Philistines

Their Ebenezer, Our Ebenezer

Monday, January 5, 2015

“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” (1 Samuel 7:12 KJV).

Thankfully, Israel’s “Ebenezer” is our “Ebenezer” as well.

After some 20 years of pagan idol worship (verses 1,2), and at the order of Samuel the judge, priest, and prophet, “the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only” (verses 3,4). They had finally put their trust in the living and true God and renounced their dead, worthless, Canaanite idols. As Samuel promised them, JEHOVAH would now deliver them from the hands of their enemies the Philistines (just as He promised through Moses centuries before in Deuteronomy 28:1,2,7,14,15,25,49-58).

Samuel instructed all of Israel to gather and meet with him at Mizpeh (about 5 miles, or 8 kilometers, northwest of Jerusalem). There, he prayed for them to the LORD, confessing their national sin of idolatry; they then confessed their national sin, and let Samuel guide them into God’s truth (verses 5,6). The Philistines hear of Israel’s congregating in Mizpeh, and they go out to fight the Jews; Israel hears the news and grows afraid (verse 7). Israel is now wavering in their confidence in their God; they have lapsed into unbelief, forgetting His promise to help them win. The Jews beg Samuel to pray for them, that they may be delivered from the Philistines (verse 8).

Thus, Samuel offers a sucking (nursing) lamb by fire unto the LORD, and the LORD hears Samuel’s intercession for Israel (verse 9). As Samuel offers the burnt offering, the Philistines are coming closer, and JEHOVAH strikes them with a great thunder, confusing them, and Israel defeats the Philistines, never harassing Israel again during all of Samuel’s days!

Today’s Scripture states that Samuel thus set a stone between Mizpeh and Shen, and called it “Ebenezer,” from the Hebrew eben (“stone”) and ezer (“help”). That stone symbolized JEHOVAH, Israel’s “stone of help.” We are thus mindful of Paul’s words: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31b). Saints, no matter what happens in life, we have complete, total victory in Lord Jesus Christ, our “Ebenezer!”