“…for the iniquity which he knows…”– 1 Samuel 3:13
The Bible says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” It would seem this is the case with the father of Hophni and Phinehas. Although a priest in a position of holy esteem, Eli no longer spoke to or heard God directly. He was the priest when the word of the Lord was rare, and there was no widespread revelation (1 Samuel 3:1). It may seem surprising to many, yet there are those still today holding preeminence in congregations who are stricken with this same plague.
Hophni and Phinehas’ legacy is desperately miserable. They were corrupt. The accusation against them was that they caused the Lord’s people to transgress. Jesus said, “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). Strong words against sin from a loving Savior that urgently need attention today! Even after all of this, it would seem the more egregious charge was “they did not know the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:12). Eli did not raise his children as prescribed by the Lord. As a result, the sins of Eli’s sons were impacting the direction of a holy nation. This was the iniquity which he knew, yet it was overlooked and disregarded.
“A scriptural view of sin,” Ryle wrote, “is one of the best antidotes to that vague, dim, misty, hazy kind of theology which is so painfully current in the present age.” If sin is to be rightfully combated, it must be accurately viewed. It must be pointed out. And, as appalling as the right view of sin may be, we are not left in despair. For if we take up the correct view of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we have the cure for the disease of sin when we put our trust in Him!
“There is a remedy revealed for man’s need, as wide and broad and deep as man’s disease. We need not be afraid to look at sin, and study its nature; origin, power, extent, and vileness, if we only look at the same time at the almighty medicine provided for us in the salvation that is in Jesus Christ.”– Ryle