From Ichabod to Ebenezer

This Sunday we return to our study in 1 Samuel and will be looking at 1 Samuel 7:1-17.  It's a chapter full of hope ... which is desperately needed after the preceding chapters presentation of the Lord's heavy hand against both the Philistines and the Israelites.  We've hopefully learned that God is to be taken seriously; His glory equals His heaviness, weightiness, awesomeness, and significance.  The weight of His glory crushes those who take Him lightly and try to relate to Him on their own terms. 

Back in chapter 4 we saw the people of God in deep despair after the ark of the covenant had been captured by the Philistines and the priests Hophni and Phinehas were killed and Eli died (largely the result of his seeking glory for himself).  When the pregnant wife of Phinehas heard all this news she went into labor and delivered a son whom she named "Ichabod" ... which means "no glory" because "the glory has departed from Israel" (4:21).  But now in chapter 7 where we find God's people actually turning to the Lord with a repentant heart, Samuel placed a stone of remembrance, an "Ebenezer," in a prominent place because "till now the Lord has helped us" (7:12).  Despair has been replaced by hope ... defeat has been replaced by victory ... fear has been replaced by faith ... death has been replaced by life.  Our study this Sunday in chapter 7 will help us see what all is involved in this journey from Ichabod to Ebenezer.