There is a story in 1 Samuel 4:12-22, that tells of a dark day in Israel. The Ark of God was captured by the Philistines but there was more tragedy that took place. Ichabod’s mother, father, grandfather, and uncle all died on the day of his birth. The midwife gave Ichabod his name which means, “no glory.” While a parent might not approve of the name Ichabod, this attendant apparently felt it was appropriate. With the “glory having departed,” life became hard on the people who were left.
But the hardship and pain prompted the people of Israel to again seek the Lord. Samuel proclaimed God’s revival message to all who had gathered, and their response was to seek God with all their heart. “Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, ‘If you are returning to the Lord with all of your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.’ So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only” 1 Samuel 7:3-4.
The Philistines thought they would attack Israel and the people were frightened. Samuel continued to trust in the Lord by crying out to Him and making sacrifices to Him. The Lord protected Israel and it says that the Philistines were subdued and did not invade their territory again. When God stops our enemies, they feel the wrath of God and know that He will always be there to protect his faithful ones.
When Jesus said, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only’”Luke 4:8, during the testing of the enemy, He was giving the enemy and us a clear statement as to what it takes to put our enemies in their place. It was when the Israelites got serious and put down other things that tried to steal their allegiance and trust in the Lord, that they fell under God’s protection. We must learn from this that in hard times, we too must stay focused and committed to the One true God who can deliver and sustain us.
Samuel gave them another name to remember instead of dwelling on Ichabod. He named a stone, “Ebenezer,” saying that the Lord has helped us. It was commemorating a divine assistance. Instead of dwelling on Ichabod, they had a new name. I think I would change my name if I was Ichabod. He could be called Ike – better yet, call him Mike.
Sounds like something we could institute. We need to start putting some reminders of when the Lord has interceded instead of remembering a day when things were in chaos.
Remember, Camp ReVamp is coming up April 8-13. We need all hands on deck. Text REVAMP to 419-408-6174. It is going to be a good week to work together.
Joy in Jesus!
The word is getting out about our Camp ReVamp. I was asked this morning, “What it Camp ReVamp?” Not many people have heard about it yet so let me try to describe it to you.
The week of April 8-13, we are going to ReVamp our Church. I was thinking one day about how much use our church gets from week to week. There are many ministries like Upward, youth and children’s ministries, ministry to men and women, Beast Feast, Twice Blessed, Easter activities, banquets of many kinds. We have 6 precincts come in and vote during national elections. Don’t forget the birthdays, graduations, NWO District events, anniversary parties, wedding receptions, baby showers, baby gender reveal parties, funeral dinners, preschool screening, and the list goes on. There are thousands of people who have come into our building and enjoyed a large space to hold events.
Families have enjoyed our Family Life Center for 21 years. I think our building is showing its age and wear and tear. It is time that we all pitch in together and ReVamp our facilities. There is going to be projects for all skill levels. Would you join us as we give back and make our building like new again?
In Exodus 35-40, it portrays large numbers of talented people – both men and women – working together to build the tabernacle and all the different parts. It is amazing to see how detailed it was written out. The generosity of time and resources was so outstanding that an order had to be given to stop (36:6-7). “Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: ‘No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary. And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work” Exodus 36:6-7. Just think of all the ministry that you have participated in or even the activities you have used the facility for a family get together. It’s time to ReVamp our facility.
In the Family Life Center, we will be renovating the lower bathrooms, painting the walls and trim to match the upper renovated parts, replacing the carpet on the north wall, painting the beams, moving cabinets in the kitchen, dry walling the entry by the Pepsi machine, adding and changing lights in different areas, and reorganizing storage areas. The list is long and let me just say that we aren’t going to turn anyone away.
This is going to be all hands on deck. We will be providing family style meals in the evening and meeting people we have never met before. Would you help us ReVamp our Church? We are calling our big family to come out and work together.
On Sunday there is going to be an insert where you can sign up for different time slots to help. You will be able to write in what you would like to help with. We have anything from painting to electrical to construction to moving equipment to cleaning to cooking, we have it all. There will be slots for the day time and the evening. Supper will bring them both together.
Let’s come together and work as unto the Lord. I look forward to working alongside of some very skilled people. It’s going to fun.
Joy in Jesus!
Life is full of surprises. One minute you are walking down the road in one direction and then all of a sudden you find yourself going in another direction. Sometimes that is the way the cookie crumbles. But there are sometimes that you want to eat the cookie before it crumbles. There are times when you like the surprises and then there are times when you are not so sure. For example:
You could probably add to the list of surprises. Some are good and some not so much. Surprises can lead to excitement and then some lead to disappointment. Some you can’t believe it is happening and others you wished you were only dreaming.
Have you ever stopped and looked at how many surprises are in the Bible? How about when Adam and Eve stumbled upon Abel’s fresh grave? When Noah’s neighbors first realized the rain wasn’t stopping? When Sarah actually realized that God did actually mean that she would get pregnant in her old age? When Pharaoh’s wife screamed, “He’s dead! Our son in dead!” There were many surprises. The Israelites are running for their life and all of a sudden the waters parted. Jericho’s walls actually came falling down after marching around them 7 times and then blowing their trumpets. David actually killed Goliath with one stone. This Samaritan women was told by Jesus all of her past history of failed marriages and the one she was currently living with. How about Jesus dying a criminal’s death even though He was without sin?
There are surprises all through the Bible. Like John at the end of his Gospel, if I would write them all down, there wouldn’t be enough room. When we talk about Jesus’ return it says that it is going to be like a thief in the night. Even today we continue to face surprises. Some we embrace and others we wish they never happened.
Can I remind you today that no matter what comes your way, we have a God who is watching over you. He has a way of turning the darkest day into the brightest outcome and the biggest surprise into the biggest blessing. It may not happen in your timing but I know it will be the right time. All we are asked to do is to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” Psalm 18:12. This is reminding us that God truly is our protector and our provider. Put all your trust in Him and embrace the surprises because you never know where it will lead you.
Last Sunday was such a blessing as we worshiped with the Ohio Christian Chorale. I may be biased but I thought the Spirit of God was thick. Come with great anticipation this Sunday as we continue to see the Lord’s hand move in our services.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene