North Anderson Baptist Church
Home: Trouble In The Family
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  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, United States
    Sunday 10:30 AM
The following illustration is taken from a sermon entitled, “Parenting Isn’t for Chickens.”
Maybe you've heard the story that is making the rounds about the chicken cannon. It seems that the United States Air Force, and the makers of commercial airlines, really do fire dead chickens at their aircraft. It's a safety issue, for aircraft do encounter birds in the air, and it's important for the windshields of aircraft to survive the collision. "Chicken cannons" are thus a convenient way to test the windshields.

According to one version of an urban legend that developed around this practice, the British once constructed a new locomotive that would pull a train faster than any before it. Since they, too, were concerned about windshield safety, they borrowed a chicken cannon, set it to approximate the maximum speed of the locomotive, loaded in the dead chicken, and fired.The bird went through the windshield, broke the engineer's chair, and made a dent in the back wall of the engine cab.

As you might imagine, the train testers were quite surprised and troubled with this result. The British asked for a review of the test, and it was done. The results? When the test was repeated, said the report, it would be best to use a chicken that wasn't frozen!

I am not really sure what this has to do with parenting and particularly with Eli’s family but I thought it was a great story!
So, what home has not had trouble of some kind or another? One thing for sure is that if a home is using the tried and true test of the Word of God there is a better chance for the family to stay intact and for the lives of the family to follow the love of Jesus. Don’t ignore the very clear instructions given in the Word of God to raise the family in the admonition of the Lord. There are no guarantees but there is going to be a better possibility that the family will be more like what God expects than not.

I was once asked by a young man, “What is the difference in that family and mine?” (Speaking of a family we were both familiar with) “Why are there so many problems and discipline troubles in that household than there are in mine?” All I could say was that the Lord was leading his home and God was the most important One in their family and that they believed the Bible and sought to live by it. The other family rarely talked of God outside of curse word or two, and only made church a ritual. Discipline was lax and lives seemed to have no direction from the Lord. Therefore there were more trials and troubles in the home that we were talking about. It made sense to him.

Living by the principles taught in the Bible does make a lot of difference. Basic morals and righteousness are seen and lived out in the lives of the family. Living in respect and honor for one’s parents and for other people, shows that following God and His principles makes sense.

Let’s look at Eli’s family.
Scoundrels (wicked)

Eli had two sons who were priests too because they were of the tribe of Levi. Their names were Hophi and Phinehas. As the scriptures starts out, they were scoundrels or they were wicked and that characteristic showed in their behavior. Priests were to receive a portion of the sacrifices of the people and that is how they lived and ate. As we read, there were certain ways to go about getting the part of the sacrifice for the priests to eat but what the sons of Eli did was wrong and according to God wicked. We see in the first part of the verses that these sons took advantage of the priest’s privilege and even threatened the people with force if they did not comply with their demands. In verse 17, “This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.” we see what God thought of their actions.
The Defiant Ones

In the next section Eli confronts his sons with their sins and wickedness but they would not listen to their father’s words. We are told here in this passage that Eli is an old man. What about when the sons were young? What kind of father was Eli and how did these boys go so wrong? Really we do not know, but we can make a real good guess. Notice these sons were wicked in the open, before the public. The people had talked about their evil behavior of how they slept with the women who were serving at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, along with their cheating and pushing their way regarding the sacrifices. What do you see wrong here?

If you have children and you tell them not to do something and they refuse to obey you, what do you do? Do you let this go on and on for a long time and then just keep on telling them what is wrong without doing something to stop the behavior? Of course not. If you want it to stop you DO something to stop the behavior! Parents have decisions to make, whether they will discipline their children with strong punishment that fits the child or just talk to them and let them do what they want to do. Have you ever heard a parent say, “I have told them not to do it but they just won’t mind me.” “They just won’t stop.” “I put them in time out and sit them in the corner but nothing seems to work.”

Here are some Scriptures that will make a difference in the family where there are disciple problems.
Let me quote what the Life Application Bible says for this verse. “It is not easy for a loving parent to discipline a child, but it is necessary. The greatest responsibility that God gives parents is the nurture and guidance of their children. Lack of discipline puts parents’ love in question because it shows a lack of concern for the character development of their children. Disciplining children averts long range disaster. Without correction, children grow up with no clear understanding of right and wrong and with little direction to their lives. Don’t be afraid to disciple your children. It is an act of love. Remember, however, that your efforts cannot make your children wise; they can only encourage your children to seek God’s wisdom above all else!”

Evidently Eli lacked good discipline of his sons when they were young and their lives got out of control and they grew up without restraint and without balance with the Lord.

Notice in this verse, the writer of Proverbs says that you will hate the child if you do not discipline them. But, he also says that the discipline is done with a “rod,” with love and it is done carefully not wildly without restraint. What is a rod? In the Hebrew rod means “shebet.” That can mean several things: “a stick for walking, writing, fighting, ruling, or punishment.” But it mostly refers to the “shepherd who are tending their flocks.”
Children do foolish things. Parents are there to help them know that there are consequences to their actions so to be able to keep them safe. Wisdom does not come automatically, it needs to be learned through many different ways, and one is through disciplining your child when he or she does a foolish thing.

