July 1, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Jenny Ho, Gracepoint Berkeley

1 Samuel 7
“The first of these characteristic phrases is the most important Old Testament expression for repentance: ‘if you are returning to the Lord.’  To ‘return’ to the Lord implies acknowledging, confessing, and forsaking sinful behavior (cf. Jer. 3:22-4:2 for the steps of repentance), making it possible to be reinstated in a right relationship with him.  It is both a turning away from one’s sins, which have caused the separation, and a turning unto Yahweh, who can forgive and restore.  This returning is intensely personal.  It is not a mechanical or physical positioning but a relational and associative allegiance…[Such] returning to Yahweh must by definition be wholehearted…. Halfhearted returning will not do.  Most such references to the ‘heart’ in the Old Testament refer to the seat of one’s intellectual commitments rather than singularly to human emotions, as we tend to use it in modern English.”

What are some components of repentance according to this passage? All the people of Israel mourned and sought after the Lord. 3 And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, “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.

Some components of repentance according to this passage:
-all the people of Israel mourned and sought after the Lord
-there is an emotional component of grieving before God over what you did, the state of your heart and a movement TOWARDS God. sometimes I think people get down and go inward, become self-loathing and thoughts revolve around themselves instead of moving towards God and seeking God’s face.

If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts repentance is whole hearted. Why? because it has to do with a relational turning, as the commentary says. It means it’s not just about external behavior change but a change of heart and attitude. When does something require your whole heart? it’s love relationships. Love demands whole heart. Not satisfied until you know you have that person’s whole heart.

Then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only
another component of repentance is ridding yourself of the sins, the other idols that have caused you to turn away from God.  There can’t be repentance without this kind of turning away from sin and the things that grieve God. if repentance is aligning your heart with God, then  there has to be an acknowledgement that there are things grieve him. Can’t repent and not want to share in His heart and the things that he cares about. Think repentance is about coming to agreement about how God sees things – your sin, his holiness and character and how he sees the world. Genuine repentance has to involve all of these things.

Why is repentance impossible without getting rid of foreign gods, committing to the LORD and serving Him only? Then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only
repentance is impossible without getting rid of foreign gods, committing to the Lord and serving Him only – because it’s the foreign gods and sins, desires for worldly things that pull me away from God’s heart and keep me from committing wholeheartedly. Can’t have 2 masters, your heart will be pulled one way or another. Whatever you start to treasure there your heart will be also. God says give me your whole heart and your whole life. God explicitly says Love me with all your heart. it’s relationship, not duty or a job or a law to keep. Our obedience, repentance, it’s intensely personal to God.

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