-25 (Part 5)- Calling A Brother Out On His Unrepentant Sin

Posted: November 20, 2017 in Book of 1 Samuel
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1 Samuel 2:12-25 (Part 5 of 6)
Eli’s Wicked Sons

Unrepentant Sin is a phrase that we talked about yesterday. Those are situations where we either don’t recognize a sin as sin or even worse, just don’t care. This is a conversation that my bestie guys and I had last night over dinner at Five Guys. Our wives were on one side of the table and we were on our side. Two totally different conversations that only occasionally intersected when you would pick on a word or a phrase here and there. They were happy to have their girl time talking down at their end of the table and we guys were having our much rarer guys only conversation. Those are rare. The girls in our circle of friends talk with each other daily and do a joint Bible devotional together constantly and they text back and forth about that daily. However, with us guys, not sure why, but we just don’t talk that much when we are not around each other. When we are together it’s like we’ve never been apart. Common history, common interests, the conversations just flow and together we can generate conversations that can make your inner soul hurt from laughter that is so deep. At the same time, we can have some pretty profound conversations too. Last night was one of those nights.

We were talking about the very subject that I wrote about last blog. Unrepentant Sin. How do you confront that as a Christ follower. There are people that we know mutually that outwardly say that they are Bible believing Christians but yet have sin in their lives that they are not recognizing as sin. They think the sin is OK for them because, well, they either don’t realize that the sin they are waist deep in is a sin at all or they just think that God will make an exception for because of grace, or they just don’t care that it is a sin because they want the pleasure of the sin. How do you confront people about their unbridled, uncaring, unrepentant sin that they are participating in when each of us are sinners ourselves? How do you do that? I am no perfect man by any means. I fear telling someone about the sin that they are waist deep in and don’t seem to see it as sin because I know that I have my blindside sins too. We came down to the fact that it has to do with relationship. It is only when you have relationship with someone that you can earn the right to speak truth into their lives. Certainly a shepherd such our senior pastor can caste a sermon about unrepentant sin and it may convict some, but most often it is through direct relationship with someone that a person will be confronted about their unrepentant participation in a sin that is clearly wrong according to the Bible. It is through me knowing you and you knowing me that I have a right to speak truth in to your life and vice versa.

I had my experience with this head on back in 2009/10 time frame. Elena and I were living in Livermore, CA and we were attending Livermore Alive Community Church. We had become best friends with the pastor and his wife, Luke and Felisha. As we began to grow as Christ followers and as the church began to grow, Luke decided that it was time to have an elder team in which he would be the first among equals as the full-time preaching pastor. After some prayer time, I felt like as though I could be an elder. I had the passion. I had the desire. I have the love for my Savior. Then over a weeklong period Luke had all the elder candidates over to his house individually (with his wife and kids gone) to discuss their candidacy. When it was my turn, ya know, I figured it was just a formality. Luke and I were best buds outside of church. Elena and Felisha were best buddettes. We hung out a lot. But after a few informal questions, bam, Luke confronted me with the sin that I did not see as sin and even if I did my actions showed that I did not care that it was. Luke told me straight up, plain out that I could not be an elder in the church because I was living with a woman to whom I was not married. I was in effect commit fornication every time I had sex with Elena and that it was a sin to live in the manner in which I was living and was certainly stood in opposition to the qualifications for being an elder in the church as spelled out in Titus 1:5-9, 1 Tim. 3:1-7, and 1 Peter 5:1-4. He pissed me off that night. He shocked me that night. He got up all in my business that night. But he spoke truth that night. I knew that Luke had his own sins but he confronted me with Scripture and he confronted me in love not hatred. He said I simply cannot allow you to be an elder when its blatantly obvious to anyone who reads Scripture that you are not qualified no matter how much I love you and like you. Bam. There it was. I was confronted with my unrepentant sin.

That’s the thing that struck me this morning as I read this passage again – how we have to confront unrepentant and unbridled disregard for God’s Word and deal with it. With that in mind, let us read 1 Samuel 2:12-26 for the fifth of six reads of this loaded passage today:

12 Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the Lord 13 or for their duties as priests. Whenever anyone offered a sacrifice, Eli’s sons would send over a servant with a three-pronged fork. While the meat of the sacrificed animal was still boiling, 14 the servant would stick the fork into the pot and demand that whatever it brought up be given to Eli’s sons. All the Israelites who came to worship at Shiloh were treated this way. 15 Sometimes the servant would come even before the animal’s fat had been burned on the altar. He would demand raw meat before it had been boiled so that it could be used for roasting.

