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Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: Parental Responsibility
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Explain the extent to which Eli and Samuel were responsible for the shortcomings of their children,
ii. Explain God’s reaction to the conduct of Eli and his children,
iii. Recognise that parents may held accountable for the misbehaviour of their children,
iv. Identify children’s responsibilities towards their parents,
v. Describe how King Asa and his son Jehoshaphat pleased God,
vi. Explain why children should live godly lives.
Examples Of Eli And Samuel (1 Samuel 2:11 – 36; 3:2 – 18; 4:10 – 22; 8:1 – 5)
The Bible says, children are heritage from the Lord (psalm 127:3). Parents should see their children as precious gifts from the Lord and they therefore have the divine duty of bringing them up in the way of the Lord. If they fail in this responsibility, they stand the risk of being punished by God. For the purpose of this chapter, we will be staying two examples of parents that perform their duty well and those who failed to discharge their duty.
Samuel and Eli
Eli was a priest in Israel. At the time he was old, his children took over. The two sons, Hophni and Phinehas did not work in the ways of their father. The Bible describes them as worthless men who had no regard for the Lord. They treated the offerings of the Lord with contempt.
The custom was that whenever any man offered sacrifices, the priest servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand and he would thrust it into the pan, kettle or pot while the meat was boiling; all the fork could bring out the priest would take for himself. The sons of Eli didn’t respect this rule, rather they preferred taking the meat raw and if the person offering the sacrifice refused, they would take it by force. This was a great sin in the sight of the Lord. Apart from this they lay with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. They blasphemed against God.
God’s Warning And The Failure Of Eli
In reaction to all the actions or sins of the sons of Eli, God sent a man of God to Eli to warn him about the sins of his sons. God said He would slay Eli’s two sons and remove the priesthood from his lineage permanently. Eli, being an old man did his little best to caution his children over their sins, but they didn’t listen to him because the Lord was determined to destroy them.
In confirmation of the warning made by the man of God, God revealed Himself to Samuel, the little boy serving the Lord in the house of Eli. God told Samuel that He would fulfill all he had spoken against the house of Eli in one day because his children blasphemed against God and their father did not restrain them.
God, who had earlier enumerated all that He would do to the house of Eli, accomplished them when there was war between the Israelites and the Philistines. In the battle, the Israelites were defeated, the two sons of Eli Hophni and Phinehas were killed and the ark of God was captured. When the news got to Eli he fell off his seat broke his neck and died, Eli’s daughter-in-law the wife of Phinehas who was pregnant heard the news, out of fear gave birth to her baby prematurely and died, she named her baby Ichabod saying “The glory of God has departed from Israel”.
Lessons That Can Be Derived From The Attitude Of Eli
i. Parents should take time to teach their children the word of God.
ii. There is need to pray together- the use of family alter should be of paramount importance.
iii. Parents should inculcate in their children the spirit of fear of God in all they do.
iv. There is need to heed the warnings of prophets / men of God.
v. The consequences of evil relationship between men and women should be pointed out by children.
vi. Disobedience to the commandments of God could bring adverse consequences.
The Sins Of The Sons Of Samuel
Samuel took over as judge in Israel after the death of Eli. When he became old, he appointed his sons, Joel and Abijah, judges in Israel and they judged from Beer-sheba. Like Eli’s sons, they did not follow the ways of their father. They took bribes and perverted justice. This was unacceptable to the Israelites, therefore they demanded for a king.
i. Both Samuel and Eli realised the atrocities committed by their children and the consequences but they did nothing meaningful to restrain them.
ii. God’s reaction to the sins of the son of Eli was complete destruction of the house of Eli.
iii. Both Eli and Samuel’s children were responsible for their misfortune so they were supposed to know the ways of the Lord which their father served, and keep it, but they did not.
Lessons To Learn
i. Parents have the responsibilities to give their children proper training and proper discipline where necessary. Any lapse in their part may result in unpleasant behaviour by the children in the future and the consequences may fall on the parents as was the case with Eli.
ii. Parents should know that their future happiness depends on their children.
iii. Children on their part should endeavour to be responsible and emulate good examples inorder not to destroy their future or destiny.
Example Of Asa (1 King 15:9 – 15; 22:41 – 44)
Asa reigned for forty-one years in Judah. He took over from his father Abijam. Abijam was described as one of the worst kings of Israel. Fortunately, his son, Asa and his descendant, Jehoshaphat, did not walk in his ways. Both did what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord.
i. Asa stamped out male cult and prostitution from the land.
ii. He destroyed all the idols that his father has made.
iii. He removed Maacah, his mother from being the queen because she had an abominable image for Asherah.
iv. He cut down Asherah’s image and burnt it.
v. His heart was wholly true to God all his days.
vi. He brought into the house of God his votive gifts and that of his father.
King Jehoshaphat (1 King 22:41 – 44)
Jehoshaphat succeeded his father, King Asa. He was thirty-five years old when he began to reign. He walked in the ways of his father, doing what was right in the sight of God. Above all he made peace with the king of Israel.
The Role Of The Parents Compared
King Asa and his son, Jehoshaphat, pleased the Lord by doing what was right in His sight. Although, Asa’s father was bad, Asa did not follow his ways he carried out a lot reforms which pleased the Lord. His direct son Jehoshaphat emulated his good steps unlike the sons of Eli and Samuel who departed from the good examples of their fathers and decided to do evil.
Lessons To Learn
i. People and leaders should follow the ways of the Lord all the times so that the Lord would direct them on what is good.
ii. Even if the parents were bad and did not know God, the children should not follow their ways.
iii. Children should depart from their parent’s evil ways and do what is right in the sight of God as was the case with king Asa.
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Take a quick test for this lesson
i. To what extent was the moral weakness of Eli’s children due to their father’s lack of parental responsibility? How did God react to this lapse?
ii. Enumerate what King Asa and his son, Jehoshaphat did to please God and compare it with what the sons of Eli and Samuel did to offend God.
iii. What are the possible consequences for parents failing to bring up the children in the way of the Lord.
iv. Explain how Eli failed as a parent
v. In what six ways did Israel suffer as a result of parental irresponsibility
vi. State three lessons that can be derived from the attitude of Eli.
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