Eli’s sons, who served as priests with their father in the tent of meeting, were wicked men. They slept with the women who served at the entrance of the tent and treated the Lord’s offerings with contempt (1 Sam. 2:12-26). Interspersed throughout the description of their actions and Eli’s attempts to correct them are three references to the boy, Samuel. Even as the men made a mockery of peoples’ offerings, Samuel ministered before the Lord (1 Sam. 2:18). Eli’s sons refused to listen to their father’s rebuke, but “Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with men” (1 Sam. 2:26). Samuel managed to stay pure even in the midst of great evil. The story doesn’t give many details as to how this was possible. However, we do know that Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord (1 Sam. 2:21). The implication: It’s pretty hard to sin when we’re close to God.
relationship with God
I love the analogy of the vine and branches in John 15. I'm an outdoors kind of guy and can readily picture what John is trying to communicate. It really is a picture of intimacy and connectedness. As a Christian leader, I want to be productive and bear fruit for the Lord. In the past, I had tended to view this passage as a call to simply be with Jesus - to spend time with him as I do in my human relationships. Yet, abiding in Jesus is more than being with him. As we read in verse 10, it requires obedience. "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love." The way to intimacy with Jesus is through obedience. As we lovingly obey him, we will draw close to him and bear much fruit.