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“HITHERTO HATH THE LORD HELPED US” I Samuel 7:12

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“HITHERTO HATH THE LORD HELPED US”   I Samuel 7:12 Empty “HITHERTO HATH THE LORD HELPED US” I Samuel 7:12

Post by Rohn on Sun Aug 04, 2013 5:19 am


“HITHERTO HATH THE LORD HELPED US”
I Samuel 7:12
Read: I Samuel 7

(1 Samuel 7:12) 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.  (KJV)

I.  ISRAEL WAS IN SUBJECTION TO THE PHILISTINES.  
The Philistines had taken the Ark of the Covenant and brought it  into the house of Dagon their God.  They hadn’t reckoned with the God of Israel.  
The next morning their god Dagon had fallen on his face before the ark.  They set him back up and the next morning he was fallen upon his face again before the ark of God and his head and both the his hands were broken off.  Then God’s hand was heavy upon the Philistines and he destroyed them and smote the with emerods.

The Philistines realized that this was a curse because they had taken the sacred ark from its proper place, so they returned the ark in the house of Abinadab and set Eleazar over the worship and sacred services of God.  But the time had gone on and still Israel was under the oppression of the Philistines.  

Samuel realized that the cause of this was the life Israel was living.  The sin she was living in.  The unbelief she still held in her heart about God.  
And it wasn’t only so with Israel back then but the oppression the enemy puts us under today is caused by our unbelief and the way we live our lives in regards to God.

So Samuel called the people together and told them that their deliverance would come if they would put away their strange gods and return unto the only true God with all their hearts.  They had the ark and they held their religious services but their hearts were not in it.
Notice in verse 3 he tells them to return unto the Lord with all their hearts, prepare their hearts before the Lord, and serve Him only.
It seems that they not only served the God of Israel but they served Baalim and Ashtaroth too.

There are a lot of God’s served today besides God Almighty.  But He can’t do for us what we need done until we turn to Him and serve Him with all our hearts.  
Sometimes the god of fashion is in the way.
Sometimes the god of money.
Sometimes it is the god of self.
But whatever it is it is the god that keeps us from serving the true God with all of our heart.

Now Samuel prayed for Israel’s deliverance  and called upon them to pray and fast that the Lord would deliver out of the hand of the enemy.  It took their prayers and obedience as well as the prayers of Samuel.

As the Philistines saw that Israel was getting stronger they came up to battle  Israel to keep her in subjection.  But God undertook and the Philistines were defeated and Israel had the victory.

II.  THIS BRINGS US TO THE PLACE OF OUR TEXT:
(1 Samuel 7:12) 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.  (KJV)

1.  THAT SONG” COME THOU FOUNT OF EVERY BLESSING” IS BASED ON THIS SCRIPTURE.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above;
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I’ll 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,
Wand’ring from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my feeble heart to Thee.
Let me know Thee in Thy fullness;
Guide me by Thy mighty hand
Till, transformed, in thine own image,
In thy presence I shall stand.

Now Samuel took a stone and set it up as a landmark to remind them of victory in the Lord.  

Ebenezer means “the stone of help.”  This is the place where God gave victory.  Not only now but hitherto, even before this and after this.  
These stones should mark places in our experience where we can point out and say, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”

2.  ISRAEL HAD RECEIVED HELP EVEN WHEN SHE WASN’T FULLY SERVING THE LORD.
I don’t want to imply by this that the Lord overlooks our sin and disobedience but I do want to impress upon you that God is good to yo9u even in your sin.
Hitherto points back to what the Lord had done for Israel even before complete victory over the Philistines.

Notice in verse 1  we find the ark returned.
This wasn’t complete victory but it reminded Israel of her duty and responsibilities To God.

There are times when we are reminded of the way we are living and of our need to have real victory and serve the Lord with all our hearts.
It wasn’t until Israel had real, complete victory that she looked back and appreciated what the Lord had done for her before.  And we are that way.  It isn’t until we get right with God that we appreciate what God did for us while we were yet in our sin.

His protection, His hand on us.  The conviction of sin upon us, while at the time was not enjoyable yet God’s Spirit  in our lives, letting us know that we needed to turn to Him.   The truth He planted in our hearts even though we didn’t walk in it.  We knew what we needed to and that was serve Him with all our heart.

3.  NOW THIS WENT ON WITH ISRAEL FOR 20 YEARS.
20 years God had mercy on them.  He didn’t deliver them out of the hands of the Philistines but He spared them.  20 years they tried God.  They went to worship, but not with a true heart toward God.  They offered sacrifices but not from their heart.  I believe they even prayed, but it was just words that had no meaning.  They did not really live for and trust in God.

But as they looked back they could say, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”  Even in our sin God helped us and tried to get to us.
It is the same with us today.
He is helping us and trying to get to us, and get us to give Him our all.

4.  THEN THIS STONE WAS A MEMORIAL OF VICTORY OVER FALSE GODS.  
In verse 4 it says that they put away Baalim and Ashtaroth.  It points to a place where they realized that there was no other god to trust in except the God that delivers them.  They had tried other Gods but hadn’t found deliverance, but now they were trusting in the God of Deliverance.  They were on their way to complete victory.

The first thing we have to do to get victory is come to a place where we put complete trust in God.  Not just with our lips but from our heart.
They hadn’t given up all their sin yet but they were to the place where they could say, “God is able for us, we trust Him.”  In verse 6 they said “We have sinned against the Lord,” but before this they put away the strange gods and put their trust in the Lord.
The stone implies the place of trust first and then the place of repentance.  Without trust or faith, repentance cannot take hold.

