DCLM Daily Manna Sunday 31 December 2023
TOPIC: Hitherto, God Has Helped Us
TEXT: 1 Samuel 7:3-12 (KJV)
3 And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.
4 Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the Lord only.
5 And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the Lord.
6 And they gathered together to Mizpeh, 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 children of Israel in Mizpeh.
7 And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines.
8 And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.
9 And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord: and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him.
10 And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel.
11 And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Bethcar.
12 Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.
DCLM Daily Manna 31-12-23 MESSAGE
Many people go through life without noting significant milestones and turning points that changed their situations and affected their fortunes for the better. The result is that they ignore or miss opportunities to show gratitude to God. In our text, the Israelites had been estranged from the Lord. It was left to Samuel to call them to return to the Lord in repentance, abandon their idols and be prepared to serve the Lord. Only then will He deliver them from their enemies.
They promptly obeyed. Not only did they repent, they also gathered at Mizpeh so Samuel could pray for them. As they fasted and confessed their sins, the Philistines planned an attack against them. Fearful, the people pleaded with Samuel to pray for them. He obliged, and after performing the burnt offering of a lamb, “cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him”.
The enemies launched the attack; nonetheless, the Lord thundered mightily from heaven, frustrated the Philistines and wiped out their troops. All the Israelites were left to do was conduct a mop up operation against the Philistines. To remember this great deliverance, Samuel set up a memorial there and called it Ebenezer, meaning, “hitherto hath the Lord helped us”. As we come to the end of the year, we too can look back at all the battles the enemy waged against us, the times of perplexity, uncertainty and utter despair, the times of tough challenges and massive onslaught against our souls, when it appeared as if we were alone, and that the Lord was not with us.
Then, we remember God’s timely intervention in our situations, and the numerous victories the Lord won for us. Remembering God’s goodness in the fading year, enables us to cope with the present, and march into the future with confidence and hope.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: We face the future with confidence because He who knows tomorrow has led us thus far.
BIBLE IN ONE YEAR: Revelation 21-22