ICHABOD! THE GLORY OF GOD DEPARTED!
Rev. Dr. Teresa Allissa Citro Founder and President at Thread of Hope, Inc.
“And all the descendants of your house shall die in the flower of their age. Now this shall be a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas:” -1 Samuel 2:33-34
This pandemic has kept me busy writing our new book, “Can You Miss the Will of God? Yes, You Can!” Eli was a priest and a judge. He was a Levi, a descendant of Aaron. It was only the Levites that could serve as priest.
Eli was born into this privilege and honor. It was his calling and his mandate. A generational blessing. This meant the priests had to live a life of integrity, holiness, and godliness. They were set a part to judge and perform all the priestly duties. Let’s use a little of today's terminology. We expect judges in a court of law to follow the rules according to the law of the land. We further expect any person of the cloth to walk the life of righteousness. Easy to comprehend. No behaviors that go against the laws of the land. For the priests both. Laws of land and the laws of God.
Eli, wasn’t keeping neither the laws of the land or the laws of God. He was a very poor example of a judge and a priest. His life is not one we wound model after. Nobody I know would say, “When I grow up, I want to be like Eli.” This man liked to look the other way to corruption, sin, and abuse of power. Anyone who has studied the strict rules and regulations that applied to how priests needed to live would understand how unbelievable it was all the atrocities he allowed and how deportable his actions were.
From the very beginning of his story, we find his inability to judge correctly. It starts with Hannah. The woman praying at the alter for a child. She was weeping before God to grant her a child. Eli accused her of being drunk. Can you imagine that? I can. He was so far away from God that he absolutely no discernment between a woman crying at the altar before God and a drunk woman who would have been unruly. There’s a huge difference between the two. Where was his discernment to distinguish the difference between a praying woman and a drunk woman? Please catch this. The hand of God had departed from him. This left him to judge on his own. God help us that we don’t make this fatal mistake.
We find that story just in the previous chapter. What comes next is a terrible judgement and execution by God Himself. You see, His sons were evil. As evil as it gets. They were committing every kind of sin, robbing the people, threatening the people, engaging in disgusting sexual acts with the women who were coming to the Tent of the Tabernacle. Folks, this was the House of God. These things were happening in the House of the Lord, the place where God's laws were to be upheld. Eli was receiving complaints left and right. He had the authority to stop it, and he didn’t. No wonder the Spirit of God left his side. Eli was now ruling on his own. We all know how well that goes.