(Hebrews 11:6) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  (KJV)

When we get to the place where we believe God in our heart like we say we do with our lips, God can show us the thing in our lives we need to take care of and we believe God and do them because  we feel God is sufficient for us.  He is able to help us.  He is able to strengthen us and support us in what we believe is His will for us.  We just keep on going forward.  The backing up comes from unbelief , lack of faith, trust in something or someone else other than God.

III.  THESE STONES ARE A GOOD PLACE FROM WHICH TO LOOK TO GOD. – TO LOOK UP.

Samuel set up the stone between Mizpeh and Shen.  To some this would have just been a barren land.  Mizpeh means watchtower and Shen means tooth.  They were two high points but Samuel didn’t set the stone up here, he set it up between them.  But it was here Israel had real victory.  It was here they defeated the Philistines.  

The enemy of our soul is defeated in the valley experience more than when we are on the mountain top.  We all like to have things go just right and be able to look way our from the mountain top and see what’s ahead,  but it is in the valley when we get help and defeat the enemy.

1.  IT WAS IN THE VALLEY THAT THE ISRAELITES ASK SAMUEL, “CEASE NOT TO CRY UNTO THE LORD OUR GOD FOR US, THAT HE WILL SAVE US OUT OF THE HAND OF THE PHILISTINES.”
I believe Samuel did pray and look to God for their help here.
He offered a sacrifice to God here and the Word says, “The Lord heard him.”
God didn’t answer their prayers the way they thought He would.  They didn’t defeat the Philistines, God did.

(1 Samuel 7:10) And as Samuel was offering up 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 discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel.  (KJV)

Israel’s place was to follow up and take advantage of the act of God and keep the victory.  
God works, but we have to keep in step with Him and claim the victory as ours.
The devil is a defeated foe but it is up to you and me to keep him defeated in our lives as God works out the victory.  
This is where Samuel set up the stone.

A place of memorial to look back and see where the victory was won.
A place to look back and see where the tobacco habit was broken.
A place to look back and see where the drink habit was broken.
A place to look back and see where we got victory over the cursing and evil talk.
A place to look back and see where God pointed or lives heavenward when they were pointed hell-bound.
The place where God showed mercy and showed us how to get right and keep right  and live right.

IV.  NOW ISRAEL HAD VICTORY HERE BUT THE PHILISTINES WERE STILL AROUND.
They were defeated but not dead yet.  This wasn’t a place to lay down arms and quit fighting.  It was a place to go forth to further victory.  It was a reminder that they still had a battle to win.

1.  They looked forward, went forward, to victory over their physical enemies.  
(1 Samuel 7:13) 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.  (KJV)
There are two thing we want to mention here.  One is they only defeated their outward foe.  They had victory over the world and worldliness for that is what the Philistines represent here.  The foe they could see.

But the second thing is that it only lasted the days of Samuel.  Why?  There came a time they had troubles with the Philistines again.  Now this wasn’t God’s fault, it wasn’t Samuel’s fault.  They ceased to look to the Lord who had helped them.  They turned to other gods again.  In the next chapter Israel ask for a king to reign over them.  This was not God’s plan, God was to be their King.

Our victory depends on our looking to God.  There may be some Samuels that point out an  Ebenezer and keep us reminded but they won’t always be around and our victory is personal and depends on us and God.  
The same thing happened with Joshua.
(Joshua 24:31) And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel.  (KJV)

2.  THEN THEY HAD VICTORY OVER SURROUNDING TERRITORY.
(1 Samuel 7:14) And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.  (KJV)

They didn’t get these cities just handed to them, but they went out and took them.  There were some things and places in your life that the enemy took possession of when you were in sin and you have to go out and retake that ground.  Things that you allowed in the home when you were in sin have to be conquered now.  Places where you  see your life isn’t what God wants it to be have to be changed.  It doesn’t all happen at the altar.  These changes take place  as God shows us and we take the ground the enemy once held.

For instance you may not have cared what you said when you were living for the devil.  God forgave you  for cursing and swearing and those things but now He points you to a more careful conversation.  And you have to watch yourself and pray and break the habit of careless talk.  Gain that city for the Lord.
Israel did and so can we.

3.  THEN THEY HAD SPIRITUAL HELP AND HAD VICTORY OVER SPIRITUAL ENEMIES.
(1 Samuel 7:15) And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.  (KJV)
That means Samuel gave them instruction from God and spiritual light to walk in so they wouldn’t be in darkness.
We need the light of God’s Word.  Darkness is a sign of defeat.  Light is a sign of victory.
Walking in the light will give us spiritual light and victory.

4.  THEY HAD VICTORY AT HOME.
Samuel returned to Raman and built an altar there “for there was his house.” (v.17).
The stone was between Mizpeh and Shen, but his altar was at home.  
This is where he lived and needed God.

It is good to have a place where we can say “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us,” but we need the altar where we live and face the everyday problems.
But first there has to be a place where we know God has helped us.  God gave us the victory.  Altars aren’t built until there is victory.

Do you look back and realize the help of the Lord in your life?  Have you lived so that you have built an altar at home.

The “stone of help” is good but our lives have to testify of victory.
Rohn
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“HITHERTO HATH THE LORD HELPED US”   I Samuel 7:12 Empty Re: “HITHERTO HATH THE LORD HELPED US” I Samuel 7:12

Post by 12acrehome on Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:44 am

thanks Rohn...that one touched on an area I feel I need to work on

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