16 The man offering the sacrifice might reply, “Take as much as you want, but the fat must be burned first.” Then the servant would demand, “No, give it to me now, or I’ll take it by force.” 17 So the sin of these young men was very serious in the Lord’s sight, for they treated the Lord’s offerings with contempt.

18 But Samuel, though he was only a boy, served the Lord. He wore a linen garment like that of a priest.[a] 19 Each year his mother made a small coat for him and brought it to him when she came with her husband for the sacrifice. 20 Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the Lord give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the Lord.[b]” 21 And the Lord blessed Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.

22 Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle.[c] 23 Eli said to them, “I have been hearing reports from all the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning? 24 You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the Lord’s people are not good. 25 If someone sins against another person, God[d] can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede?” But Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to their father, for the Lord was already planning to put them to death.

26 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people.

In this passage, we see that we must deal with the ruggedness of the Old Testament that puts some people off. We must ask the question, “Does a loving God really will or want to put people to death?” In answering that question in context of this passage, we must consider what was going on in the Tabernacle. A person made an offering to the Lord in order that their sins may be forgiven and it was offered typically with a repentant heart wanting to be reconciled to a pure and just God. However, Eli’s sons were stealing the offering and making a sham of a person’s repentant attitude. God, in His love for Israel, could not permit this situation to continue. He allowed Eli’s sons to die as a result of their own boastful presumption. They took the Ark into battle thinking that it would protect them. But God withdrew His protection and the wicked sons of Eli were killed (1 Samuel 4:10-11).

The question is what will you do with it when someone confronts you with your unbridled expressions of unrepentant sin. What did I do when Luke confronted me with my unrepentant sin of living with a woman to whom I was not married. It does not matter that both Elena and I had been married twice before and were gunshy about marriage. We could make all the excuses that we wanted to cover up or to justify our sin but it was plain and simple turning our noses up at God. It was us saying that God will overlook this sin because its our pet sin and we have our reasons for why it is OK. We wanted our cake of living together but not the eating it of being married. We were confronted with our fornication. We were confronted with our repeated sexual encounters outside of wedlock. We were confronted with our advertising it to the world that we lived together and that we were not married. Until someone showed us through relationship that they had the kahunas to confront us about it, we would have continued in our sin in an unrepentant manner – not recognizing our sin, not caring that it was sin, and making an exception for it by ignoring God’s Word, making an exception for by avoiding those parts of the Bible, making an exception for it because it was us and God just understood and winked as us because it was us.

We must love those who we have relationships with enough to compared their lives to Scripture and lovingly tell them to what they need to be told (and be willing to have them do the same for us). Because God is a just God and because of that there are consequences for sins. We must love those we are in relationship with and tell them what they need to hear and do so in love. We don’t want them to have suffer the consequences that sin always has in our lives. Luke loved Elena and me enough to confront us about our sin. We finally saw that in order to grow in Christ and to grow in our witness and to really, really grow in our relationship with each other, we had to trust enough and each other enough to do things God’s way. Luke performed our wedding ceremony on March 21, 2010 right in the middle of church, right at the end of a sermon about doing things God’s way sexually in a world that seems to made sex a recreational sport. Luke was a proud spiritual mentor that day. He took a risk that we would have lost our friendship and also that we would have left the church. But he took the risk to confront us about our unrepentant sin. It was the first time that someone confronted me straight up about a sin I was committing. It was the beginning of growing from a spiritual baby into where I am at now on my journey. Sometimes, we have to be confronted with the cold hard truth of our sin.

There are consequences to sin and God will allow that to play itself out in our lives. It is never good. Eli failed to confront his sons and they paid the price for it eventually. They did not have someone to kick them in the butt and say what you are doing is wrong and they paid the price for it eventually. Help us to love the people that are in sphere of influence enough to tell them the truth that needs telling. Help us to care enough. Love enough. And invest in the relationship enough to the point that our words will be taken with respect and love and will be considered. Let us be loving in our confrontations. Let it be known that we only want our people to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. May we pray for friends that will do the same for us.

Amen and Amen.

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