Thanks for the inspiration, Camry! http://kevan.org/johari?name=Stevi+Davis
And now, a quick Old Testament story, from 1 Samuel 7…
The Ark of the covenant, the symbol of the very presence of God, had been stolen by the Philistines. After terrible things happened in every Philistine town that the Ark was taken to, the Philistines decided to send the Ark back to Isreal. So they loaded it on a cart and shipped it back.
When it arrived, the Isrealites decided that they better check to make sure all its contents were still there (the stone tablets, the jar of manna, etc.). But God had said never to open it. So, terrible things happened. And the people lamented “Who can stand in the presence of the LORD, this holy God?”
They were afraid to do anything with the Ark, so they set up a guard around it, and there it stayed, in the house of Abinadab for 20 years.
But the Isrealites knew that the Ark belonged among the people of God… not in a farmer’s house. So, “all the people of Israel mourned and sought after the LORD. And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”
So they gave up their idols, and met together at Mizpah. There, they poured out an offering of water (a symbol of life) and they fasted and confessed their sin.
The Philistines noticed the meeting, and decided to take advantage of the opportunity. They attacked the Isrealites at Mizpah. When the Isrealites saw them coming, they were afraid & asked Samuel to intercede with God for them. He made an offering and kept praying that God would rescue them from the Philistines.
God did rescue them. He turned the Philistines away before they even reached the Isrealites meeting place, and the Isrealites were able to chase them and overcome them. At the place where they overcame the Philistines, Samuel set up a stone and named it Ebenezer, which means “stone of help”. And he said “Thus far has the LORD helped us.”
A few things to ponder…
Am I returning to the Lord with all my heart?
What foreign gods, idols, distractions do I need to give up in order to return?
Do I need to make an offering, fast, confess?
In what area of life do I need God to help me win a victory? What am I fearful of?
Where are my Ebenezer stones? The landmarks in my life that identify the places where I can say “thus far has the Lord helped me”?