“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” 1 Samuel 7:12
Following the Ark of the Covenant’s return from the Philistines a wave of spiritual revival sweated over the nation of Israel. But it appears that many we so ignorant of God’s instructions regarding how to live and worship him that they didn’t really know how to start. The conviction was there but that was about it.
First Samuel chapter seven verses three and four tells us, “Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, ‘If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.’ So the children of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only.”
Samuel also issued a call for all of Israel to gather at Mizpah for a season of fasting and prayer before the Lord, and the people came.
But they weren’t the only ones. The Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah and they decided to to attack them there while they were worshipping. No doubt thinking that since they’d been able to defeat Israel already that they could win an even greater victory now.
When the people saw that the Philistines were about to attack they cried out to Samuel saying, “Don’t stop crying out to God that he might save us from the hand of the Philistines.”
So Samuel offered a lamb as a whole burnt offering to the Lord and cried out to God and God answered. God thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines and brought a great confusion upon them so that the men of Israel were able to drive the Philistines out of the land of Israel and reclaim all the cities and towns that the Philistines had taken from them.
Following this victory Samuel erected a stone between Mizpah and Shen and and named it Ebenezer which means, “thus far the Lord has brought us.”
The Ebenezer stone was a reminder that it was God that was leading them and fighting for them. He was giving the victories. He was their provider, sustainer and Savior.
It’s easy to forget these simple but profound truths, and in our forgetfulness we too become careless in our lives and our relationship with God. Perhaps we too need to raise up our own Ebenezer stones to remind us of all that the Lord has done to establish and sustain us.
O Father, help me to everyday remember that it is you that gives me life, and hope, and joy, and mercy. Help me to remember that without you I can do nothing, and that with you in my life all you ask me to do becomes possible.