"Snippets" from David
The Philistine army was a major problem for Israel for more than a generation. In respect to controlling geographical territories, times have changed little. The Philistines controlled a significant segment of the Mediterranean coast and its adjacent plains during that period. They wanted to control the part of the interior that Israel owned.
Samuel told the Israelites that they needed to return to the Lord with all their hearts (1 Samuel 7:3). Such a return meant they would abandon the idols they sought and owned, and serve God alone. When Israel removed the symbols of the idolatrous gods and served God alone, Samuel told all Israel to assemble at Mispah, and he would pray to the Lord for them.
When the Philistines heard that Israel gathered at Mizpah, they attacked. God intervened on Israel’s behalf, and Israel won a decisive victory in their battle.
Following the battle, Samuel erected a stone on one of the routes to Mizpah. He named the stone Ebenezer [the stone of help] to serve as a continual reminder that God helped Israel (1 Samuel 7:12) as they reversed the control of the Philistines. The key to their freedom was not the idols they served, but the God who delivered their ancestors from Egypt.
Our lives are filled with forms of harassment and control from evil. The continuing conflict between good and evil is a long, in depth study. Paul acknowledged this struggle contained elements much bigger than our personal desires and ambitions—elements he referred to as “the powers,” “the world forces of darkness,” and “the spiritual forces of wickedness” (NASV, Ephesians 6:12).
In this conflict between good and evil, God has an eternal purpose much bigger than the temporary physical desires of the individual. While we are important to God in this life, so are His eternal objectives against evil. If God’s purposes in this struggle required the death of His son, the martyrdom of numerous Christians, and Paul’s life of struggle as a Christian, we should not be surprised if it costs us more than some temporary inconvenience in our physical existence.
May we also plant our permanent remembrances! May we always look at our personal Ebenezer to remind ourselves that God is our Helper! No matter how difficult life becomes for us, may God always be our source of strength and encouragement! May part of our problem never occur because we substitute other things for God’s influence in our lives.
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