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Echo Evangelique

(590AM WEZE Boston)
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Ebenezer

“Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

Text: 1 Samuel 7:12

Key Concepts:

  • The faithful God who can be relied upon
  • As for us, we trust in the name of the Lord our God
  • We must celebrate and remember God’s faithfulness

As we come to the end of this tumultuous year, and consider that the first few months of the next year might not be any better, it is evident that different people have different ways of coping with hardship. Many find their sense of security in what others may do for them. Some find confidence in government assistance. Others take solace in their own ingenuity and abilities. Some assume that because they deem themselves to be Christians, and take part in church activities, that they can count on God’s faithfulness and goodness. They think this even though they don’t really know God. However, only the people of God – the righteous, can continually count on God’s faithfulness and goodness. Indeed, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry” (Ps. 34:15, NKJV). The world may have its own means of dealing with calamities, believers however should echo Samuel in saying, “Ebenezer, Thus far the Lord has helped us” (1 Sam. 7:12, NKJV). This is the only way for Christians to consider what the Lord has done for us both in the past, present and in the days to come.

The faithful God who can be relied upon

Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission, viewed his life, both in the past and future, by two certainties, “Ebenezer – thus far the Lord has helped us” and “Jehovah Jireh – the Lord will provide.” Based on his life experience with God, he could be confident that the God who provided for him faithfully up to that point could equally be relied upon for the future. Truly, there has never been and will never be a time when the Lord would abandon His children (Matt. 28:20).  We become confident in this truth as we walk with God. The Bible reveals that the certainty of God’s mercy and grace belongs to those who have a genuine relationship with Him. Recall young Joseph sold into slavery by his brothers and falsely imprisoned. God came to his rescue and raised him up because he remained faithful to God. In fact, the certainty of God’s goodness is made sweeter by the difficulties of life, for God will always prove Himself true. Hence, Abraham trusted God enough to offer up his only son as a sacrifice. He then discovered that God is the Jehovah Jireh, the one who makes ways for those who love Him. We can all attest to the fact that we live by His grace alone. While Abraham did not know where the sacrifice was going to come from, God showed up and delivered. God made provision to bless Abraham because he was obedient to God (Gen. 22:18). Throughout Scripture, God’s goodness and faithfulness is always a reliable source of comfort for His children. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1, ESV). That is the assurance of a child of God who’s experienced His goodness and deliverance.

As for us, we trust in the name of the Lord our God

Paul also teaches us that trusting God is always the right move for the believer, because “persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:9, ESV). Indubitably, God has been dependable from the Old to the New Testament. Although some people may want to rely on others, our dependence must rest on God alone. We can confidently echo the psalmist “Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Ps. 20:7, ESV). God is the only sure foundation for our lives. He can be trusted without fear or reserve. The Prophet Samuel experienced God’s goodness and faithfulness enough to cry “Ebenezer, thus far the Lord has helped us” (1 Sam. 7:12, NKJV). The word ‘ebenezer’ means ‘stone of help.’ Samuel used a stone as a monument to memorialize God’s faithfulness. We too should always remember to give God the credit due His name for the wonders He’s worked on our behalf; lest we take God’s goodness for granted. Christians can rest assured that their share in God is a portion of unending blessings. We can “Delight [ourselves] also in the Lord, and He shall give [us] the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4, NKJV).

We must celebrate and remember God’s faithfulness

Israel had ways of recollecting and celebrating God’s faithfulness. The nation used to erect monuments using stones to mark particular places. Evidently, these memorials allowed them to revisit both the location and the memory of God’s deeds. Jacob built an altar to God when he was fleeing his father’s home. He called the altar Bethel – house of God, because he saw God there. Joshua also built an altar to God by the Jordan River to remind the people to celebrate God’s parting of the water for them. As Christians, we have many ‘ebenezer’ moments including this year. The day God called us His own is the greatest of them all. Indeed, God has blessed us with a new birth, an eternal future and an incorruptible inheritance hidden in Him. The particular reason for Samuel’s ‘ebenezer’ referred to God’s deliverance concerning the lost and recovery of the Ark of Covenant. As Israel suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the philistines (1 Sam. 4), the people called for the Ark to assure their victory. However, a symbol, nor ritual does not a divine presence make. God cannot be contained by any earthly vessel. We may busy ourselves with activities and rituals, but unless the Lord has possession of us, we cannot count on His presence. Israel lost not just the battle on that day but also the Ark, Eli, and his family. We may want to think that God is with us but if our lives are not in order, unbeknownst to us, ichabod –His glory may instead depart for a time. Samson could also testify of this (Jges 16:20). The people mistakenly thought God was with them on that day (because of their symbols) and suffered the consequences. We cannot expect to pull God out of our pockets whenever it is convenient. Instead, He needs to be God in good and bad times.

In conclusion…

God often calls on His people to remember the past to remind us of the roads traveled. “Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth” (Ps. 105:5, NKJV). God wants us to remember where we’ve been so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past, so that we do not fall in the same traps. The fact that “thus far God has helped us” proves that there is more to come for those who love Him and who are called by His purpose. His deeds are without limits. The fact that Israel, as a nation, still stands proves God’s faithfulness, since many of her enemy nations no longer exist. Israel only lost battles when she turned her back to God and whenever the people thought that symbols, rather than the presence of God, sufficed. As children of God, we cannot be self-sufficient. Rather, our victory is in the Lord alone. “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zac. 4:6, NKJV). If we’re still alive today, if the pandemic has not done away with us all, it is by God’s grace alone. We must continue to rely on God to go from victory to victory. Israel faced defeat, great difficulties and humiliation after turning her back to God. Our God is holy, He does not tolerate sin. Before the nation could move forward, they repented and put away their idols. Then God delivered them. Indeed, we can expect deliverance only after we’ve dealt with sin in our lives. God will take care of the troubles and tribulations, when we are repentant (Jn. 16:33). In fact, “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Ex. 14:14, NKJV). Rest not on your personal connections, or on your own abilities. Focus on the Lord for your hope and deliverance and you will be able to say “Ebenezer, the Lord has helped thus far” and” Jehovah Jireh.”

More Info
575 American Legion Hwy
Roslindale, MA 02131
Phone: 617-323-3107
Fax: 617-323-3165
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Every Sunday at 10:45am