Reminders are vitally important. Again and again in the Scriptures, the word of God to His people is essentially that of Deuteronomy 6:12 and 8:11: “Take care lest you forget the LORD.” When we fail to remember, our hearts go astray.
When King David and the kingdom of Israel were at rest, David had proposed to build a house for God—a finer place for the ark of the covenant to dwell than in a humble tent (2 Samuel 7:1-2). But David’s ideas weren’t part of God’s plan (v 6). So instead of leaving David to think about what he might do for God, God sent the prophet Nathan to remind David of what God had done for him—and to reveal what God intended yet to do.
God had taken David from lowly shepherd to exalted king. That wasn’t something that David himself had initiated; God had. Everywhere David had been, God had been with him. His enemies were now scattered and David was at rest because God’s hand had been on him. David was being reminded, as he sat on the throne, of how far he had come from the field—and who had brought him so far. And in being reminded of this, he was also being assured that God would continue to lead him on. God had begun the process—and when God commits Himself to someone, He brings to completion the good work that He has begun (Philippians 1:6).
In a sense, David was being given an “Ebenezer moment”: a reminder that God helps His people. Years previously, the prophet Samuel had given all the people a similar moment when he raised up a stone to remind them of the victories God had given Israel. He “called its name Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Till now the LORD has helped us’” (1 Samuel 7:12).
Be careful not to forget how God has helped you. Take time today to remember and reflect on the purposes to which He has called you, His presence along the way, and the ways in which He has rescued and protected you. For as you do so, you will be reminded that the God who has helped you this far will assuredly continue to help you today and every day as He works to bring His good purposes to completion.
His love in time past forbids me to think
He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review
Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through.
Samuel Judges Israel
3And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only.
5Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” 6So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah. 7Now when the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the people of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8And the people 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.” 9So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. And Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. 10As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel. 11And the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and struck them, as far as below Beth-car.
12Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen1 and called its name Ebenezer;2 for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” 13So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.
15Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. 17Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the Lord.
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