THE LORD OUR HELP
Monday, 6 August 2018
1 Samuel 7 : 1-17
“He appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord, ……to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel: Asaph the chief, and second to him Zechariah, then……..Jeiel, with musical instruments……Asaph played loud-sounding cymbals, and …..the priests blew trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God.” -1 Chronicles 16:4-6
‘Ebenezer’- the stone of help was raised by Samuel as a memorial to the Lord who had helped them thus far in their struggles with their enemies who were constantly trying to get at the people of God. A few steps preceded the victory of which they could commemorate- that will be our point of meditation today.
The people of Israel had sinned against the Lord as a result of which their enemies were a continual vexation to them. In their desperation, they cried to the Lord for deliverance. It was then Prophet Samuel spoke to them on the Lord’s behalf: “If you return to the Lord with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” (V3).
Three things they had to do:
Remove foreign gods
Redirect their hearts to God
“They gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” (V6) The water poured out was a symbol of their hearts being poured out in repentance. Then Samuel offered a burnt offering of a lamb and interceded on behalf of Israel and the Lord answered him(V9). A thunderous demonstration of God’s mighty power through that prayer prevailed against their enemy—they were routed before Israel (V10). Then Samuel raised a memorial on the ground -a stone signifying the Lord’s help -THUS FAR THE LORD HAS HELPED US!
Looking into our lives, are we under the constant threat of the enemy in some area of life? Or is it in the face of some defeat that you are wondering what is happening? It is not to say that all difficult situations we go through are a result of sin. But when facing a constant defeat in a particular area, it is well to spend time in God’s presence, seeking Him to see if there is any misalignment of our lives with His Word; if we are not wholeheartedly seeking Him; if there are other “gods” that displaced His rightful place in our lives! If our answer is ‘Yes’ to any of these check-points, then like Israel did, we need:
A wholehearted Return- Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19)
A Turn away from idols- “…'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Repent and turn away from your idols, and stop all your detestable sins.” (Eze.14:6)
A firm Resolve to direct our hearts and lives to God- Psalm 27:8 [AMP] says, ‘When You said, “Seek My face [in prayer, require My presence as your greatest need],” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I will seek [on the authority of Your word].”’
Can we come to the Lord Jesus, confessing those areas we have fallen back on and receive cleansing by His blood that purifies us from all sin? (1 John 1:9). Let us then resolve to be fully devoted to Him and what He desires us to do. When these areas are rectified, we need only wait to see the deliverance of the Lord in the situation we feel defeated. We too will see the deliverance of the Lord and sing: “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.” (Exodus 15:6)
Then we can raise our EBENEZER and rejoice: “Thus far the Lord has helped us!”
The Promise: “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him sincerely and in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)
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