1 Samuel 6–10: Ebenezer & A King

Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 12: Tuesday

Now Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. He used to go annually on circuit to Bethel and Gilgal and Mizpah, and he judged Israel in all these places. Then his return was to Ramah, for his house was there, and there he judged Israel; and he built there an altar to the LORD.
1 Samuel 7:15–17

I have always loved the hymn, Come, Thou Fount. One of the words in the second verse of the hymn refers to a verse in last Tuesday’s Bible reading of 1 Samuel 1–5, and it’s also in today’s Bible reading of 1 Samuel 6–10.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

The word is Ebenezer. In 1 Samuel 4:1, it’s named as the place Israel camped before the Philistines defeated them in battle, taking the Ark of the Covenant and killing Eli’s sons. Upon their theft of the Ark, the Lord smites the Philistines—some are killed and some have tumors break out on them. 1 Samuel 6 and 7 recount the Philistines’ return of the Ark to Israel, but as Samuel is preparing to offer sacrifices to God, the Philistines come to attack. They are, however, routed when God confuses them, and then pursued and defeated by Israel.

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”

So the Philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore within the border of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even to Gath; and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. So there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.”
1 Samuel 7:12–14

A place name remembered as a terrible defeat will now be remembered as the name of a monument to God’s help and victory.1 Isn’t that wonderful?

1 Samuel 8–10, tells of Israel’s rejection of God as their king and their demand to be like other nations with a man to rule them as king. Despite Samuel’s warning that having a king will bring changes they won’t like, they persist in their desire and Saul is anointed by Samuel to be Israel’s first king.

May God bless you as you read His Word, and may He take your places of defeat and change them to monuments to His help and victory.

Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
1The NAS footnote states that Ebenezer means The stone of help.

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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