1. WHEN YOU MAKE A PROMISE, YOU MUST BE TRUE TO YOUR WORD.
I Samuel 1:28 - "Therefore I also have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the LORD."
Hannah promised that if the LORD gave her a son, she would give him back. God did give her a son and she kept her word, though it would have certainly been difficult to turn Samuel over to the care of another at such a young age. Keeping our promises is not always easy, but if we give our word we must keep it--no matter the cost to ourselves (cf. Psa. 15:4).
2. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING INVOLVED IN RELIGION & BEING SINCERELY RELIGIOUS.
I Samuel 2:12-17 - "Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the LORD. And the priests' custom with the people was that when any man offered a sacrifice, the priest's servant would come with a three-pronged fleshhook in his hand while the meat was boiling. Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; and the priest would take for himself all that the fleshhook brought up. So they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. Also, before they burned the fat, the priest's servant would come and say to the man who sacrificed, 'Give meat for roasting to the priest, for he will not take boiled meat from you, but raw.' And if the man said to him, 'They should really burn the fat first; then you may take as much as your heart desires,' he would then answer him, 'No, but you must give it now; and if not, I will take it by force.' Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for men abhorred the offering of the LORD."There are many examples of hypocrisy in religious leaders today, and it was no different in the past. Being involved in religion doesn't make one right with God--even if one has great power and influence. One who is truly religious (i.e., he fears the Lord and works righteousness; cf. Acts 10:34,35) is accepted by Him. The real tragedy in religious leaders like Eli's sons is that they not only destroy themselves but they kill the desire of others to walk properly with God.
3. REBUKE IS A FORM OF DISCIPLINE, BUT SOMETIMES MORE IS REQUIRED.
I Samuel 2:22-25 - "Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. So he said to them, 'Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD's people transgress. If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?' Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the LORD desired to kill them."God declared in I Samuel 3:13 - "For I have told [Eli] that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them."
4. TO HONOR FAMILY MORE THAN GOD IS A SERIOUS TRANSGRESSION.
God asked Eli in I Samuel 2:29 - "Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?"
Eli knew his sons were involved in wickedness, but he honored his sons more than God by choosing to essentially ignore their immorality (cf. Luke 14:26). It is tragic that an otherwise godly man like Eli would allow his family to destroy him.