Focal Passages: 1 Samuel 2:22-25; 3:11-21
When leaders fail, the
accepted practice is to kick them while they are down.
Well, at least that is what
happens if you are a religious or political leader, and the media gets hold of
This week we start a new
four-part Bible study with the theme of “God Is Still In Control.”
Often when we see our
leaders slip or fail, we become discouraged and angry.
During the next few weeks,
we will be discussing how God is still in control even when we fail, our
leaders fail, and things just get tough.
Our passages from 1 Samuel
detail the events leading up to a major period of change for Israel.
God was moving from a time
of the judges into the time of the prophets and kings.
Eli was the elderly
high-priest with his sons assisting as priests.
Eli becomes a foster father
for a young Samuel who comes to live with Eli in Shiloh after being dedicated
Eli does an excellent job in
raising the young Samuel, but Eli’s sons have strayed far from the path that
God intended for His priests.
The sons of Eli began making
their own rules regarding the sacrifices for God; they also sank into the pit
of sexual immorality.
We have only one recorded
half-hearted attempt by Eli to confront his sons and assert his parental
duties/priestly responsibilities to address their sins.
Nothing changes, so
eventually God speaks with Samuel to let Samuel know that something
extraordinary is going to happen in Israel.
God was going to begin the
process of moving away from judges to lead the people to prophets who could
more accurately spread God’s Word to the people.
Samuel was going to be the
last of the judges and the first of the prophets, while Eli and the sons of Eli
would miss out on a great blessing because of their failing spiritual
How does this biblical
account apply to us today?
All leaders fail at some
point, since we are all sinners.
This is not an excuse for
failure, but it is just a simple fact.
Just as God expected Eli to
handle the priests under his leadership (including his sons), we as leaders
have to be willing to take God’s word and apply it to use in our lives, our
churches, our communities, and our country.
What can we do to become the
leaders that God intends for all of His followers to be?
Christians should be willing
to accept new leadership as God raises them up — just like Samuel was
“promoted” to be a new type of leader for Israel.
We also need to understand
that misconduct by some leaders (political or spiritual) does not excuse us
from obeying God’s Word.
Lastly, we are to try and
bring any leader or follower back to the correct path if they do stray from