1 Samuel 7: Lessons on True Repentance From Samuel’s Advice to Israel

Introduction: Jesus’ ministry began with a call to repentance. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 3:2). But repentance has fallen out of favor as the modern Church aspires to be seeker friendly. The serious believer should, however, both know what the term repentance means and try to follow it as Jesus wanted. In 1 Samuel 6, God revealed the outward signs of a false repentance. A false repentance seeks to end the punishment without changing the behavior that led to the punishment. By contrast, real repentance is manifested by a desire to change one’s behavior and sin no more. Here, from Samuel’s Spirit-led leadership in delivering the Jews from the Philistines, God reveals seven lessons on the signs of true repentance.

First, after the Jews recovered the ark (which housed God’s Word), they treated it as holy and hid it in a priest’s house to protect it. From this, God reveals that true repentance begins by submitting to His Word and hiding it in your heart to protect you from sin. Second, after hiding the ark, the Jews lamented that God’s Shekinah Glory had departed from Israel. From this, God reveals that true repentance expresses sorrow at the lost fellowship with God that is caused by sin. This is different from merely expressing sorrow at being caught in a sin. Third, having suffered under their sins, the Jews finally heeded Samuel’s call to remove their foreign idols and return back with all their hearts to Yahweh. From this, God reveals that true repentance obeys God’s call to turn from evil back to Him alone. Fourth, to be restored, Samuel prayed for the people. The Jews then poured out water, fasted, and confessed their sins before God. From this, God reveals that true repentance should include prayer, fasting, and the confession of sin. Fifth, when their enemy came to attack them, the Jews placed their faith in God. Their intercessor Samuel then made a blood sacrifice to atone for the Jews sins. From this, God reveals that true repentance places faith in the forgiveness offered through your intercessor Jesus. Sixth, after God delivered the Jews, Samuel led them in celebration and a remembrance of what God had done. From this, God reveals that true repentance celebrates and remembers Christ’s deliverance. Finally, instead of returning to their sins, the Jews walked in fellowship with God as they submitted to His correction through His prophet Samuel. From this, God reveals that true repentance uses God’s deliverance to walk in holy fellowship with Him.

1. True Repentance Begins By Submitting Your Heart to God’s Word. 1 Sam. 7:1-2(a).

  • Eleazar is consecrated to protect the ark. After the Jews suffered from God’s judgment for exposing the ark and publicly examining its contents, they treated it as holy and consecrated a priest named Eleazar in the house of Abinadab to protect it. “And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took the ark of the Lord and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the Lord. From the day that the ark remained at Kiriath-jearim, the time was long, for it was twenty years;” (1 Sam. 7:1-2(a)). The ark remained in a private house at Kiriath-jearim without a Tabernacle for many years until David brought it to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:1-23).

  • Submit to God’s Word and Hide His Word in your heart. During this time, the people submitted to God’s Word through Samuel. God most likely directed Samuel to hide the ark (which housed His Word (Ex. 40:3)) in a private house instead of rebuilding the Tabernacle. He may have done this because the Jews had previously turned the ark into an idol (1 Sam. 4:3-11). Under Samuel’s Spirit-led leadership, the Jews would soon win great battles without the ark. It was their faith in God, not the ark, that mattered. This further would not be the last time that God would hide the ark in a hidden place. As Matthew Henry explains: “It is no new thing for God’s ark to be in a private house. Christ and his apostles preached from house to house, when they could not have public places. Twenty years passed before the house of Israel cared for the want of the ark. During this time the prophet Samuel labored to revive true religion.” (Matthew Henry on 1 Sam. 7).1 After Jesus ascended into heaven, He hid His Word in your heart with the Holy Spirit: “being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Cor. 3:3). When you submit and hide His Word in your heart by memorizing the Word, He will protect you from sin: “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” (Ps. 119:11). “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.” (Ps. 40:8). “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Prov. 3:3). Like Eleazar, have you consecrated yourself and hidden His Word in your heart?

