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June 28, 2017

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Hitherto Hath the Lord Helped Us

"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

How meaningful was this "holy moment" that Samuel initiated before Israel, when he took a stone and made a memorial to God to commemorate the goodness and grace of God. Israel once again had seen the mighty power of God intervening for them in a way that was completely beyond and apart from their capabilities. Samuel had interceded for Israel in prayer. They had learned from experience that GOD ALONE could help them. Being grieved in their hearts that they had provoked God to depart from them, "They drew water and poured it out before Him," expressing the depth of their sorrow. They fasted to get themselves in a more penitent spirit because of their transgressions. They were conscious of their own unworthiness and sin, and now bared their hearts before the God of grace.

Samuel offers a burnt offering upon the altar, accompanied by fervent prayer. He knew that prayer without a sacrifice would be of no avail; neither would a sacrifice without prayer. Samuel cried to the Lord with great humility, fervor, and faith, for God's interceding. God wonderfully answered, even before the offering of the lamb was finished. The Philistines fell easy prey to those whom they sought to destroy. Israel had to acknowledge that THIS WAS OF GOD. Samuel, having taken a stone as a memorial to God, called it "Ebenezer"--"hitherto hath the Lord helped us."

I wonder how often we take time to look into our lives, to realize how gracious the Lord has been to us, and to give thanks for...His saving grace that has brought us into a personal relationship with Him...His sustaining grace that empowers us to lean on the One "who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think"...His establishing grace that enables us not only to run the race but to finish the race triumphantly by His indwelling presence...and His all-sufficient grace, which meets our every need and enables us to be triumphant in all circumstances.

When we consider our temporal and spiritual blessings, we cannot but find unlimited occasions to raise grateful memorials to the Lord. We need not form inscriptions on stone or brass, but rather, we would have the mercies of God inscribed upon our hearts. One grateful praise and adoration is a more pleasing sacrifice to the Lord than the cattle on a thousand hills. "Whoso offers praise, glorifies Him." Overcome by the mercy and grace of God, David exclaims, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name." The principle end of raising a memorial to God is not merely to remind us what God has done, but also what He is ready to do now. The victories of the past should be a springboard to launch us into greater avenues of faith and trust, into larger areas of uncharted waters, that we might see His hand in the challenging encounters of our lives. Having found the Lord's mercies new every morning, we know that He will faithfully be our sufficiency in all things. "Because the Lord hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore, I will call upon Him as long as I live." From what we have received HITHERTO, we may claim by faith all that is HENCEFORTH. "Thou hast been my help; therefore, under the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice."

© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.


This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?date=2017-06-28


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