Archive for February 10th, 2008

Hitherto has the Lord Helped Us!

Isn’t Samuel a breath of fresh air after the last judge we read about? (Remember the exploits of “faithful” Samson?) He had plenty of dysfunction in his surroundings and circumstances, and yet, it is he that the Lord used to bring the nation of Israel back to Himself!

In 1 Samuel 7 we see a battle that is won, after Samuel had the children of Israel tend to their idolatry and sin issues. It seemed his first concern was a reviving of the heart whether in war or peace time. That is a good reminder to me, that I should draw near to the Lord before I go about my day or confront my struggles head on.

But there is a word in all of this chapter that ministers to me most…Ebenezer.

Not because it was at Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King, Jr. first preached his message of nonviolence.

Not because Mr. Scrooge discovered what it is to have a heart and live for others after three visits from Christmases.

But it’s because of its meaning and principal.

An old hymn by William Wilberforce’s spiritual mentor, John Newton, says it succinctly.

His love in time past forbids me to think
He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review,
Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through.

How good it is for me to argue from the faithfulness of God in the past. David was able to face Goliath as he reminded himself of God’s protection in the past (1 Samuel 17:31-37):

The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philipstine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, the Lord be with you!”

Why would I waver in doubt and fear, if I remember His kindness in leading me these past 20 years?

O Lord, here the Israelites were afraid of the Philistines, and yet with Your intervention, there was recovery! Help me to remember the wondrous works You have done, to encourage me to face the Philistines of my life today. And just like in the days of Samuel, help me to recover lost ground and to enjoy years of peace with all those around.