Summary: Every discipline situation is a setting for discipleship.

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Discipline That Disciples

1 Samuel 2:12-36

Rev. Brian Bill


A week ago our oldest daughter Emily graduated from college and two days ago Lydia graduated from high school. This has been an exciting and emotional time for us. Well, at least for me because I think I’ve cried more than the rest of the family combined.

During Emily’s graduation which was held at historic Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, all the professors marched in wearing their respective robes with an air of decorum. Pomp and Circumstance was played while the graduates walked to the front. A trumpet player filled the sanctuary with joyful sounds, someone led in prayer and then a speaker challenged the students. Author Gary Chapman was awarded an Honorary Doctorate and then the choir sang, “Be Thou My Vision.”

When it came time to announce the graduates, one of the Vice Presidents drew our attention to a statement in the middle of the program: “The graduating class, faculty and administration request that family and friends respect the dignity of the occasion and refrain from applause or celebration until all graduates have received their diplomas.” He explained how it’s not fair to the next student who is announced when people are yelling and cheering. He must have made his point three or four times. From all appearances, the message was loud and clear.

When the first few graduates were announced the massive room was quiet and then from the back of the auditorium applause and cheering broke out after a name was read. We all held our breath, wondering what was going to be said from the front. When correction never came, it was as if the rest of the crowd felt free to cheer wildly for their favorite grad. From then on, it was like a free-for-all, with people yelling, cheering, and making all sorts of sounds. As I sat up in the balcony I secretly judged all the rule-breaking cheerleaders but that was nothing like the thoughts I had about the administration for not providing additional correction. That all went away when Emily’s name was called and I jumped to my feet and started hollering…just kidding.

As we continue in our series called, “Hope for the Home: Learning from the Families in the Bible,” our topic today is “Discipline that Disciples.” Please turn in your Bibles to 1 Samuel 2 where we will see what happened when two rule-breaking sons were allowed to live wildly without any correction from their father. We’ll discover that passive parenting often leads to disastrous results. One of Dobson’s books is entitled, “Parenting Isn’t For Cowards.” Man, is that ever true! As I studied this week, and tried to summarize what I learned in one sentence, I wrote this down: Every discipline situation is a setting for discipleship.

Let me introduce you to a dad named Eli. He was a priest and a judge, well-respected by everyone. He had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, who also served as priests but were more profane than spiritual. Look at 1 Samuel 2:12: “Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord.” They knew about the Lord but they didn’t know Him personally. They had holy jobs but their hearts were far from Him. They went through the motions but God didn’t matter to them. When people brought animals for the offering, these brothers demanded the choicest cuts; if filet mignon wasn’t given to them, they would take it by force. On top of that, verse 22 tells us that they slept with the women who served at the Tent of Meeting.

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