After the Philistines had been oppressing Israel for 40 years, the Israelites were finally ready to listen to Samuel. Following his instruction, they turned back to the Lord, fasted and prayed. They realized Samuel’s spiritual authority and asked him to pray for them as they went into battle against the Philistines.
In response to their obedience, “the Lord thundered with a great thunder against the Philistines.” As part of their celebration, Samuel took a stone and named it Ebenezer which literally means ‘stone of help.’ This was a line of demarcation for the Israelites. They were acknowledging their past sins and the faithfulness of God when they turned back to Him. The Israelites were making a statement that ‘those who trust in the Lord will not be put to shame.’ This deliverance from the Philistines was a supernatural work of God that ended 40 years of oppression. Throughout this time God had provided judges for Israel. If the people had followed their leadership, they would have experienced God’s blessing much sooner. Now that the people had returned to God, they could enjoy the blessings and protection that He had always wanted to give them.
All Believers have a personal history with God. There should be stones of remembrance in our lives, points where we acknowledge the faithfulness of God to deliver us from impossible situations. Remembering God’s faithfulness gives us courage to keep moving forward into the destiny God has prepared for us. The path toward destiny has hills and valleys. Sometimes it feels dark and lonely, but truly we are never alone. Unbelief is our greatest enemy during these times. We forget what God has done and how He has carried us through the tight places. Fear tries to grip our hearts. Our best weapon against unbelief is remembering what God has done. Remembering feeds our faith and anchors our hearts, so that we can declare, “I will not be moved.” It is important for us to establish ‘stones of remembrance,’ whether they be literal stones or entries in a journal. Some people place a basket in a prominent place and write one word on a stone that reminds them of each act of mercy or miracle that God performed for them. This purposeful act of remembering will propel you into thankfulness and trust. It will cause your heart to swell with joy, joy will bring strength, and strength will enable you to keep moving forward. As long as you don’t quit, you will win!