Monday, November 3, 2014

What's in A Name?

1Samuel 7:12 - Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”

Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood.

We sang a beautiful old hymn, Come Thou Font, Sunday at church. The pastor, Richard Parrish, preaching that morning pointed something out I'd never thought of before...the line in this hymn  which says, Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I come... A strange comment, raising an Ebenezer.

Samuel, a godly Jewish priest, was also a judge of Israel. On this particular occasion he was judging Israel for worshiping idols instead of God. He told them if they would repent and return to God, He would save them from the hands of their enemy, the Philistines. So they did. And God did as Samuel had told them. Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the LORD, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” (‭1Samuel‬ ‭7‬:‭3)

So the children of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only. So the children of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the LORD our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the LORD thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel. (‭1Samuel‬ ‭7‬:‭4,8,10‬)

Then Israel set out and chased away the Philistines! Samuel set up memorial to commemorate that moment as the beginning verse stated. Ebenezer is a name that means stone of help. Samuel took a stone...the LORD has helped us.

All throughout the Bible people were named after an event at their birth or who they would become.
Jesus means Jehovah is salvation..."And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭1‬:‭21‬)
Moses means drawn (from the water)...So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.” (‭Exodus‬ ‭2‬:‭10).
Abraham means the father of a multitude...No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. (‭Genesis‬ ‭17‬:‭5‬)
Peter means rock or stone...And he brought him [Simon Peter] to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone). (‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭42)

So the writer of this hymn was stating that when Jesus seeks one, rescues them from their sin by His precious blood, one then has reason to set up a stone of help. Jesus has saved them, and they are now on the sure foundation, the solid rock of Jesus Christ. When we choose to stop worshiping our idols of fame, success, things and come to Christ we have an assurance of His salvation.

I've heard others speak on setting up memorials in our lives when we know that we know that God has met us, where His presence is so evident. My first memorial was April 17, 1999 when I was first touched by God, and the second was the next day when first met Jesus and received Him. Other moments have occurred since and make up a string of events where He has met me in incredible ways, not quite as great as that first and second time but remarkable remembrances just the same.

There is another scripture that comes to mind that says if we are in Christ when He returns, we will be given a new name on a white stone. I may be stretching the meaning of this, but I see a similarity here...“...To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. ” (‭Revelation‬ ‭2‬:‭17‬)

Jesus seeks us all while we are yet sinners, while we are wandering far from God. I mentioned yesterday that we are His enemy until we receive Him. He will continue to seek others until the day He returns. Seek Him while He can still be found. Let Him save you.

Romans 5:8-10 - But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the 
death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

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