Summary: Revive us again - what will it take to revive God’s people today?
A. This is one of the greatest chapters in the Bible
1. God’s people needed a revival.
2. The Ark of the Covenant had returned to Israel, but Israel had not returned to God
3. It was time for Samuel to call then to repentance.
4. They were to put away their foreign gods, meet at Mizpah to renew their allegiance to God.
B. Just as God’s People needed revival then - so NOW!
1. It is time again to meet at Mizpeh and rededicate ourselves to God
2. It is time to put away our idols and false gods, and return to the One true God of the Bible. Psa.85:6 “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”
3. It is time to clean up, look up and set up as they did here.
I. PRAYERS ARE NOT ALWAYS ANSWERED IMMEDIATELY
A. Israel had prayed for 20 years for the ark to be brought home
1. The Philistines had captured it during an earlier battle - I Sam.4:22
2. The Glory had departed from Israel - because of the sin of Eli’s sons
3. Eli refused to discipline his sons, and the whole nation was defeated
4. As go the homes, so goes the nation. The importance of a Godly Home!
B. God cannot and will not answer prayers when there is sin in the camp
1.Isa 59:1-2“ Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you & your God, & your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” cf. Psa.66:18
2. Our prayers will be hindered until we are ready to repent
II. HALF-HEARTED REPENTANCE NEVER WORKS!
A. Samuel wanted to make sure the Israelites turned to God with all their hearts.
1. "If you return to the Lord with all your hearts" v.3
2. They were not only to turn to God but turn away from evil too.
3. They needed a complete change of life and behavior.
B. Real repentance happens when we deal with our divided hearts
1. We cannot serve God and mamon - Matt.6:24
2. We cannot serve two masters - we must decide whom we will serve
3. Then we must keep to that decision - without compromise
4. God is looking for sincere repentance not a shallow outward show II Cor.7:10
“ For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
III. PUBLIC CONFESSION UNDERLINES OUR INTENT v.6
A. Samuel poured water on the ground to indicate there was no turning back.
1. It was time to make a new start and have a new beginning.
2. Put away past failures, disappointments and sins
3. It was time to publicly admit their sin, receive forgiveness and demonstrate their firm intention to follow God wholeheartedly
B. Public confession of sin is certainly a Biblical command
1. Simon the Sorcerer after becoming a Christian was told to "Repent therefore of this your wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of
your heart may be forgiven you....Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me" Acts 8:22-24
2. When we have committed a public sin, then there should be Public confession. When it is private, take it to the Lord privately.