Tena koutou, and greetings church family.
What a rainy wet King’s Birthday weekend we had. The sun was barely seen and the sky grey. What was a ray of sunshine, was the turnout at church on Sunday. Despite the rainclouds people came out to have fellowship and hear from the Lord. We heard many testimonies of how God’s power through the Holy Spirit had helped them and they had in turn helped others.
One passage from Samuel talks about this.
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:12)
I am sure that as you read this verse you can identify an event, or a person that has helped you in your life journey.
The context of the verse is the people of Israel’s defeat by the Philistines. Twenty years had passed and still under their force, Samuel addressed them to return to God with all their hearts and trust in Him for help and serve Him only: “and He will deliver them out of the hand of the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 7:3-4).
Israel responded by a prayer gathering in Mizpah and the Lord gave them victory over the Philistines.
Samuel in memory of the victory, set a stone between Mizpeh and Shen and “named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
As disciples of Jesus Paul reminds us that we are continually torn between our human nature controlling our mind (which leads to death), and the Spirit controlling our mind (which leads to life and peace) Romans 8:6-11.
Sometimes we can feel helpless and lonely, dissatisfied with our life’s achievements and unfulfilled potential, disappointed with our inconsistent attitude and habits in our journey with God. This is when we need to take heed of the example of the Ebenezer stone, and if we turn to God and call on Him He will help us. He will assist us, He will look after you, and He will not let you down. He will prevail over the “Philistines” of life.
Sometimes our lives feel grey and the ‘Son’ Jesus seems distant.
The good news is “Emmanuel”- God is always with us. I leave you with this Psalm of encouragement.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed… As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.