Today I’m sharing an article from our church bulletin, written by Russell Hill. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
The following article speaks powerfully about how God views our priorities. The Hebrew writer encourages us to throw off everything that hinders. I hope that those who were here Wednesday night have been evaluating what that is in your life and asking God for the faith to throw it off. As the song goes none of self and all of thee: that is our calling! Please take the time to answer the underlined question about your life with all sincerity because the difference is life or death!
Ebenezer. I know what you are thinking: scrooge. I bet I was right! To me, Charles Dickens ruined the beauty of the name Ebenezer when he wrote the Christmas Carol. Yes, Ebenezer is a name of beauty; at least it is better than Ichabod! Oddly enough the two names are almost inseparable and teach us a lesson on just how important putting God first is. Israel went out to do battle against the Philistines, they should have won but the didn’t. The survivors retreated back to safety. After regrouping, they decided the reason they lost was because they didn’t have the Ark of the Covenant with them. When the ark showed up, they still lost and the enemies captured the ark. At the same time as the battle was going on, there was a woman in labor. News got back to her that her husband and father-in-law were dead and the ark captured. All this news overwhelmed her and she ending up dying during the birth of her son. The boy was named Ichabod (which means, “no glory”) saying, “The glory has departed from Israel.” Twenty years pass and the ark is still not back where it needs to be.
During these twenty years the children of God did not seek Him and life was not very good. Finally Samuel, a priest of God, called the children of God to repent and return to God. They all gather to worship God. Well, the Philistines heard that they had gathered and decided to go and attack them. An amazing thing happened. Israel won the battle. They went out to worship God and ended up winning a battle. It was then, twenty years after Ichabod; that Samuel took a large stone and named it Ebenezer, which means, “the Lord helps”.
In the days of Ichabod, Israel went to fight and lost. In the days of Ebenezer, Israel went to worship and won! In the days of Ichabod, God was an afterthought. In the days of Ebenezer, God was the first thought! Ebenezer is a name that is declaring, “GOD CAME FIRST.”
Which one are you, an Ichabod or Ebenezer? Perhaps the reason we lose a lot of the battles in life is because God is an afterthought! I think Jesus knew what he was talking about when he said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Let me encourage you to live in the days of Ebenezer, put God first!