Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.’”
I Samuel 7: 12
King James Version
“Here I Raise My Ebenezer”
“Though we are false, God is faithful.”
Has there been a time in my life when, because of my headstrong living, I really deserved God’s absence but instead received His presence?
Have I thanked my Father for His loving response to me?
“They are well kept whom God keeps.”
“What more powerful consideration can be thought on to make us true to God, than the faithfulness and truth of God to us?”
Years of disregard and disobedience of their Father’s wishes put the children of Israel in a position where you would think God wouldn’t have anything to do with them. Or if He did, He would make them crawl back to Him.
But instead, we find a wonderful picture painted regarding our loving heavenly Father in 1 Samuel 7. After twenty years of ignoring God, the children of Israel asked Samuel please to pray for them, which this man of God did.
However, years of playing with heaven’s enemy, the Philistines, had consequences and
I Samuel 7: 10 tells us that while Samuel was praying, the Philistines, still thinking that God’s children were powerless, chose to attack and they “drew near to battle against Israel” (I Samuel 7: 10). Right during a revival, the enemy hit fast and hard, as often happens, even today!
But here’s the “victorious” part of this passage of Scripture. This amazing turn of events did not take place because the children of Israel had proved to God that their word was good and their behavior had improved. Instead, because our God is faithful and honors His word, we are told that while Samuel was praying and offering up a burnt offering to God, as the Philistines charged, God thundered. That’s right, our Father, “thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomforted them” (I Samuel 7: 10). As the Hebrew defines the word “discomforted,” God “destroyed” them. The last phrase in I Samuel 7: 10 says, “And they (the Philistines) were smitten before Israel.”
At this moment in time, the Israelites knew full well they weren’t responsible for this astounding victory. Only “One” person could take credit for the outcome and it was God, their Father, who not only came to their rescue, but in I Samuel 7: 13, we are informed, “the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.” (K.J.V.)
I want to point out two powerful lessons you and I should take away from this story in I Samuel 7.
First, one person, Samuel, the son of a godly mother and father, put fear into the hearts of the Philistines. During Samuel’s life of service to God, the Philistines recognized that this one person with God on his side was a majority! What a wonderful fact for us to remember in our own lives today.
And second, on the spot where such a decisive victory was brought by God, Samuel didn’t forget, during the defeat of the Philistines, to say, “Thank you,” and to give credit to God and not take credit himself. In fact, the Hebrew says that Samuel called the place, “stone of the help,” Ebenezer. Years later, David wrote about the same God, “For who is God save the Lord? Or who is a rock save our God?” (Psalm 18: 31, K.J.V.).
It’s not because of our goodness or faithfulness. It’s not because we’ve proved our word is good or that our deeds are righteous – it’s because our Father is faithful and the second we call on Him, the moment we return to the Father’s house, not only are we welcomed but we return to the protective cover of our Father’s loving arms. And this is the reason each of us has to raise an Ebenezar today – to the “stone of our help.”
“Great God, Your love has called us here as we, by love, for love were made.
Your living likeness still we bear, though marred, dishonored, disobeyed.
We come, with all our heart and mind, Your call to hear, Your love to find.”
Brian A. Wren
“Come, Thou Fount”
“Come Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me ever to adore Thee,
May I still Thy goodness prove,
While the hope of endless glory
Fills my heart with joy and love.
Here I raise my Ebenezer,
Hither by Thy help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood.
O, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind me closer still to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, - O take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above.”
18th Century Hymn
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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