2. True Repentance Expresses Sorrow at the Loss of God’s Fellowship. 1 Sam. 7:1-2(a).

  • The nation mourns the loss of God’s glory in Israel. After hiding the ark, the Jews lamented that God’s Shekinah Glory had departed from Israel: “ . . . and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.” (1 Sam. 7:2(b)). As one commentator notes: “They had good reason to lament. Their cities were in ruins, their armies were defeated, and they were under Philistine domination, all because they were not right with God.” (David Guzik on 1 Sam. 7).2 They also had other reasons to be sorrowful. This means that for many years sacrifices could not be offered in the prescribed manner.

  • Mourn for God’s lost fellowship when you sin. Most sinners regret the consequences of their sin when they are caught. But few regret the broken fellowship (not salvation) that comes from intentional sins. Even after His Shekinah Glory left the ark, God never left or forsook Israel. “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Dt. 31:6). This promise also applies to any believer in Christ (Heb. 13:5). But sin can break your fellowship with Him. In the Old Testament, God warned that He would not hear the prayers of sinners: “So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.” (Is. 1:15). “And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken falsehood, your tongue mutters wickedness.” (Is. 59:2-3(b)). “We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but He does listen to anyone who worships Him and does His will.” (Jo. 9:31; Prov. 15:29; 8:9; Ps. 66:18). In the New Testament, He warns that sin can “hinder” a believer’s prayers (1 Pet. 3:7). Believers are called upon to take communion on a regular basis to repent and cleanse their sins (1 Cor. 11:25). If you mourn the loss of God’s fellowship when you intentionally sin, will you repent?

  • Mourn for society’s broken fellowship with God. God’s Shekinah Glory left Israel because of their sins and their refusal to repent (1 Sam. 4:21-22). For the same reason, Jesus wept for Jerusalem: “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it,” (Lk. 19:41). If you mourn your country’s sins, will you pray and fast for it?

3. True Repentance Obeys God’s Call to Turn From Evil Back to Him Alone. 1 Sam. 7:3-4.

  • The Jews obey Samuel’s call to turn from their idolatry back to God. Having suffered under their sins, the Jews finally heeded Samuel’s call to remove their foreign idols and return back with all their hearts to Yahweh: “Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, ‘If you return to the Lord with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.’ So the sons of Israel removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth and served the Lord alone.” (1 Sam. 7:3-4). Throughout most of the time period of the judges, the Jews forsook God and served idols. “So they forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtaroth.” (Jdgs. 2:13). As a result, they suffered for decades of sin and oppression. Their repentance was long overdue.

Samuel called upon the Jews to repent and return to God3

  • If you repent of your idols and turn back to God, He will deliver you. Throughout their history, the Jews frequently became yoked into the sins of idolatry and bondage. After suffering under their sins, they at times removed their idols and turned back to God. For example, after Jacob’s family sinned and killed the men of Shechem, Jacob told his family to repent and put away their idols. “So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments;”’ (Gen. 35:2). Centuries later, the Jews feared a different Philistine army after they sinned. Like Jacob, Joshua told the Jews to destroy their idols: “Now therefore, put away the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.” (Josh. 24:23). Centuries later, Josiah also purged their idols when they became part of the Jews’ worship: “Moreover, Josiah removed the mediums and the spiritists and the teraphim and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might confirm the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.” (2 Kgs. 23:24). Today, our idols are most frequently addictions to the things of the flesh. God makes the same offer of protection to you. If you will repent of your idols and turn to Him, He will deliver you. But you must first remove any idols in your life: “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matt. 5:30; Mk. 9:43). Have you purged the idols in your life?

  • If a nation repents and turns back to God, He will also deliver it. God makes this same offer to any nation trapped in the idols of the flesh: “and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chr. 7:14). It is the role of the Church to pray and be His salt and light in leading the nation to repent. Is your church fasting and praying for the nations to repent?

  • A nation has not truly repented if it still has two masters. In addition to removing their idols, God commanded the Jews to “serve Him alone;” (1 Sam. 7:3). This meant that they could not hold onto any divided allegiance in their hearts. Joshua previously told the Jews that they had to decide who they would serve: “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Josh. 24:15). Centuries later, Elijah also told the Jews that they also had to choose who they would serve: “Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people did not answer him a word.” (1 Kgs. 18:21). Jesus later told His believers that they needed to also choose who they would serve because they could not have two masters: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matt. 6:24; Lk. 16:13). Is there any area where your allegiance between God and the things of the world is divided?

