KEY VERSE: “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation” (1 Samuel 2:22).

TEXT: 1 SAMUEL 2:12-36

In February, 2019 Pope Francis acknowledged a longstanding dirty secret in the Roman Catholic Church — the sexual abuse of nuns by priests. It is an issue that had long been kept under wraps, but in this era, such abuse is more widely discussed. Lucetta Scaraffia, a history professor, mother and feminist, blamed abuse of women and minors on the clerical culture of the all-powerful priesthood. However, it is not only the Catholic church that is guilty. Some priests and pastors in many churches (both Evangelical and Pentecostal) engage in immoral acts with the members they were ordained to lead.

The incident of sin in the sanctuary of God as narrated in our text is both worrisome and unbecoming of the office of the priesthood. The sons of Eli (Hophni and Phinehas) were a disgrace to the holy calling. They practised various acts of irreverence to God and the offerings in the sanctuary, and slept with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. Eli, the high priest was too permissive and indulgent. Instead of removing his sons immediately from the priesthood, he gave them a mild rebuke and allowed them to continue in office. God responded by pronouncing judgment on Eli and his priestly family: Hophni and Phinehas will both die in one day and the priesthood will shift to another branch of the family of Aaron. 

The subject of immoral practices of priests and pastors is so topical these days that it comes up frequently in the news. Some vicars of the Lord’s sanctuary fail to recognise the full weight of the terrible sins of sexual immorality in the church. They make themselves lords over the heritage of God but the church is not anybody’s property. The church is the Bride of Christ for whom He died and redeemed. The Lord’s judgment will begin from His sanctuary (1 Peter 4:17; Ezekiel 9:6).

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Flee sexual immorality within or outside the sanctuary.


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