Up To This Point

Up To This Point

07 April 2011

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 6-7; Psalm 72; 2 Corinthians 9


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!” (1 Samuel 7:12 NLT)

After many years of increasing oppression at the hands of their enemies, God began to give the Israelites some relief from Philistine oppression as Samuel stepped forward and began to lead them. On this occasion, Samuel gathered the people together at Mizpah (It’s still important – to this day – for God’s people to gather together, you know!) to confess their sin and to re-consecrate themselves to God. When they gathered to worship, the Philistines saw it as an opportunity to attack and destroy them.

As their new leader Samuel led them in worship and in committing themselves anew to God, God turned the Philistine attack, a very real threat, into an opportunity to give the Israelites a great military victory. Following the defeat of the Philistine armies, Samuel took a very pragmatic approach to the matter of faith. He said, “Let’s mark this spot with a great stone and call it ‘The Stone of God’s Help.’ God has helped us this far. We’ll go forward from here in faith and see what he will do.”

One of the things God is reminding me about living a life of faith is that there is always going to be a challenge ahead that is beyond my strength, wisdom, and ability to deal with. Sometimes the best thing I can do is stop and think about what God has done for us so far, then make a mark – set up a stone – and simply say, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”

When Jean and I do our periodic “Mini-Retreats” we devote the first part of each retreat to reviewing and reminding ourselves of the miracles, the blessings, the victories, and the help God has given us “up to this point.” If you’d like more information on the “Mini-Retreat” go to for a free Mini-Retreat plan and other helpful resources.


Father, We are committed to a life of faith. Today is another part of the journey, today begins with another step forward in faith and trust. Today we remind ourselves of your faithfulness and protection and provision. Today we declare, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us.” We thank you. We trust you. We move forward in faith. Amen.

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