Pay very close attention to ancient Israel, America!
Is yours the house of Elkanah or the house of Eli?
As 1 Samuel opens, Elkanah and Eli are both sinners against God, as is everyone who reads this blog and especially its author. But there is a very large difference between the houses of Elkanah and Eli.
Elkanah’s house bears all the rotten fruit of polygamy, with one wife and her children abusing the other wife because she can bear no children. Eli and his sons are the priests of God in the temple at Shiloh, where the sons use the robes of power to steal food from worshipers and who even have sex with women who serve in the temple. Eli knows what his sons are doing and simply chastises them without discipline.
Elkanah, like Naomi and Ruth, has not forgotten God. Once a year, Elkanah takes his entire household to Shiloh to offer the sacrifices required by the Law of Moses, including guilt offerings as repentance for the sins of his house. The way he treats his barren wife Hannah shows the tenderness of a man of God who knows the never-ending love of God because he has not forgotten God.
Compare the house of Eli, which is supposed to be the house of God in the temple at Shiloh. God has not appeared there in a very long time and we can guess why – it has been desecrated by Eli’s sons Phineas and Hoshni, and Eli has done nothing other than to say something like, “Well, you know how kids are these days…”
God restores the house of Elkanah annually and rewards Hannah with fertility because she and her husband are faithful in unity with God. But God warns the house of Eli that soon they will all die, the sons both on the same day, and only the boy Samuel will be left to restore glory to the house of God.
In America today, we have a government quickly stripping away our freedoms and like Eli ignoring evil fomenting all around us. Nature abhors a vacuum and evil rushes in. This is entirely our fault – we elected this government twice! And now evil is rushing in to the place left vacant by American leadership.
Yesterday morning I would have concluded that the house of Eli is a strong warning to our houses in America, for heads of household to find a church and repent! A few hours later, in the wake of the coordinated disaster in Paris, I must ask: Is it already too late in America?
When God called Samuel to replace the house of Eli, he said, "Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle" (1 Samuel 3:11, NASB). Sadly they are tingling in Paris today; will we be tingling in America again soon?
Eli found out that by doing nothing the moment arrived when God had seen enough.
But God preserved his house in Samuel because no evil can ultimately overcome it.
I challenge every household in America to read these chapters right now – aloud.
Then ask: is your house more like Elkanah’s or Eli’s?
There is a way back. Get your family to church and repent as a nation – NOW!