So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And Eli said, “It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.” – 1 Samuel 3:18
This verse comes after great disappointment. Eli learns that God is going to “punish his house forever.” This is no slap-on-the-wrist pronouncement—it is a dire, legacy-shattering moment. Even when our lives run amok, there is often hope that our children perhaps can still overcome; this is not the case here. Eli’s house would be irreparably dismantled as a consequence for lingering sin.
Yet Eli still trusts the Lord.
I remember growing up in the age when parents could still spank their children without fear of being jailed or divorced by their kids or whatever else has come into vogue. My parents were a pretty progressive sort—especially for that region of Missouri—but even so, cross enough lines and the belts would come off. When caught red-handed in some spank-able offense I recall doing anything to get out of trouble. I would blame the dog for my putting him up on the roof or put the onus on my sister’s hair for getting all tangled up in my hand and causing me to pull it repeatedly, like a trucker’s horn. If these ploys didn’t work, and punishment was still to be had, I’d put on my thickest pair of pants (and multiple pairs of underpants beneath) in hopes of numbing the swats. And, no matter how that actual punishment was had, I’d waddle away from it hating my unjust parents—HOW COULD THEY!
And this is often how I am with God, too. I know I’ve done wrong, but when consequence comes I rail out against it as unfair or wrongheaded, or I try to deflect the blame—spread it around, you know.
Really I’m like this for any circumstance that isn’t exactly to my own making or design. In short, I’m a rotten brat stamping and pouting against the very cosmos, against God Himself.
Eli dropped the ball. He was a doting father who neglected the sins of his sons. He put his family above God and made obedience a convenient choice and nothing more. And hence, God’s consequences come. Negative circumstances beckon, and Eli nods and accepts that God is good and God is right—“Let him do what seems good to him.”
May I grow in obedience, but when I fail—as I’m so prone to do—may I have an Eli perspective and welcome whatever God has for me, for what God ordains is fair (even when the world says it is not). It is just, even when it just makes me plain mad. It is good and always will be, like it or not.