Wedding rings: Visual reminders of vows made to each other.
The American Flag: A marker to declare allegiance, victory, ownership.
Monuments: Honor the service and sacrifice of those who gave all and help us remember the high price paid to purchase freedom for us all.
Scrapbooks and photo albums: Capture special events and keep records for future generations.
Monuments. Markers. Memories. Sometimes we need something tangible to help us remember –to keep us from forgetting. Our family, our community, and even our country– all erect monuments and markers to commemorate important events, great sacrifices, and extraordinary people.
Perhaps it’s even more important that we consider establishing spiritual monuments, markers, and memories. That’s exactly what Samuel led the Israelites to do in I Samuel 7. After 20 long years of separation from God: “all the people of Israel mourned and sought after the LORD.” I Samuel 7: 2
Samuel then challenged them with a big IF. If you are really serious about returning to God, then get rid of these idols you’ve worshipped in your past and choose to worship God alone in your future. He said it this way in verse three:
“If you are returning to the LORD, with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” I Samuel 7: 3
Samuel exhorted them to rid themselves of their idols – to set aside their past behavior. He challenged them on that day to commit themselves to God and God alone. And the promise for the future was God’s protection. Samuel then called them all together for prayer. The people fasted and confessed. Samuel offered a sacrifice on behalf of the people. The Philistines heard and they came to attack God’s people.
And God came and delivered them. His provision was immediate – even while Samuel was still offering the sacrifice. The Philistines were in a state of panic. They are routed and the Israelites are given the victory. It’s as if God was waiting and ready to release blessing upon His people. Samuel knew the importance of remembering the extraordinary events of that day. In verse 12 we read this:
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” I Samuel 7: 12
That stone would serve as a reminder to the people in the days to come of what the Lord had done for them on that day. Ebenezer means “stone of help.” Every time God’s people would look at that stone it would serve as a reminder that God keeps His promises. He promised to help and He delivered.
Our God still keeps His promises!
Watch Laura’s teaching lesson here.