A Train Wreck
1 Samuel 3:11-14 (11) And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. (12) In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. (13) For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. (14) And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever. The office of the ministry under the Law was a grant by inheritance to the sons of Levi (DEU 33:8-11) and the priesthood specifically to the sons of Aaron (NUM 3:9 c/w HEB 5:4). Unlike the office of the ministry under the New Testament (1TIM 3:1-7 c/w TIT 1:5-9), character was not necessarily a requirement for gaining that office but the lack of it could certainly be a reason for losing it. God's solemn pronouncement here against Eli should especially give every parent tingling ears. Eli's sons, Hophni and Phinehas, had defiled their office by plundering Israel's offerings and Israel's women (1SAM 2:12-22) thus making men abhor the offering of the LORD (1SAM 2:17) and transgress (1SAM 2:24). God had thus given them a death sentence (1SAM 2:25; 1SAM 2:34). But the sting of death was from a hornet's nest of Eli's own making: "...his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not" (1SAM 3:13). Eli loved his boys too much. His home was a "Family Worship Center", the kind where children were honoured more than God (1SAM 2:29). King David similarly erred in the training up of some of his children. His son Absalom became a rebel who tried to steal the kingdom (2SAM 15:6), and another son named Adonijah made an illegitimate grab at the throne (1KI 1:5), because "...his father had not displeased him at any time..." (1KI 1:6). Let every God-fearing parent take these examples to heart and consider: children need restraints imposed upon them. The child left to himself will certainly bring his mother shame (PRO 29:15), also much headache, stress and ringing eardrums. Ringing eardrums are the canal to tingling ears (per our text). A minister of Jesus Christ must especially be "one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with ALL GRAVITY" (1TIM 3:4) but this does not excuse the rest of the saints from so doing, no more so than they would be excused for drunkenness or brawling (which things are also to be especially uncharacteristic of ministers, 1TIM 3:3). Parents must rule their children or they will be ruled by them---they will surely be a parent's oppressors (ISA 3:4 c/w ISA 3:12), and appropriate restraints are a vital prophylaxis against vileness. Let those who would train children in the way in which they should go (PRO 22:6) train them well by restraints and with gravity (soberness, seriousness), pondering fearfully the wreckage of Eli.