There will be a significant addition to our landscaping at First Bible Church Decatur Campus this month when we raise our Ebenezer. One of the great advantages of living and loving in a church family people who love God’s Word is that you get to use code language. Ebenezer means nothing to the unbeliever and frankly, it means nothing to most believers today due to high rates of biblical illiteracy in so many churches. But the longer you walk with God, study his Bible, and sing with his church, the more likely you know the story behind that strange word, “Ebenezer.”
The story begins with the transitional figure of Samuel, the last of the judges and the first of the prophets, who guided Israel through the first days of its monarchy. Israel was in one of its frequent seasons of rebellion, committing spiritual prostitution, “whoring” after other gods. In a thousand ways, they hurt God’s heart, broke his commands, resisted his rule, and insulted his majesty. And still, he loved them. Unfaithful though they may be, he loved them. And in love, he disciplined them in order to turn them back to the Lover of their souls. The Philistines did not rise to power because of their superior strength or intelligence. The rose to power because God decreed it. As an ax in the hand of God, the Philistines were God’s tool. By the Philistines, Israel was brought low, humbled, and shaken to her senses.
“Put away the foreign gods,” cried Samuel, “and direct your heart to the Lord…serve him only…and God will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” And so, they did. And he did. Philistine blood flowed that day. It was not innocent blood, but the blood of the guilty. Justice was done to the enemies of God. And mercy was shown to his errant children. And right there between Mizpah and Shen, they raised their Ebenezer.
And so shall we. Now do you know what I’m talking about? Come and see as we celebrate this month the 50th anniversary of First Bible Church. You don’t want to miss it.
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