Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Stones of Our Help

UV 1742/10000 The Stones of Our Help
Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.
I Samuel 7 v 12
A stone is a symbol of strength, endurance and power. A stone can also be a weapon and an instrument in our hands. A stone has weight. The Lord is the “stone of our help.” He has given us many “ metaphoric” stones for our help. David picked up five stones from the stream as he went to confront Goliath as he took into consideration the fact that Goliath had four brothers who were giants and champions like him. We need to pick up the promises of the Lord that have been shaped and made smooth by the river of the Holy Spirit. Just as David placed his stone in his sling, our requests, needs and dreams are loaded on the sling of our prayers and praise and it reaches the very heart of God. We need to carry the stones of the promises of the Lord in the pockets of our memories, faithful imagination and hearts. We cannot find them when we need them unless we are loaded with the stones of the Lord. The Lord who has received our praise, heard our prayers, answered, met our needs, fulfilled our dreams and granted our requests this far in our lives will be the mighty stone of our help.

As Samuel made an offering to the Lord, He thundered upon the Philistines’ army and they were shocked and scattered. The Israelites routed the Philistines. After the great victory, Samuel offered his thanksgiving and adoration by placing a stone between Mizpeh and Shen, calling it Ebenezer. The promises of the Lord are the stones of His specific help in different situations in our lives hitherto. Each uni-verse is a divinely provided and shaped stone to build us up, to help us, to lead us. Like stones, the promises of the Lord are weighty since they are truthful and the Lord is faithful to His promises so that no word of it fails or disappoints all who place their trust in it. Like stones, the promises of the Lord outlast the ages. When I look back, He has helped me in my career, personal life and family life. Even as I write He has thundered in the ears of my enemies as He has promised and scattered them. Hence, no man or giant can stand before us for the Lord is with us as He was with Moses and Joshua. As scripture says, “No dog can raise its tongue against us. “ No weapon can be forged or developed against us as we take our stand of faith upon the name of Jesus and on the strength and assurance that His promises provide us. Jesus is the Rock of our Escape. He is the Rock of ages and cleft for us, a shelter from the heat, a refuge from the storms of life. What the enemy plans as millstones around our necks, the Lord turns into milestones on our covenant journey back to Him.

The ancient Israelites including Abraham, Jacob, Joshua, Samuel set up memorials unto the Lord by placing stones or a heap of stones at different strategic times and places in their lives when the Lord gave them decisive victory. Abraham intended it as an altar. Jacob intended it as a memorial and as a witness. Joshua placed several stones as a thanksgiving for giving Israel victory over 31 kings in their conquest of the promised land. Samuel placed it as an act of worship and thanksgiving. Samuel placed it at Mizpeh which means watchtower. The Lord builds a watchtower in the vineyard of our lives. He watches over us day and night. He supervises even our dreams. We need to constantly recall all the ways in which the Lord has helped us hitherto. We will then be built up, shaped as living stones in the house or the eternal temple of the Lord. The living temple of the Lord is built around the cornerstone of Jesus. Jesus is the rock, the foundation, the keystone as well as the capstone. He went to the bottom of the heap to lift us up and hold us there. The Book of Revelation says that He has given us a white stone. He makes us pure and perfect as a white stone in the course of our lives. He changes us from within so that we are transformed from being an out of shape or useless stone for building into a perfect and precious stone. He corrects our angularities and makes the rough places smooth. All the ways in which the Lord has enabled us, equipped us, vindicated us, provided for us become a cairn or collection of spiritual stones that will be our enduring testimony to outlast the ages.
Prateep V Philip

New concepts : “covenant journey”: a life of commitment to God, to relationships, to principles and to people

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