"Raising up GODLY children"
As the book of 1 Samuel opens, judges had ruled Israel for more than two hundred years. In the midst of the gross wickedness committed by the High Priest’s sons, God prepared a woman from the tribe of Ephraim called Hannah to offer her child Samuel for God’s services. Samuel became the last judge and priest as well as the first official prophet for Israel. He took the place of the two sons of Eli the High Priest, who were corrupt and did not know God (1 Sam 2:12). They sinned against God greatly by despising the meat offerings brought to the Tabernacle (v. 17), committing sexual acts with the women who came to the door of the Tabernacle (v. 22), and disobeying the instructions of their father Eli (v. 25). In contrast, the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest (1 Sam 2:11b, 18; 3:1a), grew in stature before the Lord and men (1 Sam 2:21b, 26), and was a recipient of God’s revelation concerning the future of Israel (1 Sam 3:1-18, 21). The Lord was with Samuel and did not allow any of his words “fall to the ground” (be in vain), as he became established as a prophet of God all over Israel (1 Sam 3:20).
In the midst of the prophecy against the house of Eli (1 Sam 2:35-36), mercy was promised to Israel. God's work shall be done by faithful people that He will raise up like prophet Samuel. Jesus Christ is that merciful and faithful High Priest, whom God raised up when the Levitical priesthood was thrown off. "Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever" (1 Sam 2:35).
The sad story of Eli and his sons tell us how important it is for us to raise godly children. We should never allow our children to continue in any evil way but use our authority to restrain, correct and train them in godly ways. Let Eli's example lead all parents earnestly to look out for any ungodly habits in their children, and take a real effort to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.