I. Insincere Religion

A. When Things Appear To Be Right Vs. 1, 2

1. 1 Samuel 7:2 NLT Israel mourned because it seemed that the LORD had abandoned them.

2. The reason for the lamenting after God was that they were still under Philistine domination. Their cities were ruined, and their towns had been destroyed.

3. They felt that God had let them down, had abandoned them, and allowed them to be conquered. They were partially right. God did allow them to be conquered.

4. They were in a covenant of obedience/blessings & disobedience/cursing.

5. They were right in bringing back the ark of the Lord.

6. They should have taken it back to the Tabernacle, which is where it belonged.

7. They thought that having the ark in their possession indicated that their lives were right with God. They were wrong in that it didn’t affect their lives towards holiness.

8. Perhaps they thought that just b/c they had the ark back, life should be hassle free.

9. That’s like a man thinking that just because he is in church, everything should be OK in life, though he is still sinning greatly at home.

10. NOTE– For 20 years they had the ark of the Lord back in their possession, had continued on with their idolatry. They had only gone halfway in their commitment to God.

11. They had an expectation of God blessings them, but they had no heartfelt repentance.

B. The Importance Of True Repentance Vs. 3-6

1. Vs. 3, 4 with all your hearts, then-the nation of Israel was half-hearted. If we commit to God with all of our hearts, then appropriate change will follow.

2. With all your hearts…then put away. The repentance and commitment had to be inward and outward, but inward is always the first thing.

3. Israel wasn’t rejecting God they were simply adding Ashtoreth and Baal to their worship experience. They were double minded. Their hearts were duplicitous.

4. Guzik– The local gods of Baal and Ashtoreth were popular idols among the people of Israel. Baal was attractive because he was thought to be the god of weather, bringing good crops and financial success. Ashtoreth was attractive because she was thought to be the goddess of fertility, thus connected to love and sex. The local gods of Baal and Ashtoreth were popular idols among the people of Israel. Baal was attractive because he was thought to be the god of weather, bringing good crops and financial success. Ashtoreth was attractive because she was thought to be the goddess of fertility, thus connected to love and sex.

5. Guzik– Samuel didn’t ask the nation to just take the good from Ashtoreth and Baal and throw away the rest; he called them to renounce these rival gods completely. (Total repentance, not partial.)

6. Illustration: Gentlemen: Enclosed you will find a check for $150. I cheated on my income tax return last year and have not been able to sleep ever since. If I still have trouble sleeping, I will send you the rest.

7. Guzik– This showed the spiritual need Israel felt at the time. They expressed their repentance both by putting away the bad and by pursuing the good. The experience of conviction of sin proves nothing. It is our response to conviction that demonstrates repentance.

8. Sorrow without change is worthless. It’s like feeling sorry at church, but then going home and continuing on in sin.

9. For 20 years, the Israelites were in a cycle of mourning after the Lord, but never changing. Finally, they followed through, and rid themselves of their idols.

C. Confession Vs. 5, 6

1. Vs. 5, 6 A corporate repentance at Mizpah. Groups, as well as individuals, have relationships with God; this was a relationship that needed to be restored through repentance.

2. drew water and poured it out – it seems that this is somehow tied to their confession as a people. It is like a symbol of weeping before the Lord. The Jewish Targum (a sort of paraphrased translation) states “they poured out their heart in repentance, as water”.

3. “We have sinned against the Lord”– They owned their sin and they didn’t blame shift.

II. Battle Sometimes Follows Repentance Vs. 7-12

A. Satan Hates When We Repent V. 7

1. The Philistine strategy was to not allow the Israelites to join together.

2. They want to disrupt any kind of national gathering. They wanted to disrupt unity.

3. The Philistines might not have understood that Israel was repenting, but Satan surely knew. This was a spiritual victory for Israel, and a spiritual defeat for Satan.

4. Our repentance can also be interrupted. We can be set on a different course. Detours.

5. Israel’s repentance was true, but they were not spiritually healthy yet. They feared.

6. They depended on Samuel to pray for them for protection.

B. Samuel’s Intercession Vs. 8, 9

1. Samuel interceded for the nation.

2. Why did Samuel take time for a sacrifice at such a critical time?

3. Because atonement is central to the prayer for victory; we pray in light of the cross

4. It was sin that got them into trouble.

5. It would be atonement for sin that would bring them into a right relationship with God.

6. Whole burnt offering– an offering of total commitment.

7. This attitude of humble dependence upon God is far better than the purely emotional superstition of “let’s take the ark into battle with us” of chapter 4.

8. It seemed that Israel’s faith was wrongly greater with its superstition than now.

9. But timid faith in the true and living God is more powerful than the strongest faith in a lie.

C. The Enemy Attacks God’s People When They Repent Vs. 10-12

1. God grants an Israeli victory

2. God helps us thus far at a time, and His past work is a pledge of future help .

3. Ebenezer (stone of help) shows a transition from shame and defeat to victory and promise for the future. A stone to remember God’s faithfulness without presuming an easy life.

4. Vs. 13, 14 The success of Samuel as a judge over Israel .

a. He was not a military man, but just as successful as Israel’s best generals, because he had the Lord fighting for him .

5. Samuel’s service as a circuit judge .

6. He travelled the nation to settle disputes and to promote righteousness

D. Modern Day Application

1 Corinthians 5:1-8 1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus 6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.