1 Samuel 7
There are times when my children are arguing with each other and I find myself needing to intervene. It is funny because it always ends with me saying, "You need to apologize to your brother (or sister)." The next thing that happens is one of my children saying with as much contempt as they can muster in their voice, "I'M SORRY," either that or it is mumbled to the point of being inaudible. So why do I bother? Forcing an inauthentic apology doesn't do any good - they need to calm down before they can find it in themselves to produce a true apology. When we confess and repent to God, He wants authenticity as well, and He can read our hearts. Please read 1 Samuel 7.
I find it interesting that we are told in verse 2, "Then all the people turned back to the LORD." It is interesting to me because Samuel then explains that they needed to serve only God and they needed to get rid of their Baal and Ashtoreth idols. Don't we do that? We like to follow God on our terms and be able to keep the human nature we like for comfort. The problem is that God wants all of us, not part of us. We may not have a physical idol in our home; however, we can have idols in our hearts. Maybe it is security and comfort, maybe it is money, the possible idols are infinite. God wants us to serve Him with our entire heart and in complete authenticity.
We are told in verse 6 that the Israelites fasted and confessed their sins before God. It was as if they fasted to show God how sincere they were that they wanted to change and follow Him completely. Perhaps the fast was for the Israelites to remind them that God is all they need. Either way, the fast was a part of their confession of turning away from God. I know that when I've fasted in the past, I was at a place where I could work on some of my personal issues that were keeping me from growing in my relationship with God. It was there that I was able to confess and change my attitude. Proverbs 1:23 says, "Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings." God wants to share so much with us; He just wants repentance when our hearts are convicted.
Do you have any idols?