Thus Far…

1 Samuel 7 relates an account of history which can be of great encouragement to us as believers in, and recipients of, the grace of God. There is great comfort in knowing our great Intercessor never ceases to pray for us.

In this story, Samuel has spoken to the house of Israel and admonished them saying, “If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away foreign gods and the Ashtoreths (the goddess of love and war) from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only, and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.”

The children of Israel did exactly that.  They put away their gods and served the Lord only. Samuel gathers them all to pray to the Lord on their behalf.  Together they drew water, poured it out before the Lord, fasted and confessed their sin against God, and Samuel judged them.

What they are called to do is clear: return—pour out—fast—confess.

What happens next is exactly what our enemy the devil does.

When the Philistines heard about what was happening, they set out against them!  Why then?  Why not when they were knee deep in sin and living recklessly and carelessly before a Holy God?
Hmm…definitely something to ponder.

Anyway, just like us, when the children of Israel found out they were soon to be under attack, they were very much afraid and said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord for Israel.”

Dear sisters, there they are, trembling with fear as the enemy approaches to destroy them.   Samuel is giving a burnt offering to the Lord and what do you think happened? The Lord answers him!

Wow!  “The Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines.”  Imagine that!  God heard the prayers of Samuel and so confuses the enemy with the thunder that they were overcome by the Israelites.  God’s people pursued their enemies and drove them far away.

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up…and called it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.'”   Samuel sacrificed, Samuel prayed and God graciously answered.  Oh what a comfort we have as true believers!

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for His steadfast love endures forever.  You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.” — I Chronicles 16:34, Job 10:12

Dear one, what is the sin that so easily besets you?  What has invaded your life so as to rob you of God?  The call here is plain.  Return—pour out—fast—confess.  Return to your God, the Lord Most High! And lest you forget: remember, we have an Intercessor, who is never silent, nor does He sleep.  He is always in the Presence of God for us. As we repent and pray, we can and will have victory over all our enemies.

Then, like Samuel, let’s set up our Ebenezers to the glory of God, and say, “Thus far the Lord has helped me”.

Stephanie

Today’s Question:
Does your heart belong wholly to God?  Do you love Him with all your heart?  What is the evidence of that truth in your life?

Stephanie serves as part of the Addiction Recovery Team at America’s Keswick as Director of Women of Character. She has been married for over 30 years to Sesky Paul who is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy.
Her single focus in ministry at Keswick is to image Christ in grace and truth to wounded and hurting women, encouraging them to make Jesus the truest Lover of their soul and the One in whom all hope lies.

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