Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us. 1 Samuel 7:12
Today’s passage comes from a time when the Israelites were being attacked by the Philistines. This relentless, brutal battle was a constant struggle for Israel. Always fighting, advancing, retreating, never at rest. The Israelites were afraid, they panicked. Sound familiar?
In our pursuit of the Promised Land of Freedom from eating disorders and body image issues, we recognize that we are in a battle. It seems relentless and brutal. We wonder sometimes if we can continue the fight. We have days of victory and days where we feel defeated. There are times when we feel like all is going well and then we are blindsided by an unscheduled event or dinner plans. When we are in the midst of a battle for our freedom, this seemingly small thing becomes like an army of Philistines…overwhelming.
Let’s look at what happens in this passage from Scripture:
The rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him. 1 Samuel 7: 7-9
When they were surrounded by an overwhelming situation, the Israelites cried out for help! They asked Samuel to intercede on their behalf and he did. We have that same privilege. Not only can we ask others to pray for us (I know my mother-in-law’s knees must have been sore from all the praying!), but we have the Holy Spirit who intercedes on our behalf:
“The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26
But there is something else here that happens. I remember when I first heard Beth Moore teach from this passage and she got to this next point…it made a mark on my life that I have never forgotten. (And I think that was kind of the point!)
After God’s people have been delivered from the Philistines, we see in today’s verse what comes next:
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12
Samuel places a stone, a mark of remembrance, and named it “Ebenezer” which means “stone of help”. I imagine that the stone was not easy to move; that it took great effort. But it was worth it. The stone would come to represent, even to this day, a restoration, a new beginning for God’s people. Not only did this stone serve as a place to worship the God who had saved them, it served as a reminder of God’s provision and faithfulness.
They did not know where the Lord would be taking them or what would happen in the days to come, but they did know, ‘THUS FAR’ the Lord had brought them and that He would continue to be with them in the future.
Breathing In (Bible Study)
Read this section in its entirety 1 Samuel 7: 3-13
Where do you find yourself in this story? Journal how you can relate to one of the characters in the passage.
Who is your “Samuel”? Do you have someone who you can ask to pray for you when you are feeling attacked by your eating disorder? If not, pray and ask God to send you someone that can pray for you that can stand with you in battle. Also, know that HE stands with you, and His Holy Spirit hears your cries and intercedes for you.
Think about a time when God has shown up for you in your recovery, a time where you have called and He has provided for you. When you have a chance, go to a craft store and choose a stone that you can use as your Ebenezer. If it is large enough maybe you can write a date or a key word of remembrance on the bottom. Place the stone in a place to help you remember when the Lord has helped you overcome a battle with your eating disorder. Whenever you see it, pray that God will continue to show up and fight for you.
Breathing Out (Prayer)
You are THE Mighty Warrior, who comes to our rescue in times of distress, who defends us in times of battle, who stands before us as we move through the wilderness of recovery. The journey is long Lord, the battle is hard, but we know that you are always with us, that you will never leave. We praise you that you have taken us “Thus far” and ask that you will continue to guide our steps on this journey. We thank you for our Ebenezer, that we may remember your faithfulness and feel your hand upon us today.