(1 Samuel 7:3-14) “Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the Lord. Then Samuel told them, “Gather all of Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” So they gathered at Mizpah and, in a great ceremony, drew water from a well and poured it out before the Lord. They also went without food all day and confessed that they had sinned against the Lord. (It was at Mizpah that Samuel became Israel’s judge.) When the Philistine rulers heard that Israel had gathered at Mizpah, they mobilized their army and advanced. The Israelites were badly frightened when they learned that the Philistines were approaching. “Don’t stop pleading with the Lord our God to save us from the Philistines!” they begged Samuel. So Samuel took a young lamb and offered it to the Lord as a whole burnt offering. He pleaded with the Lord to help Israel, and the Lord answered him. Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived to attack Israel. But the Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them. The men of Israel chased them from Mizpah to a place below Beth-car, slaughtering them all along the way. Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” So the Philistines were subdued and didn’t invade Israel again for some time. And throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the Lord’s powerful hand was raised against the Philistines. The Israelite villages near Ekron and Gath that the Philistines had captured were restored to Israel, along with the rest of the territory that the Philistines had taken. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites in those days.”
Pains From Our Past
The Pain of Regret
(Philippians 3:13-14) “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
✔ God wants to help you refocus on what’s ahead.
The Pain of Grief
(Psalm 34:18) “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
✔ God wants to walk with you through your grief.
The Pain of Shame
✔ God has the victory over your shame.
Stones of Remembrance
1. Our God Moments
(1 Peter 2:5 NLT) “And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.”
✔ You are a stone to remember!
2. Moments of Others
(1 Peter 2:9-10 NLT) “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”
✔ Others are stones to remember!
3. The Ultimate Moment: Jesus
(1 Peter 2:6) For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
✔ Jesus is the ultimate stone to remember: the Cornerstone.
(Hebrews 12:2-3 ) “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”