Eben-ever, The stone of Help
1 Samuel 7:12 “Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ever, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”
The story here is:
Israel had sinned, following strange gods. Because of this, Israel had been beaten by the Philistines, and were now in a state of fear.
Samuel then told Israel that it was their sin, which had caused this……
…..but if they would put away these idols………and “prepare their hearts unto the Lord, and serve Him only: and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 7:3)
So they put away their idols, and began to serve the Lord, only.
Samuel then gathered all Israel together to pray for them.
1 Samuel 7:6 “And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the Lord. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh.”
An Awakening Meeting was going on! They were getting things right between themselves and God, and the rest of Israel.
Then the Philistines heard of the gathering, and thought they were gathering an army…..this would be a good time to attack.
And so they came up to fight with Israel.
This caused Israel to be very afraid, and so they turned to Samuel:
1 Samuel 7:8 “And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us, that He will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.”
Because of their former sin, they were not only afraid of the Philistines,…..but they were also afraid that the Lord would not hear their cry for help.
They marshaled the men to fight the enemy, and went out.
(Aren’t we the same way. We have sinned, and then repented; our conscience is tender…we are afraid. We know the Lord has forgiven us, but….will He help us as He did before?
Hosea 6:1-2 “Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up.
After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.”
His promise is….if we will return unto the Lord…..He will heal, He will bind us up, He will revive us, He will raise us up.
Let us believe Him….and return)
Samuel then offered a lamb for a whole burnt offering, and prayed to the Lord for Israel; “and the Lord heard him”.
1 Samuel 7:10 “And as Samuel was offering the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomforted them; and they were smitten before Israel.”
As the armies came together, the Lord thundered and caused fear among the Philistine ranks. God knows how to cause His enemies to fear, for He strikes at their hearts as well as their ears.
And they were defeated, and chased out of Israel.
1 Samuel 7:12-13 “Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ever, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.
So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.”
This stone was put there to remind all who would see, that the Lord is the greatest help, in all our troubles.
“Hitherto hath the Lord helped us”.
That means He has…..but it also looks forward…
……for as He has (and He changes not Lamentations 3:22-25, Hebrews 13:5-6, 8)…
……He surely will in the future…in what is next, and next, and next, for us.
This story shows how the prayer of the righteous, is heard.
The sacrifice of the lamb as a whole burnt offering showing forth Christ; and that we are accepted in Him.
Psalm 34:17-18 “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
Israel was beaten in the first place, not by the Philistines; but by their sin.
When they repented and worshipped God again; He heard their cry for help.
And He helped.
“Hitherto hath the Lord helped us”
And when we return unto the Lord,…..He will help us.