I was watching a TV show the other night and the young mother says to her mom, “I am a bad parent. I just hit my child. He got away from me and ran out into the street and when I got him I was so nervous I spanked him.” Her mother said, “No, you were just being a good parent, trying to teach him a lesson before he got hurt.”
Guess what? They won’t die! Trust me. Both of my children are alive today!
Don’t be afraid to use a rod or something (like a hickory stick from the tree) on a child that is for their betterment. They will need it, it is for their good. What is the saying “The Board of Education being applied to the seat of learning.” (Or, something like that)
Again, Life Application Bible says this, “Parents of young children often weary of disciplining them. They feel like all they do is nag, scold or punish. When you’re tempted to give up and let your children do what they want, or when you wonder if you’ve ruined every chance for a loving relationship with them, remember - kind, firm correction helps them learn, and learning makes them wise. Consistent, loving discipline will ultimately teach them to discipline themselves.”

Had Eli followed any of these ideas of the Proverbs he would have been a different parent. Too bad they came after him and he never got to read them or follow them. BUT, you and I can read and we can seek God’s guidance from these scriptures and do what is best for our children and allow God to help our family deal with trouble that comes to our home and not let it get out of control. Have you ever seen a teenager that the family and the parents were even scared of them? You don’t want that; so if you have children at home use the wisdom of Proverbs to help raise your children.
One of the things I think we can call attention to is that Eli at least finally noticed what was going on, even though much too late, called the boys out and told them to stop. That was commendable. But too much time had gone by and they were far gone and God had willed that they would not survive because of their wickedness.

He is told that both his sons will die on the same day. But, God confronts Eli through a prophet who comes to Eli and says that God is disappointed in him because he honors his sons over the Lord God! It looks like Eli was getting along with his sons, all that extra meat the boys were getting from the people. He didn’t stand up and say no but he went about taking it and eating it as if nothing was wrong. Even though he was an old man and priest, he was still a priest, but he did not act like it. He allowed his sons to dishonor God and did nothing to stop them. God says something that is chilling to Eli. In verse 30 God says, “Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.” Can you see that for all the years Eli served the Lord and now toward the end of his life God says that He now disdains Eli because he chose not to honor God. How sad is that?
The Terrible End

Reading all of Chapter 4:1-22, we see the story of the end of Eli and his sons and the capture of Israel and the Ark of the Covenant. When the Israelites went out to fight the Philistines they were losing terribly and they thought that if they would bring out the Ark of the Covenant to be with them, then the power of God would be with them and they would win over their enemies. Well, they called for the Ark and who would come with the Ark but Hophni and Phinehas. During the battle the Isralites lost and on the same day both the sons of Eli were killed. Not only that but the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines. When a soldier came back to report what happened, Eli heard the news while sitting on his chair waiting for the news of the battle. When a man came to tell Eli what happened and he told him that both his boys were dead and the Ark had been captured Eli fell over in his chair and broke his neck. The Bible says that Eli was old and heavy and he was ninety-eight years old and had led Israel for forty years. God does not make empty promises. There are consequences to our actions.
I want to close with this. What if the Lord said to you, “You honor your children above me.” What could that mean? Maybe God is saying that you have placed your children in a position that you esteem them more than you do God. Instead of making God and his Kingdom a priority, you have made your children your god, so to speak. They are everything and everything revolves around them regardless of what God desires from the family. Activities and sports take priority over what the children need from God. There just isn’t enough time to do church and sports and when we get through with those things then we will do church. Remember whatever is most important to you will also rub off on your children. Have you ever known a family to quit church for other things that seemed to be really good for them and it becomes their god and their church. They are not bad things but it keeps them away from the spiritual things of this life and they have become good kids but do not have the love of God that once was there.

I challenge you as a family to put your priorities into the Biblical perspective and see what God desires for you to do. Has anything become more to you than God and His church?

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is, that God sent His only Son to die upon a cross for the sins of the world. After He died they buried Him and on the third day He arose from the dead and now lives to give eternal life to all who believe in Him and by faith trust Him with their life. Won’t you do that today?


Dear friend if you are reading this by way of the internet please know that you are loved and cared for. If you have no relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, then I invite you to trust Him by faith and receive Him as your personal Savior. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sin of everyone in the world that they may have eternal life. All of us have sinned and all are guilty before Almighty God who made us to have fellowship with Him. But sin broke that ability to have a relationship and Jesus has restored the possibility to know God personally through His sacrifice. Please know that if you will seek God and turn from your sin and pray He will respond with His love and give to you a personal relationship through your belief in His Son and the sacrifice He made just for you. He will call for a change in your life too. He wants you to follow Him, not the world, not your own desires, but to follow Jesus. That brings a life change when you turn from sin and self and by faith believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. There is no Savior without Him being Lord of your life. Your willingness to change by following Him daily in your life will be the proof of your faith. When life throws its curves your way and you have found yourself broken by others or by the world let us introduce you to the only One who can help you…Jesus! You can write or call the office and we will follow up by contacting you. Office phone number is 864-225-2575 and the website address is and the physical address is 2308 N. Main St., Anderson, SC 29621. Dear friend if you are a believer and you have been touched by the Lord and you would like to talk to someone at the church just contact us in one of the ways you see above. If you are a believer and would like to talk about the church and your interest in being a part, please call and we can set up an appointment for you and get to know you. It would be a great pleasure to share our Lord’s love with you. This is a loving church and you are important to us, so please let us know what we can do for you in the Lord.Pastor Bill Rigsby