4. True Repentance Should Include Prayer, Fasting, and Confession. 1 Sam. 7:5-6.

  • Samuel prays as an intercessor, and the Jews fast and confess their sins. To be restored, Samuel prayed for the people. The Jews then poured out water, fasted, and confessed their sins before God: “Then Samuel said, ‘Gather all Israel to Mizpah and I will pray to the Lord for you.’ They gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day and said there, ‘We have sinned against the Lord.’ And Samuel judged the sons of Israel at Mizpah.” (1 Sam. 7:5-6). The Jews gathered at a place called Mizpah. The place symbolized a departure from sin. There, Jacob parted from Laban and (for a brief time) his sinful ways (Gen. 31:49). Each step in their process applies in different ways for a believer seeking to be restored today.

Like Samuel, pray as an intercessor for the nation4

Samuel convicted the Jews, and they repented5

  • Pray as an intercessor for your nation. Like Samuel, Moses also prayed as an intercessor for the nation, and God responded: “I prayed to the LORD and said, ‘O Lord GOD, do not destroy Your people, even Your inheritance, whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.”’ (Dt. 9:26). “Moses and Aaron were among His priests, and Samuel was among those who called on His name; they called upon the LORD and He answered them.” (Ps. 99:6). God also wants you to pray as an intercessor. When was the last time you gathered with your Church to pray for the nation to repent of its sins and to be restored?

  • Confess your sins. During an earlier part of the time period of the judges, God allowed the Philistines to subjugate the Jews. Just as they did under Samuel, they confessed their sins to be restored in their walk: “Then the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying, ‘We have sinned against You, for indeed, we have forsaken our God and served the Baals.”’ (Jdgs. 10:10). This also would not be the last time that they would confess their sins. They would again forget God and fall back into bondage after Samuel helped to free them: “They cried out to the LORD and said, ‘We have sinned because we have forsaken the LORD and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth; but now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve You.”’ (1 Sam. 12:10). David later publicly confessed his sins: “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.”’ (2 Sam. 12:13). Solomon later included a public confession of sin when he built a Temple for the ark: “if they take thought in the land where they are taken captive, and repent and make supplication to You in the land of their captivity, saying, ‘We have sinned, we have committed iniquity and have acted wickedly’;” (2 Chron. 6:37). The confession of sins is something that believers are still urged to do today: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (Jam. 5:16). Have you confessed your sins? When was the last time your Church did so collectively?

  • Wash in the Word to expose your hidden sins. The Jews allowed God to purify them as they “drew water and poured it out before the Lord.” (1 Sam. 7:6). They, in effect, poured out their hearts to be cleansed by God. “Arise, cry aloud in the night at the beginning of the night watches; pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord; lift up your hands to Him for the life of your little ones who are faint because of hunger at the head of every street.” (Lam. 2:19). Believers today allow God to wash their hearts by reading the Word. This allows the Holy Spirit to expose any sins: “so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word . . .” (Eph. 5:26). Once the Spirit reveals to you, you must then repent of your sins: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). Are you reading the Word to cleanse your sins?

  • Purifying yourself also includes inviting the Spirit to renew your mind. God’s call for His people to “consecrate” themselves by being holy is repeated throughout the Bible: ‘“For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.”’ (Lev. 11:44). ‘“Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.”’ (Lev. 19:2). “You are to be my holy people.” (Ex. 22:31). These instructions also apply to Christians: “for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Pet. 1:16). “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Cor. 7:1). “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48). “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (Jam. 4:17). God will not withhold any good thing when you walk with Him (Ps. 84:11). If you trust Him, let the Holy Spirit consecrate and renew your mind each day: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Ro. 12:2). Does your daily walk include a request for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind and your thoughts?

