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Eli participated in his sons' godless behavior. We know this because Eli got fat on the food his boys had stolen from the altar (1 Samuel 3:19–21).

As for Samuel, the boy who heard God's voice, the closing words of this episode tell us that the sleepy, spiritual indifference that had lulled Israel into complacency was about to come to a screeching halt. A man of action was on the scene, and Israel's spiritual drift was about to end. Even as a little boy, he not only heard the Lord, but he obeyed His voice.

As you ponder all of this, especially as you evaluate the condition of your family, remember that hearing the truth isn't enough. Action is the ticket. Only on the rarest occasions does the Lord bless someone for merely listening to Him. Faith is an action. That means His blessings lie on the other side of obedience. According to Scripture, knowledge alone puffs up, but with action comes humility (1 Corinthians 8:1). Besides, problems like those of Eli do not solve themselves. They multiply and intensify with the slow and silent passing of time. A pastor’s home is not immune to any of this.

If you have reached the conclusion that your family is in danger, choose to do something rather than nothing. Refuse to be like Eli. In the end, after achieving public success in ministry, God considered Eli a failure at home . . . and judged him for it.

 Don't go there.

—Chuck

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