Preached at a Sunday Morning service
Samuel made four points to the house of Israel after the ark of the covenant was returned by the Philistines. The return marked the end of God’s judgment on the people for treating the ark as an idol instead of trusting in His protection of His people by His covenant promises.
1. We must be willing to admit we are wrong, confessing that we are sinners, not doing things God’s way.
2. We must remove the foreign gods from our worship and devotion. If anything in life is more important than God, it is idolatry.
3. We must direct our hearts toward the Lord. Are we thinking about God and how to serve Him? Do we believe that God is sovereign over all things? Do we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength? We need a heart of belief.
4. We must commit to serving the Lord. We must develop obedience to God to enjoy intimacy with Him. His standards are set before us.
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Hebrews 8:1–8 (Listen)
8:1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.
8 For he finds fault with them when he says:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
1 Samuel 7:1–6 (Listen)
7:1 And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the LORD and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the LORD. 2 From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.
3 And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the LORD only.
5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you.” 6 So they gathered at 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 people of Israel at Mizpah.