This is a good word from The Old Time Gospel: He Restrained Them Not.
“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.” I Samuel 3:13
Eli was judged of God because he not only knew of his son’s corruption, but did nothing to stop it. And though their corruption was an abomination before God, Eli did not remove his son’s from the priesthood.
I tell you brethren with a broken heart that this very same judgment rests upon our Church leadership today. These are men that sit in high places of power, yet hold their tongue against the corruption that is in the priesthood.
• They that can, and do not restrain others from sin, make themselves partakers of the guilt. Those in authority will have a great deal to answer for, if the sword they bear be not a terror to evil doers. — John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes
• Those who do not restrain the sins of others, when it is in their power to do it, make themselves partakers of the guilt, and will be charged as joining in it. — Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
These high positions within the Church were ordained of God (Ephesians 4:11-12), but as with all privilege comes responsibility. Eli loved “the chiefest of all the offerings”, he loved the honor of men and their fellowship above that of God; “Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?” (I Samuel 2:29).
The great puritan John Gill wrote this,
For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever,…. That is, bring his judgments upon them, which should continue on them to their utter destruction; this, as to the substance, he said before by the man of God:
for the iniquity which he knoweth; for the iniquity of his sons, which he thoroughly informed of, and fully acquainted with by others; and somewhat of which he must have been sensible of, and seen with his own eyes, and therefore was inexcusable:
because his sons made themselves vile; mean and contemptible in the sight of men, abhorred and accursed in the sight of God, by taking the flesh of the sacrifices of the people, which did not belong to them, who came to sacrifice, and by debauching the women that came to the door of the tabernacle for religious service. It is said this clause was originally written, “because his sons made light of me”; or cursed the Lord, and is one of the eighteen places called the correction of the Scribes, who corrected it as we have it; and it may be observed, the Septuagint version is, “because his sons spake ill of God”; or cursed him; however, this they did, they preferred their lusts, and the indulging of them, to the honour and glory of God: this Eli knew:
and he restrained them not; from their evil practices; he did not make use of his authority, neither as a father, and especially not as high priest, and the judge of Israel, who ought not only to have sharply reproved them, which he did not, but to have censured or punished them, and turned them out of their office. — John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible
The damage cannot be measured by leaders who refuse to walk in their calling, though more than likely, were never called of God to leadership in the first place. Scripture calls them hirelings, and goes on to say, “Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain…” (Isaiah 56:11)
Never take God’s silence to mean His approval. Judgement is coming for the hirleing. God will have a Church without spot or wrinkle, a bride who is adorned in purity, faithfulness and truth.
God will in these last days raise up holy, humble men who have been broken in the secret place. Men who will cry aloud, who will spare not, who will lift up their voice like a trumpet, and show the people their transgression, and their sins. (Isaiah 58:1) Pray God to remove the hirelings and raise up true men of God who will boldly proclaim the truth and rid the Church of that spirit of Hophni and Phinehas.