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Regret vs Repentance

July 3, 2023

1 Samuel 7:3
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.”

I will never do that again is a quote I feel like I have said to myself and others many times. I have heard many of my friends say the same thing. Whether one of my college friends did something crazy the night before or I just stayed up too late watching tv one night, I would tell myself I will never do that again because I was miserable afterwards. Idols are things we continue to run to even when we think we will never do it again. We go to that person, that website, that video game, that drink, that pill, that thing that we said we will never go to and when we go back, we are miserable again. Regrets turn into pain.

This very thing was happening to the Israelites. God had proved himself over and over again to be true to His word and to always do what He says he will do and they still choose to worship foreign gods. Samuel is telling them that if they are truly trying to turn back to the Lord and seek Him that they will repent and put away these other gods or idols. He said by doing this you will have victory over the enemy. 

My dad always says true repentance is turning from something and turning to God. God here is using Samuel to tell the Israelites this is what they need to do. They must turn around completely and run towards Him. Turn away from the idols. Paul puts it a little more intensely when he says “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14 ESV). Paul is very clear with his words. He does not say walk away or turn from idolatry; he literally says to flee. Dictionary.com uses this definition for flee: “run away from a place or situation of danger.”

Sometimes we think the Old Testament is irrelevant because it is ancient, or it does not apply to us but this is a very clear situation where we can apply an Old Testament principle to our lives today. Put away idols. Flee from idolatry. Put either way, it means the same thing. Ask the Lord to reveal idols in your life and turn from them so you can follow God with no distractions and serve Him with a pure heart. 

Cody R

      ’96 / ’08   Jacksonville  FL

Birth year / spiritual birth year / hometown

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