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Chapel Service


Iowa Speedway


July 31, 2015


“The Ebenezer”

Bob Butcher


1 Samuel 7:10-12  (GBB)

“While Samuel was offering the sacrifice, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle.

But that day the Lord God thundered, and a huge thunderclap exploded among the Philistines. They panicked—mass confusion!—and ran helter-skelter from Israel. Israel poured out of Mizpah and gave chase, killing Philistines right and left, to a point just beyond Beth Car.

Samuel took a single rock and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen as a memorial.

He named it “Ebenezer” (Rock of Help or Rock of Memorial), saying:

“This marks the place where God helped us.”


*Stones were commonly used not only for buildings, but also as memorials of important events (Genesis 28:18; Joshua 24:26, 27; 1 Samuel 7:12, etc.).


These places and times in our life’s journey are the times when we realize that the issue, problem, or circumstances were  way beyond us and obviously our strength or doing had absolutely nothing to do with the results we just experiences.


These are places of Gods hope!


These are times when you set up an Ebenezer stone.


Look for the Ebenezer moments in your life and erect a memorial stone to remind you of how God has taken bad and used it for good. 


I’ve become a kinder gentler Bob from these experiences that nobody would ever consider anything but bad.


Our Personal journeys include the good and bad.


*But do we ever get found Praising Him for the bad things too?


**It’s interesting when your kids ask you …”Dad, I always hear you praise the Lord over the great and even the most insignificant things in your life …


***BUT …do you praise Him for the bad things also?  Maybe you need to consider this too.”


****The most difficult things in life have become the most valuable things and times in our life. 


Out of all this there are times I have actually set up a stone like Isaiah at the place where the problem happened, or broke out.  That way, it helps me remember how God has been involved in our lives… and the issue that changed me.


Can you go back in your life’s history and remember the Ebenezer’s of your life?


Have you thought about setting up an Ebenezer that is there for all to see?


What a way to share your experiences and messages when your kids ask: why is that rock there, Dad?


And, how about guests?  What a witness!


*Learning so often comes from those whom we trust to have our backs …like Parents, siblings and friends.


** especially when God Himself has put those profound memories into our hearts and minds to pass on to the right person whether child or friend.


***Trust that He will bring that experience to your mind or speak to your spirit to share it because that person needs to hear it.


****Just don’t be alarmed or discouraged if you do not see any recognition of the testimony immediately.


*****That will come in days or even years ahead when God brings it to their mind when they need to hear it in their circumstances.  You can be sure their mind & spirit has not forgot it that He can dredge it up to the forefront once again.


Background to this: The “stone of help, or the memorial stone set up by Samuel to commemorate the divine assistance to Israel in their great battle against the Philistines, whom they totally routed (1 Samuel 7:7-12) at Aphek, in the neighborhood of Mizpeh, in Benjamin, near the western entrance of the pass of Beth-horon. On this very battle-field, twenty years before, the Philistines routed the Israelites, “and slew of the army in the field about four thousand men” (4:1,2; here, and at 5:1, called “Eben-ezer” by anticipation). In this extremity the Israelites fetched the ark out of Shiloh and carried it into their camp. Note that God DID NOT direct them to do so. It was the Israelites’ foolish expectations that doing so would solve the problem at hand since God worked that way before.  The Philistines a second time immediately attacked them, and smote them with a very great slaughter, “for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. And the ark of God was taken” (1 Samuel 4:10) by the Philistines foolishly believing it was the Israelites’ good luck charm.  (The results over this were hilarious to me and I wish that I had time to rabbit trail because I love the humor God has.)  And now in the same place the Philistines are vanquished, and the memorial stone is erected by Samuel. Today, the spot where the stone was erected was somewhere “between Mizpeh and Shen” and is located today around the modern Beit Iksa, Palestine.  It is a conspicuous and prominent position, and fits all the necessary conditions to be accurate.  Other original memorial stones are found in Dier Aban, (Jerusalem today) and 3 miles east of ‘Ain Shems (Beth Shemesh, today) which is in Palestine.”


*Bibliography: Idea to build message today came from friend Sam Skillern;  Salem Net Pastor’s Meeting / and Salem, OR Community Ministry Leader’s at Church on the Hill on May 28, 2015

(Our home church)