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Real Solutions

May 11th, 2011

1 Samuel 7:2-14

  • This is a story of dramatic heart change of a community – Israel decided to pursue God wholeheartedly.
  • Israel had wandered so far from God that they had lost their most sacred object – the Ark of the Covenant. It was like a symbol of the covenant between them and God – but even though they had kept the Ark, they hadn’t kept their commitment and promise.
  • Something happened in Israel – heart change and repentance back to God. This was not only unusual but it was impossible, a miracle. The human heart doesn’t choose God in and of its own accord.
  • This was a different sorrow to mere outward, religious sorrow. 2 Corinthians 7 – godly grief vs. worldly sorrow. Worldly sorrow is selfish grief – being sorry about the consequences vs. sorry about grieving God. Psalm 51 – David acknowledged he sinned against God and God alone.
  • We may not have murdered or committed adultery like David did, but our hearts are still the same. God wants an inner purity at the deepest level – our desires and the way we function deep down should line up with God – we need to rediscover the holiness and purity of God. And we need to realise this is not for misery but for our joy – it is the way to true joy.
  • Samuel exhorts Israel to turn their hearts to the Lord. We don’t turn to outward religion or rules, but direct our hearts to the love of God in repentance. Not trying to do god things or negotiate a deal but trusting in the promise of God that He will receive us by turning to Him. Not a burdensome thing.
  • God is the only one who can truly love us and make us truly happy – we come back to Him in order to return to joy and happiness. Psalm 16:11. We sin because we’re not enjoying God enough!
  • We go further than a mere feeling of sorrow & repentance – we also come under the instruction, input and help of people who are godly and wise, and get them involved. We come to God but also to God’s people – we walk in the light by being transparent with people in our life (not everyone obviously) or healing won’t truly happen. You won’t win fighting sin on your own.
  • Don’t let pride get in the way, or even a false sense of humility (i.e. not wanting to burden others).
  • Conviction of sin can fade if left alone.
  • “Sin” is not a popular term in our day and age. Don’t dress it up guilt and push it away – call it what it is and you will probably end up finding the relief you need.
  • The repentance of Israel started off so well, but then the Philistines decided to come against them. Often the steps of obedience and repentance we take lead to trouble! When you start to take God seriously, trials often come. What’s being tested is who you trust.
  • Israel got scared – but it is an improvement as at least their fear drove them to God (v.8). Who/what do you turn to in times of trouble? Where do you go for comfort? Drink, girlfriend/boyfriend, movies, food, sex?
  • Israel didn’t turn back to their idols in trouble, but God – shows true repentance. And they found peace, deliverance and victory. They found it in the place of prayer – Philippians 4:6-7.