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Samuel and the Ebenezer stone

A stone is erected to remind people to trust in God.
Contributed by Sweet Publishing
Story also available on our translated websites: Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Hindi
Samuel was a prophet in Israel at a time when the people had turned away from God to worship idols. – Slide 1
At a time when Eli was the High Priest, his wicked sons had ordered that the Ark of the Covenant be taken out of the Tabernacle in Shiloh and carried into battle against the Philistines. The Philistines won the battle and at a place called Ebenezer captured the Ark and took it back to their territory. – Slide 2
In each Philistine city that the Ark was taken the people were smitten by a plague of tumours. The people of Ekron decided to send the ark back to Israel on a cart pulled by two cows. The cows pulled the cart carrying the ark to the nearby town of Beth-Shemesh. – Slide 3
The people of Beth-Shemesh chopped up the wood of the cart and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. But 70 of the local men looked into the ark and were stuck down dead for this act of disobedience. – Slide 4
So, the people of Beth-Shemesh asked the people of nearby Kiriath-Jearim to come and take the Ark to their town. – Slide 5
They brought it to Abinadab’s house on the hill. – Slide 6
They consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of the Lord. The Ark remained under the protection of Eleazar for the next twenty years. – Slide 7
The people of Israel, despite the warnings of the prophet Samuel, continued to worship idols rather that the one true God. – Slide 8
As a result of their disobedience the people of Israel came under the control of raiding Philistines who stole their harvests and threatened them. – Slide 9
So, the people decided it was time for them to turn back to God and obey Him. They came to Samuel and told him they wanted to repent. – Slide 10
Samuel said to all the Israelites, ‘If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the idols and commit yourselves to the Lord. Serve Him only, and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. – Slide 11
So, the people went and destroyed their idols. – Slide 12
They cut down the images they had made to the gods Baal and Ashtoreth. – Slide 13
Then Samuel said, ‘Assemble all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.’ – Slide 14
So, the people gathered at Mizpah where Samuel served as their leader. – Slide 15
At Mizpah, the people drew water and poured it out as an offering before the Lord. They fasted and confessed, ‘We have sinned against the Lord.’ – Slide 16
When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard this news, they were very scared and begged Samuel to keep praying so God would rescue them from the Philistines. – Slide 17
Samuel took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him. – Slide 18
That day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into a panic. – Slide 19
The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines. – Slide 20
The Philistines were heavily defeated and fled back to their territory pursued by the Israelites. – Slide 21
It was a great victory for the people who had just put their trust in God. – Slide 22
Samuel gathered the victorious people at the place where years before the Ark of the covenant had been captured. – Slide 23
He set up a stone and called it Ebenezer saying, ‘This far has the Lord helped us.’ The stone would be a monument to their faith in God at this point in time. – Slide 24
The Philistines stopped invading Israel’s territory and there was peace. – Slide 25
Samuel continued as Israel’s leader all the days of his life.  From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, judging Israel by God’s laws in these places. – Slide 26
But Samuel always returned to Ramah, where his home was, and held court there for the whole land. Samuel built an altar in Ramah to the Lord and continued to worship Him. – Slide 27
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