HomeVisionStatement Of FaithArticlesPhoto GalleryEditor's NoteLinksContact

Thus Far The LORD Has Helped Us


1 Samuel 7:12
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”

As the time of the judges was coming to an end, Israel experienced a spiritual awakening and renewal under the leadership of Samuel.

1 Samuel 7:1-14
1 Then the men of Kirjath Jearim came and took the ark of the Lord, and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the Lord.
2 So it was that the ark remained in Kirjath Jearim a long time; it was there twenty years. And all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.
3 Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths 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.”
4 So the children of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only.
5 And Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.”
6 So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before the Lord. And they fasted that day, and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah.
7 Now when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel had gathered together at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines.
8 So the children of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.”
9 And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. Then Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him.
10 Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel.
11 And the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and drove them back as far as below Beth Car.
12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
13 So the Philistines were subdued, and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
14 Then the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath; and Israel recovered its territory from the hands of the Philistines. Also there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.

After the Ark was returned to the home of Abinadab on a hillside, his son Eleazar was consecrated to be in charge of it. The Ark remained there for 20 years. During that time, all of Israel was in sorrow because the Lord had seemingly forgotten and abandoned them.

About that time, Samuel said to them, “If you are really serious about wanting to return to the Lord, get rid of your foreign gods and your Ashtoreth idols. Determine to obey only the Lord; then He will rescue you from the Philistines.”

So they destroyed their Baals and Ashtoreths, and worshipped only the Lord. Then Samuel told them, “Come to Mizpah, all of you, and I will pray to the Lord for you.”

So they gathered there and, in a great ceremony, drew water from the well and poured it out before the Lord. They also fasted without food all day as a sign of sorrow for their sins. So it was at Mizpah that Samuel became Israel’s judge, the last one before the time of kings began.

When the Philistine leaders heard that the Israelites were gathering at Mizpah, they mobilized their army to attack the people of God there. The Israelites were badly frightened when they learned that the Philistines were advancing and approaching.

“Plead with God to save us!” they begged Samuel. So Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it to the Lord as a whole burnt offering and pleaded with Him to help Israel. And the Lord heard and answered his prayers.

Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived for battle, but the Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven, and they were thrown into confusion. The Israelites routed them and chased them from Mizpah to Beth Car, killing them all along the way.

Samuel then took a stone and placed it between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”

The Philistines were subdued, and didn’t invade Israel throughout the remainder of Samuel’s lifetime.

The cities between Ekron and Gath, which had been conquered by the Philistines, were returned and restored back to Israel. Then peace reigned between Israel and the Amorites in those days.

To commemorate this divine victory, Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us."

Ebenezer means “stone of help.” From then on, every time the Israelites saw this memorial stone erected by Samuel, they are reminded of the Lord’s power and protection over them.

This stone of help marks the very spot where God promises to bless His people when they repent, and also the very spot where their enemies are destroyed. The Lord had helped them and will help them, all the way from the beginning of time to now and even forevermore.

This stone of remembrance is to ensure that the people of God will always remember His goodness and faithfulness to them. And it is not to be made into an idol where people bow down and worship it.

Should the people of God turn their eyes unto the stones or the mountains for help? No! Our help is from God Who made heaven and earth! Beyond the stones and mountains, we should always turn our eyes and lift up our hands, seeking Him and Him alone for help!

Psalm 121
1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Our help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. And thus far the LORD has helped us.


Written on: 25 August 2017