1 Samuel 2 also records that a man of God comes to Eli with a message from the Lord.
“Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded for my dwelling, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?” (1 Sam. 2:29)
He continues saying that the priesthood would be taken from Eli’s family and given to a faithful priest. Of course, this has been set up. It’s all part of God’s weaving of the story of the redemption of His people.
Samuel is now serving in the temple and verse 26 tells us that Samuel “continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man.”
God’s word to Eli is that Eli had honored his sons above the Lord. It was the Levitical law that any one who stole the sacrifices, as his sons had, were to be cut off from the people of Israel.
Eli had not done that. He warns his sons after they seemingly have long been doing wrong. It would even seem that Eli might have been part of the problem. The Bible does describe how heavy he is. He might have had an idol as well.
Remember, one definition of an idol is something you are willing to sin to get. They stole from God and others to satisfy their longing for meat.
Eli honored his sons over God by not carrying out God’s law. He wouldn’t have said he was honoring his sons over God. He would have said he honored the Lord. His actions deemed otherwise.
How do your actions show you honor, or don’t honor, God above all?
There is another verse about honor in this chapter. God says that He will honor those who honor Him. God does not lie. His character is unchanging. If Eli had been honoring God, God would have honored him, not taken away his position.
This is the verse that was famously handed to Eric Liddell before running the Olympic race that he didn’t train for because he refused to run the race he was qualified in because it was being held on a Sunday. It was a prophetic voice, or maybe just someone who understood the unchanging character of God. Eric won the gold, God giving him honor which Eric used to give God glory. The only thing to do with honor given us.