1 Samuel 2:12 – Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the Lord
This is quite a difficult statement to be made of a man’s sons. These boys were not just average citizens though, the sons of Eli (Hophni and Phinehas) were priests of the Lord. They likely got their position due to their father’s influence, but they “did not know the Lord.” That may seem unusual to think a church leader would not know God, but believe me, it happens. As an example, Martin Luther (1483-1546) admitted that he was not a true Christian during seminary, or when he started pastoring his church, or when he instigated the protestant reformation against the Catholic Church. There is a prevalent error made in many religions. When a person learns a certain amount of religious vocabulary and conforms to a pious-enough lifestyle, others believe him to be a genuine follower of their religion. You have met these people in your church or at your school. They claim to follow God, and they can talk the talk and even walk the walk, but when pressure comes, they quickly turn on God. Many of these people never amount to much in the church, but a few have slipped by unnoticed and been given a pulpit to preach from and a congregation to lead. Sure, some got them through family connections, like Eli’s sons, but others have graduated from seminary and won over a pastoral search committee. Remember, there is a big difference between knowing about God and knowing God. Those who only know about Him have learned the vocabulary and lifestyle only, but those who truly know Him bear the fruits of the spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). The latter is pleasing to God, and the former is “worthless” to Him. Stay close to Him, and do not worry about what anyone else thinks. The Creator of the universe is the only person you EVER need to impress. All others can worship with Hophni and Phinehas.