How is your eyesight as you read this? Are you having any difficulties reading the font size here?
Eli had judged Israel for some forty years. His base was the city of Shiloh where he also functioned as a priest in the temple. Spiritually, things were dark throughout the land. Eli ,in his leadership role, contributed to the decline by not putting on the brakes and dealing with blatant and gross sin, even within his own family. Things were so dark that messages from the Lord to anyone had become a very rare thing. Most of us remember old Eli for the part he played in young Samuel’s life – especially the night he told Samuel what to say to the Lord if He called again.
When you are reading the story of Eli in 1 Samuel 1-4 do not miss the statement about Eli’s eyesight. It goes like this:
“At that time, Eli,
Whose eyesight had begin to grow dim
So that he could not see,
Was lying down in his own place..”
Eli was well on his way to being blind. Back then, ophthalmologists were as scarce as hens’ teeth. There was really no hope for the recovery of his eyesight. As dreadful as that must have been for the dear old man, far worse was his spiritual eyesight. When things start to become dark spiritually and when our vision becomes impaired in the things of God – that’s when the sirens need to scream out.
As bad as his physical vision was, Eli’s spiritual sight was of far greater concern. Even when he saw Hannah praying to the Lord in the temple, his spiritual sight was so dim he didn’t recognize what he saw. Rather than seeing a woman deeply burdened and pouring out her heart to the Lord, he accused her of being drunk. His vision and discernment was so poor he failed to recognize Godly behaviour. (1Samuel 1:12-16)
He didn’t seem to see his own sons going off the rails. Why didn’t he stop their blasphemous anti-God behaviour the moment he saw them starting to slide towards spiritual perversion and idolatry? Was he blind to his sons’ departure or had he himself allowed his own vision for the things of God to become clouded and dark?
The worst of all Christian diagnoses is the ‘deterioration and darkening of spiritual eyesight.’ When we lose our spiritual vision, there is no telling how far off-track we will go or how far we will lead our families astray. If your focus on Christ and the things of God isn’t as sharp as it was this time last year, it’s time to get down to business before your deteriorating eyesight spirals out of control.
Some of you are heading back to school or to university. Keep a close watch on the condition of your eyes. Make sure your spiritual vision isn’t clouded by new friends or darkened by an anti-God environment. Pray daily that your focus on honoring Christ will not be lost. It would be a tragedy for you to become blinded or blind-sided at this stage in your life. A life of great potential for the Lord – to be wasted. Lost. It happens every year. Christian tragedies. Be on guard.
Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.
Warmly in Christ