What does the beginning of the book of Samuel have to do with the great controversy? There is no obvious threat to the created order, and there are no vast armies at the border. The attack of evil is more subtle but no less real.
Read 1 Samuel 2:12-25. How do we see the reality of good versus evil revealed in these sad verses?
“But although he [Eli] had been appointed to govern the people, he did not rule his own household. Eli was an indulgent father. Loving peace and ease, he did not exercise his authority to correct the evil habits and passions of his children. Rather than contend with them or punish them, he would submit to their will and give them their own way.”-Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 575.
In contrast to them, we see a small boy dressed as a priest (1 Sam. 2:18-19) , who, like Jesus, “grew in stature, and in favor both with the LORD and men” (1 Sam. 2:26, NKJV; Luke 2:52. This Samuel, of course, went on to become a powerful and faithful leader in Israel. “And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD” (1 Sam. 3:20, ESV) .
This does not mean, however, that everything went well. The nation faced war with the Philistines, and the two sons of Eli were killed; the Philistines captured the ark of God, and 98-year-old Eli died when he heard the news (1 Sam. 4:14-18.)
Unfortunately, Samuel was to face the same problem that Eli did: sons who didn’t follow in his footsteps of faithfulness and fidelity (1 Sam. 8:1-7.)
Samuel marked a transition point in the history of God’s people. He was the last of the judges and was a key figure in the developing great controversy. His stable influence guided the people at a critical time. It’s a pity his sons did not follow in his steps, but God is not dependent on human dynasties. As a result of their apostasy, the elders demanded a king-not the best move, as centuries of later history would reveal.
No matter our home life, good or bad, we are responsible for whom we serve in the great controversy. Whatever mistakes you may have made, why must you always remember that today, now, is never too late to make it right with the Lord? Tomorrow might be too late, but not today.