5. True Repentance Places Faith in the Forgiveness Offered through Jesus. 1 Sam. 7:7-11.

  • The Jews placed their faith in Yahweh and their intercessor’s blood atonement. When their enemy came to attack them, the Jews placed their faith in God. Their intercessor Samuel then made a blood sacrifice to atone for the Jews’ sins: “Now when the Philistines heard that the sons of Israel had gathered to Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the sons of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. Then the sons of Israel said to Samuel, ‘Do not cease to cry to the Lord our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.’ Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it for a whole burnt offering to the Lord; and Samuel cried to the Lord for Israel and the Lord answered him. 10 Now Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, and the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that they were routed before Israel. 11 The men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and struck them down as far as below Beth-car.” (1 Sam. 7:7-11). Mizpah was not only a place that symbolized the departure from sin, it was also an elevated area where the Jews gathered to defend themselves. The Philistines had become arrogant based upon their prior victory of the Jews. For the same reason, many of the Jews were filled with fear. The Philistines likely had spies and assumed that the Jews were weakened from their fasting. Yet, in their weakness, God’s strength was perfected (2 Cor. 12:9-11). Instead of running, they put their faith and trust in God. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5).

God used thunder to confuse the Philistines and allow the Jews to defeat them6

  • Put your trust in the blood of the Lamb. Samuel made an offering from a lamb’s blood. Today, our faith offering is the blood of the Lamb, Jesus (Jo. 1:29). If you believe that some offering of your own is needed, you undermine what Jesus did at the cross.

  • Cling to Jesus and He will bless you with protection. When Jacob repented and turned back to God, God placed a “great terror” over the Hivite cities that surrounded him in Shechem (Gen. 35:5-8). When you are faithful and obedient, God also promises to cause your enemies to fear you. After God crushed the Egyptians at the Red Sea, Moses celebrated how God’s: “Terror and dread fall upon them . . ..” (Ex. 15:16(a)). As the Jews journeyed to the Promised Land, God repeatedly promised to deliver the Jews through a “terror” that He would place upon their enemies: “I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.” (Ex. 23:27). “The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.” (Dt. 28:7; 2:25; Lev. 26:7-8; Nu. 10:9, 35; Isa. 54:17). When the Jews invaded the Promised Land in faith, God also caused the enemy to become confused and defeated. “And the LORD confounded them before Israel, and He slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.” (Josh. 10:10). Joshua also promised the Jews that those who cling to God would see their enemies flee (Josh. 23:10). For those who are obedient and take refuge in Him, He promises to be a shield against the enemy’s fiery darts: “He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” (Prov. 30:5(b); 2 Sam. 22:31). He used Gideon’s small army of 300 soldiers to kill 120,000 enemy Midianites (Jdgs. 7:16-22; 8:10). With His help, Jonathon killed 20 enemy soldiers (1 Sam. 14:14). Likewise, it was He who allowed David to kill Goliath (1 Sam. 17:50-58). Are you clinging to Jesus when you need protection?

  • God will rescue you when you call upon Him in your time of trouble. Like Jacob, God will also rescue you when you call to Him in faith: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” (Ps. 50:15). “Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.” (Ja. 5:13). “But as for me, I would seek God, and I would place my cause before God;” (Job 5:8). “In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears.” (Ps. 18:6). “Rescue me and deliver me out of the hand of aliens, whose mouth speaks deceit and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.” (Ps. 144:11.) These protections are also available to you as well. If you are trapped in despair, fear, or addiction, have you called upon Him in faith to help you?

6. True Repentance Celebrates and Remembers Christ’s Deliverance. 1 Sam. 7:12-14.

  • The Jews celebrate and remember God’s deliverance and live in peace. After God delivered the Jews, Samuel led them in a celebration and a remembrance of what God had done: “12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’ 13 So the Philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore within the border of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14 The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even to Gath; and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. So there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.” (1 Sam. 7:12-14). With God guiding him, Samuel was more effective than any general. Moreover, his victory brought the Jews peace.

Give thanks for God’s faithfulness7

  • God uses the humble to deliver His people. People often imagine having super powers to save people. But God provides a contrast in the Bible to show who is more effective at delivering people, a person with super powers or a humble person who gives the battle to God: “Compare Samuel - a humble, spiritually minded judge - to Samson, who was a compromising, carnal judge. Samuel seemed so much weaker, and Samson seemed so much stronger, but who was more effective in leading Israel into victory over their enemies?” (Robert L. (Bob) Deffinbaugh 5. The Hands of Dagon and the Hand of God (1 Samuel 5:1-7:17)).8 If you feel meek, rejoice that God’s power is perfected in your meekness. “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Cor. 12:9).

