(weekly I write a five minute “doctrine talk” based on the doctrine in the passage of scripture we are studying in “People of the Promised Land 1 – Bible Study Fellowship”)
In 1 Samuel 4 the Ark was captured which was a catalyst for the death of Eli, both of his sons and one of their wives. In Chapter 5 the Philistines experienced the “heavy hand of the Lord” with afflictions of tumors and death. In Chapter 6 the Ark was returned to Israel. I’d like to focus on Chapter 7 where we see the doctrine of Repentance.
1 Samuel Chapter 7:2-6
The ark remained at Kiriath Jearim a long time—twenty years in all. Then all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord. 3 So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only.
5 Then Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah, and I will intercede with the Lord for you.” 6 When they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Now Samuel was serving as leader[a] of Israel at Mizpah.
God promised to deliver the Israelites from their enemies, the Philistines, if they would repent of their idolatry and return to Him.
We see 3 possible applications of repentance in this section of scripture:
First: There can be no repentance without the work of the Holy Spirit.
In verse 3 Samuel instructs the Israelites, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only” He gives clear instruction.
As a teacher, I give instructions all day long. The other day a couple of my high school boys were walking around the classroom. I found myself saying, “Josh, sit”, “Daniel, stay”, “Jack, look.” I felt like I was training my dog! I had to chuckle at myself as they did as well. We hear instructions all day long, as adults we know our responsibilities and what is right and wrong for the most part but do we obey. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to instruct, convict and therefore cause the repentance. The Israelites knew they should “not have any other gods before Him”. That is Judiasm 101! What Samuel was saying was not new, but they needed that reminder and the opportunity for the Holy Spirit (the Truth) to work them to repentance.
There can be no repentance without the work of the Holy Spirit.
Second: Repentance includes contrition for our sin.
In verse 6 it says they poured out water, fasted and confessed “we have sinned against the Lord”.
Do you remember when you would get in trouble for hitting your sister when your parents weren’t looking? And mom would say, “apologize to your sister”, and you would say “sorry”. You didn’t mean it. You were just trying to get out of further punishment from your parents. Well, God is smarter than your parents. Repentance includes contrition from our sin. God takes sin seriously. So much so that He knows the ultimate consequence, separation from Him, therefore He sent His son Jesus to die for our sins to pay that penalty and give us freedom in relationship with Him. Where have you said, “sorry” but didn’t actually mean it? What areas of your life have you not repented therefore not received the forgiveness that comes from the penalty Christ paid for you?
Repentance includes contrition for our sin.
Third: The process of repentance is completed through conversion from sin.
One of my greatest memories in life, is crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I had crossed many finish lines in my life but this one was special. It was 90 plus degrees that year (very unseasonably hot!) and many did not finish due to heat exhaustion. The side of the roads leading to the finish line were littered with collapsed elite runners. But I had an advantage…I was trained…running in the heat was my norm and although I struggled immensely, I finished! That 7 hour finish felt even better than faster races because of the struggle to get there.
The process of repentance is completed through conversion from sin. What race have you been running? What struggles have you preserved through and now overcome? What sins of your flesh have you left on the side of the road by the grace of God? Did you receive the prize? Our loving and forgiving Father is always ready to receive us when we turn to Him in repentance therefore, turn to him with His arms open wide, without delay and receive the victory (the bill had been paid