As I have been reading through 1 Samuel a few things have caught my attention. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed this before but we are told that both Eli’s (1 Samuel 2:12) and Samuel’s sons (1 Samuel 8:1-3) did not walk in the way of the LORD. We are told that Eli did not “restrain them” even though they were openly rebellious. We are not told this about Samuel however. There seem to be two lessons to be learned here. First, if believers will not reprove and discipline their children they should not expect them to grow up to walk in the ways of the LORD. The second lesson that can be gleaned is that God must have mercy on whom He will have mercy. I find it hard to believe that Samuel did not reprove and restrain his sons. Their sin was not as openly rebellious as that of Eli’s. Eli’s sons lay with woman at the door of the Temple and made those bringing sacrifices to give them raw meat to eat which was not lawful for anyone to do. Samuel’s sons, we are told, took bribes and perverted justice. This is in no way less offensive but it is something that is perhaps more easily hidden than actually laying with woman at the Temple doors. I also find it hard to believe that Samuel would not have rebuked his sons when his entire ministry was one of calling Israel to repent and return to the LORD. The lesson then would be that God never promises to save every child of every believer-no matter how faithful they may be. This should drive us to our knees to pray to the God of our salvation to give our children new hearts and to teach them to walk in His ways. May God do so for all who call upon Him, and may we remember that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. And may God give us grace to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the LORD.