  • Even when you lose, don’t assume that God has abandoned you. As part of his celebration, Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen. He then called the stone “Ebenezer,” which means, “stone or rock of my help.” He then said “‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” (1 Sam. 7:12). Samuel’s point was in reminding the Jews that God was responsible for their victory. Yet, Ebenezar was also the name of a place where the Jews previously fought and lost to the Philistines: “Thus the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out to meet the Philistines in battle and camped beside Ebenezer while the Philistines camped in Aphek.” (1 Sam. 4:1). After defeating the Jews, the Philistines took the ark from this place: “Now the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod.” (1 Sam. 5:1). Thus, Samuel wanted the Jews to celebrate God’s deliverance at all times. This includes both defeat and victory. Will you sing God’s praises even when all seems to be going wrong in your life?

  • The importance of praise and gratitude in avoiding sin. If you have backslidden like the Jews did, having gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice for you on the cross is an important way to keep yourself free from returning to your sin. If you don’t care about His sacrifice or if you don’t internalize the price He paid for you, you are more likely to backslide again. One way to remain grateful is to constantly thank Jesus for His sacrifice: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15). As an example to follow, David regularly thanked God through songs of praise (e.g., Ps. 18:49; 26:7; 30:4, 12; 50:14; 69:30; 75:1; 79:13; 92:1; 95:2; 97:12; 100:4; 106:1; 107:1, 8; 116:17; 118:1, 119:62; 140:13; 147:7). Another way to be thankful is to offer your life as a living sacrifice of gratitude: “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men” (1 Cor. 7:23). “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Ro. 12:1-2). Do you sing songs of gratitude? Is your life a living sacrifice of gratitude?

7. True Repentance Uses God’s Deliverance to Walk in Holy Fellowship. 1 Sam. 7:15-17.

  • Guided by God’s prophet, the Jews walked in fellowship with God. Instead of returning to their sins, the Jews walked in fellowship with God as they submitted to His correction through His prophet Samuel: “15 Now Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 He used to go annually on circuit to Bethel and Gilgal and Mizpah, and he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then his return was to Ramah, for his house was there, and there he judged Israel; and he built there an altar to the Lord.” (1 Sam. 7:15-17). Here, the term “judged” means that the Jews submitted to His correction the same way sheep submit to a shepherd’s rod. In the past, the Jews returned to their sins just after a judge delivered them. “16 Then the Lord raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside quickly from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the Lord; they did not do as their fathers.” (2 Jdgs. 16-17). By submitting to his correction, Samuel kept the Jews on a walk of holy fellowship with God.

  • Use your deliverance to walk in God’s holy fellowship. The highest use of freedom is to walk in God’s holy fellowship. When their relationship with God was proper, “Abraham and Isaac walked with God.” (Gen. 48:15). Both Enoch and Noah also “walked with God.” (Gen. 5:22, 24; 6:9). Before his fall, Adam also walked with God. This suggested not just piety, but also fellowship. Sin broke the fellowship between God and mankind. Yet, through Jesus’ blood, you too can “walk” with Him in fellowship (Dt. 5:33; 8:6). When you sin, you don’t lose your salvation. But you can fall out of fellowship.

  • Jesus also wants you to desire His fellowship. Like the Jews, you too are called to seek fellowship with Jesus: “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9). Jesus also offered to believers that they could enjoy spiritual intimacy with Him, symbolized by dining together with Him: ‘“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”’ (Rev. 3:20). He offered this so that you could find both fellowship and peace through Him (Jo. 16:33). Without His fellowship, your peace will be only temporary and easily broken (Eph. 2:13-15; Ro. 5:1). When you are in fellowship with Him, He offers the “peace that surpasses all understanding.” (Phil. 4:7). Sadly, many believers have been led to believe that being saved is the end all be all of being a Christian. But it is only the first step in a person’s walk with Jesus. If you want fellowship with Him, you must accept His knock on the door of your heart. Are you using your freedom to seek Jesus’ fellowship?