In 1st Samuel 2:22 we have a humbling example of priests who were immoral. It reads, “Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they LAY WITH THE WOMEN, who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting” (NKJV). Eli was the chief priest in Israel at this time and his sons were also priests, yet his sons were guilty of sexual immorality which was committed right at the entrance into tabernacle (the house of the Lord). Eli was grieved at the gross behavior of his sons and he rebuked them with these words, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD’S people transgress. If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?” (verse 23-25). Eli knew that his sons, being priests, had “sinned against the Lord” and thus there would be no one to intercede for them. How did his sons respond? We have the answer at the end of verse 25, “Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the LORD desired to kill them.” Their father’s solemn words FELL ON DEAF EARS and they refused to repent of their immorality.

If we turn back to verse 12 we learn that Eli’s sons were unbelievers, “Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the LORD.” How sad! Eli was a righteous man but his life had no influence for good on his sons and thus they never came to repent of their sins and accept God’s way of salvation. Yet they continued to function as priests but we learn in verses 13-17 that they were guilty of THREE OTHER SINS AGAINST THE LORD: 1) They robbed the people of this portion of the sacrifice (verses 13-14); 2) They took the meat of the sacrifice BEFORE the fat was offered to God (verse 15); and 3) They roasted the meat instead of boiling it (verse 16). All three of these offenses contradicted the order that God had ordained and thus we read, “Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for men abhorred the offering of the LORD” (verse 17). Their sin, which “was very great before the Lord,” led all the people to abhor the offerings of the Lord; in other words, their sin defiled all of Israel who had no appreciation for the holy things of God. This teaches us a valuable lesson; though the sin of immorality is great, the sin of “robbing God of the proper worship He demands and deserves” is even greater, and it is a sin which may indeed lead to stumbling others in their walk with the Lord.

Before we close our short meditation, it’s good to remember that ALL BELIEVERS TODAY ARE PRIESTS! In 1st Peter 2:5 states, “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a HOLY PRIESTHOOD, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” We read of this also in Hebrews 13:13 & 15, “So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach…Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (NASB). We are privileged to function as priests by offering up “spiritual sacrifices” which is a “sacrifice of praise to God.” This truth is being denied today by many who have divided believers into two classes: the CLERGY and the LAITY. Our functioning as priests must be done according to God’s order. We learn in verse 13 that we must “go out to Him (the Lord Jesus) outside the camp.” This means we must separate from all that is not of God in Christendom, which includes separating from unbelievers (see 2nd Corinthians 6:14) and from all who are, like the sons of Eli, defiling the house of God (see 2nd Timothy 2:20-22). This defilement could be caused by not worshipping the Lord according to His Word (see John 4:23-24) or by associating with evil persons guilty of false doctrine or immorality (see 2 John 9-11 and 1st Corinthians 5:1-6, 9-13). Scripture is very clear when it says, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2nd Timothy 2:19). If a professing Christian refuses to depart from iniquity, then to be faithful to the Lord we must separate from them.  (343.3)  (DO)