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January 4, 2015 Bulletin

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

Here at this place called Ebenezer, Samuel set up a stone as a reminder to the children of Israel, this was a reminder of the Lord helping them, by defeating the Philistines, their long time enemy.

At this same site 20 years earlier the children of Israel had suffered two defeats by the hands of their enemy the Philistines. 1Sa 4:1  And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Ebenezer: and the Philistines pitched in Aphek. 1Sa 5:1  And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod. At this same place called Ebenezeer the children of Israel were not only defeated but God allowed the Ark to be taken.

But on this day it was different, the children of Israel cried out to God and he delivered them from these same Philistines in a mighty way.  So Samuel set up this stone to remind them of God’s mercy and grace in delivering them.

Many were there when Samuel raised this stone, who were at this same place 20 years earlier. They probably remembered the former defeats. They remembered the taking of the Ark and the death of the two sons of Eli.  Ebenezer was probably the place where the battle was the worst; they might have even seen remnants of the former battles.

This site which was before associated with defeat and memories of shame is now associated with victory. And this stone is erected on the very spot where so much death, despair, and defeat previously occurred.  The covenant God of Israel delivers them, and displays his divine help. How many times do we come to the same battlefield; where we have fallen because of our sin and our unbelief, where we have been so sorely tempted, only to fall again? We come almost to the point of despair.

We have been overcome by our adversary and have been defeated. The very place where you have fallen, God is able to make you stand. The very name of Eben-ezer before was associated with defeat, and death, and no good memories. But now they are reminded of God’s help for his elect, his covenant people. This stone is a thankful reminder of their God for giving them the victory. You would not think that we would need reminders but we do. Our great God never ceases to remind us of what he has done for us in His darling Son.

Ebenenzer means Hitherto has the LORD helped us. The word Hitherto means to look backward and to look forward. The stone Eben-ezer means as our Great God has helped us in the past, he will help us in the future.  As we look back over our lives we can see many examples, and many ways that our Lord has delivered us from evil, he has preserved us from our self. And kept us till this day.

Looking Forward: As we have looked backward, we look forward to our Lord Jesus Christ. If he has delivered us in the past, he will continually deliver his people. Php.1:6  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

When the children of Israel would pass by this place and  would see this stone they would remember and would tell their children how the Lord thundered with a great thunder upon the Philistines.

David Remembered his Ebenezer Psa_28:7  The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

The Apostle Paul as he stood before King Agrippa remembered his Ebenezer. Act 26:22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great,

As we go through life, let us be careful to erect our Eben-ezer stones, so when we face new battles and struggles we may be able to say with John Newton.

 

His love in time past forbids me to think

He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink;

‘Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review

Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through.’

 

Someone rightfully said, “The stone that commemorates our lives should bear no name but one, and this should be all that is read upon it: ‘Now unto Him that kept us from falling, unto Him be glory!”

Here I raise mine Ebenezer, Hither by Thy Help I’m come,

And I hope by thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at Home

—Mike Walker

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Taken from “The Attributes of God”

The Supremacy of God

The “god” of this twentieth century no more resembles the Supreme Sovereign of Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun. The “god” who is now talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday School, mentioned in much of the so-called Bible Conferences is the figment of human imagination, and invention of maudlin sentimentality. The heathen outside of the pale of Christendom form “gods’ out of wood and stone, while the millions of heathen inside Christendom manufacture a god” out of their own carnal mind. In reality, they are but atheists, for there is no other possible alternative between and absolutely supreme God, and no God at all. A “god’ whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses not title to Deity, and so far from being a fit object of worship, merits nought but contempt.

The Sovereignty of God

There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought more earnestly to contend than the doctrine of their Master over all creation — the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands — the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that Throne. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldings, no truth of which they have made such a football, as the great, stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne. They will allow Him to be in His workshop to fashion worlds and make stars. They will allow Him to be in His almonry to dispense His alms and bestow His bounties. They will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends His throne, His creatures then gnash their teeth, and we proclaim an enthroned God, and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter; then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on His throne is not the God they love. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon His throne whom we trust.

Arthur Pink