Ep. 078: Ebenezer

Equiping You to Share the Gospel of Christ

Ep. 078: Ebenezer

The people of Israel slowly turned back to God. This was a process that took twenty years. Finally Samuel said, “If it’s true you want to serve God, get rid of all your idols. Dedicate yourself to the Lord and serve him only. Do this, and he’ll give you victory over the Philistines.”
The people did what Samuel said and got rid of their idols. So he told them to come together for a dedication service. He said, “Come, and I’ll pray for you.” The people came together and dedicated themselves to God. From then on, Samuel was their judge.
The Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered in one place. They thought this was an act of war, so they marched into the land and prepared to attack Israel. The people were afraid when they saw the massive Philistine army.
Samuel said, “Don’t look at your enemy. Instead, focus on God and pray to him. The Lord will save us from the Philistines.” He then presented a sacrifice to God, and asked for help.
The Lord answered Samuel’s prayer. Suddenly loud thunder was heard throughout the Philistine camp. They became confused and started to run. The men of Israel chased after them and killed many of them.
Samuel set up a large stone as a monument of what happened that day. He called it Ebenezer, which means “Rock of Help.” He said, “The Lord has helped us up to this point.”
The Lord fought against the Philistines as long as Samuel lived. Every year the prophet went on a circuit so he could better judge the people. The rest of the time, he judged them from his hometown.
When he was old, he appointed his sons to become judges. Unfortunately, they didn’t have his integrity. They accepted bribes and judged accordingly.
The people went to Samuel and said, “Your sons are not just. Therefore, we want to be like all the other nations and have a king. Select one for us before you die.”
Samuel was shocked. He couldn’t understand why they would want such a thing. He prayed to God, but the Lord said, “Don’t be offended. They haven’t rejected you. They’ve rejected me. Do what they say, but first tell them what it will be like having a king.”
Samuel stood before the people and described in detail how a king would abuse them and take advantage of them. He said, “A king will take your sons away from you and they’ll work for him instead of you. They’ll serve in his military, or work for him personally. He’ll take your daughters and put them to work. He’ll take your best fields, vineyards, and orchards. He’ll tax you so he can live in luxury. You’ll become his servants, and you’ll work to fulfill his every whim. When that happens, you’ll complain to the Lord, but he won’t help you.”
The people refused to take this warning. They insisted, “We still want a king! He’ll judge us and fight our battles for us.”
The Lord said, “Do as they ask. Give them a king.”
So Samuel told them to go home, and he would find them a king.

 

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