Year 2 Day 240
Read - 1 Samuel 7:5-6
Message - Alan Burke
For the first time in a long time the people had seen that living how they wanted wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It took them twenty years before the penny finally dropped, a whole generation had come and gone before they finally turned back to the Lord. They had finally realised the error of their way and now by their actions they were showing that they were repentant as they put their ornaments away (that’s their false God’s if you missed Monday’s devotion). Samuel then tells them in response to their repentance, to assemble at Mizpah. This was all Israel, this was all of them, everyone, young and old, men and women, nursing infants, children, the alien among them, no one was to be left behind. This was a big undertaking, this was the people as a whole turning from their sin, coming before the Lord as Samuel interceded for them, he represented them before God, he brought the people together.
When they reached Mizpah, there they poured water out, they were showing again their repentant hearts. The pouring of water may not seem that significant to us but we generally have it in plenty and this time of the year it seems like far too much. But to them water was scarce, it was extremely valuable, you defended your water supply with your life for you couldn’t live without it. To pour water out in this way especially while traveling across the vast desert, was to pour out one’s life, added to that they fasted from the food that sustained them, they were showing their repentance. Then having done this they confessed their sin. Look what were are told, how communally, the said “we have sinned against the Lord” (6).
In every way, at every stage they were showing that they were genuinely repentant, they weren’t just saying sorry, they were showing they were sorry, their actions were speaking as well as their words professing. These people weren’t going though the motions, they clearly understood that they had sinned. Notice the confession, “we have sinned against the Lord”, does this mean that for how ever many years they were following the moral law from ‘Honour your father and mother’ to ‘coveting’ but they just didn’t follow those that related to the Lord God himself (Ex 20:1-17)? Of course it doesn’t, they had sinned against their neighbour in thought, in word and in deed but in this confession we are reminded that our sin is primarily God orientated, it is rebellion against God!
Before the Lord God they are sinners, before God we are all sinners, that is why this confession isn’t “I’ve sinned against my neighbour” for sin is God orientated, it’s against the Lord. So often do is think how our sin impacts others, how we hurt others, how our sin impacts our relationships with our friends, children, spouse, collogues, because when we think primarily of sin in this way, we lose the significance of what sin is. Yes there are times, that it is right that we go and confess our sin against those whom we have sinned against, to our spouse, children, neighbour and ask for forgiveness, it doesn’t feel good going with your tail between your legs, saying forgive me, but we need to remember it is the Lord that we have offended by our sin and damaged our relationship with him. What we must do is repent, daily, turning from sin, putting the Lord God at the very centre of everything, knowing that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ receives forgiveness of sins through his name (Mk 1:15, Acts 10:43).
Q8 How doth God execute his decrees?
God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence.