Ebenezer, and Beyond

March 30, 2019  ●  19-21

1 Sam. 7:12: then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

Ps. 124:1-2: “Had it not been for the Lord who was on our side,” let Israel now say, “Had it not been for the Lord who was on our side when men rose up against us.”

Ps. 125:1: Those who trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.

Matt. 28:20b: “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

1 Samuel 7 records the story of a battle between the army of Israel and the army of the Philistines at Mizpah. A condensed story of what led to this battle is this: the ark of the covenant, that gold-covered chest that contained the original tablets of the Ten Commandments, a golden jar of manna, and the rod of Aaron that budded in the wilderness, had been captured by the Philistines in battle. The ark of the covenant was the most holy object the Hebrews had because God resided above the lid of the ark, called the mercy seat (Ex. 25:10-22). However, God judged the Philistines for taking the ark; everywhere they took the ark God inflicted death and severe physical illness on them. In desperation, the Philistines returned the ark to the Hebrews. The ark was returned to its rightful place of worship. Samuel the prophet called the nation to repent of their sin in allowing the ark to be captured, which included them removing all the foreign objects of worship they had accumulated and recommitting themselves to the Lord (1 Sam. 7:3). In honor of what God had done, Samuel set up a memorial stone and named it Ebenezer, memorializing God’s work in their lives to that point  Israel went on to defeat the Philistines in battle and recapture all the cities the Philistines had taken in earlier battles.

“Thus far the Lord has helped us.” On Sunday, Mar. 31, 2019, Bethel Baptist Church will be able to proclaim, “Thus far the Lord has helped us” as the church celebrates 125 years, to the day, the church  was established as a church in Fayette County. 125 years of faithfulness; 125 of serving the Lord; 125 years of proclaiming the gospel; 125 years of faithful pastors, Sunday School teachers, VBS workers, missions trips; 125 years of community involvement. On Mar. 31, the members of Bethel Baptist Church will be able to proclaim, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

God’s work is far from over at Bethel Baptist Church. “Thus far the Lord has helped us; but God is not done!” If you are a Christian, if you have placed your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, then you are part of God’s church, and hopefully part of a local body of believers. God’s work will be complete the day Jesus returns, and what a great day that will be. Today, the work continues. Tomorrow the work continues. Every day God gives us is another day the work continues through those whom God has called into salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

I can look back at my life and today I can say, “Thus far the Lord has helped me.” But God is not finished with me yet. I pray you can look back at your life, your walk with the Lord and say, “Thus far the Lord has helped me,” but God is not through with you yet either. Regardless of whether you are part of the Bethel family or another local body of believers, recommit yourself to God’s work through the local church. God has saved you, filled you with His Spirit, and enabled you to serve Him to His glory in a very special way. The day to rest is the day the Lord calls us home. Serve the Lord today, and if God gives you tomorrow, serve Him tomorrow. Take a moment to proclaim your own “Ebenezer’, and then carry on with the work God has for you. It’s a great day to be a child of God!