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!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene