Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle. Eli said to them, “I have been hearing reports from all the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning? You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the Lord’s people are not good. If someone sins against another person, God can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede?” But Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to their father, for the Lord was already planning to put them to death.
(1 Samuel 2:22-25)
Does a loving God really will or want to put people to death? Consider the situation in the Tabernacle. A person made an offering in order to have his sins forgiven, and Eli’s sons stole the offering and made a sham of the person’s repentant attitude. God, in his love for Israel, could not permit this situation to continue. He allowed Eli’s sons to die as a result of their own boastful presumption. They took the Ark into battle, thinking it would protect them. But God withdrew his protection, and the wicked sons of Eli were killed (1 Samuel 4:10-11).
Eli’s sons knew better, but they continued to disobey God deliberately by cheating, seducing, and robbing the people. So they were in deep trouble with God and suffered the consequences.
Any sin is wrong, but sin carried out deliberately and deceitfully is the worst kind. When we sin out of ignorance, we deserve punishment. But when we sin intentionally, the consequences will be more severe.
Don’t ignore God’s warnings, in this passage and elsewhere in Scripture. Obviously God takes sin seriously and will punish those who deliberately disobey him. Search your heart and talk honestly to God about your sin.