The Turning Point “Thus Far the Lord Has Helped Us”

Introduction

It was a long time, twenty years in all, that the ark of the Lord remained at Kiriath Jearim and all the people of God mourned and sought after the Lord. The ark of the Lord was in the temple at Shiloh where the High priest resides. What happens that for twenty years the ark of the Lord was outside Shiloh? The Israelites went to fight against the Philistines, and has the battle rages; Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousands of them on the battle field. When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, why did the Lord bring defeat upon us? Let us bring the ark of the Lord from Shiloh, so that it may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemy. When the ark of the Lord was brought to the battle Israelites shout thunderously that the Philistines were afraid but when Philistines summons courage and fight over 30,000 Israel foot soldiers were killed, including Eli’s sons Hophni and phinehas and also the ark was taken away by the Philistines. The ark causes destructions to the Philistines and they returned the ark and the men of Kiriath Jearim took the ark of the Lord to Abinadab’s house and Eleazer his son was consecrated to guard the ark. Samuel saw the groaning of the people and he called on the people to make a turn back to God.

The Ark of Covenant                                                                                                                                                       The Ark of the Covenant served as a religious symbol where the people could meet with God. He hovered over the Ark when the priests were present. If the priests were absent, the presence of the law tablets reflected God’s presence. Thus, the Ark of the Covenant was aptly named because of the commandments written on the tablets.                                                                                                     Content                                                                                                                                                               Hebrews 9:4 state that the Ark contained “the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.” Revelation 11:19 says the prophet saw God’s temple in heaven opened, “and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple.”

Proposition:  What are the keys to the Israelites turning Point?

I         Commitment and Service to God – vs. 1-4 “So the Israelites put away their Baal’s and Ashreths, and served the Lord”                                                                                                                                              The Israelites mourned and sorrow for twenty years, the ark of the Lord was put away like unwanted box in an attic, and it seems as if Lord had abandoned his people. Samuel now a grown man, calls them to action by saying that if they were truly sorry, they should do something about it. How easy it is for us to complain about our problems, while we refuse to act, change and do what God requires. We don’t even take the advice He has already given us.

Samuel asked the Israelites to get rid of their foreign gods, idols today are more subtle than gods of wood and stone but they are just as dangerous. Whatever holds first place in our lives or controls us is our God. Money, Success, material goods, pride, or anything else can be an idol if it takes the place of God in our lives. Only God alone is worthy of our service and worship.

II       Confession to God – vs. 5-9 “We have sinned against the Lord”                                                                   

Samuel asked all Israel to assemble at Mizpah, because, it held special significance for the Israelite nation. It was there that the Israelites had gathered to mobilize against the tribe of Benjamin (Judges 20:1). It was there that Samuel was appointed to be leader of the people (1Sam. 7:6) and it was there that Saul was made Israel first King, he was identified and presented to the people (10:17).

When the people assembled at Mizpah they drew water and poured it out before the Lord, what was significant about what they did? Pouring water on the ground before the Lord was a sign of repenting from sin, turning from idols, and determining to obey God alone.

When we ask God for forgiveness, it is a sign of humility to God, and He forgive his people, 1 John 1:9 (If we confess our sin), Psalm 103:10-14 (He does not treat us as our sin deserve), Isaiah 1:18 (Come let us reason together)  and Jeremiah 33:8 (I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed and forgive all their sins of rebellion against me)  As we move forward let us humble ourselves and come humbly before our God and confess all our sins and ask for His mercy and love. God desire to forgive his people but they must acknowledge their sin and confess.( 2 chronicles 7:14) “ if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”                                                                                                                                                God want to forgive and heal our life but we must humbly confess our sin and turn away from it

III     Confidence in God – vs. 10-14 “The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth car”

The Philistines over twenty years killed 34,000 Israel soldiers, but when the Lord thundered with a loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites. Then the Israelites pursued the Philistines and slaughtered them. The Israelites had great difficulty with the philistines, but God rescued them. In response, the people set up a stone as a memorial of God’s great help and deliverance. 

During tough times, we may need to remember the crucial turning points in our past to help us through the present. Memorials can help us remember God’s past victories and gain confidence and strength for the present. You and I know our past struggles and difficulties and through it all God thunder and grant us victory over all our struggles. God has brought us to a crucial turning point for our lives because of victories that he has granted us and we also can say “thus far the Lord has helped us”.

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