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The Lord has always led His forgetful people to repentance and victory. We are called today to remember His faithfulness.

 

Throughout the Old Testament, we see the people of Israel repeatedly wander from God. Though they are God’s chosen people, they forget all He has done for them. As a result, their affections turn to their idol of choice.

 

In 1 Samuel 4, the people of Israel are once again far from God—worshipping idols and suffering defeat by the Philistines. But God, in His faithfulness, raises up a godly leader to call them to return to their first love.

 

Samuel leads the people in corporate repentance, and the Lord delivers them from the hands of their enemies and makes them victorious (see 1 Samuel 7:2-12). Because of all God had done to save them, Samuel sets up an Ebenezer—a visible landmark that would forever remind Israel of the intervening power of God.

 

This stone was meant to remind all who looked upon it, “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (v. 12)—just as Israel’s story, written and preserved in Scripture, teaches and encourages us today (see Romans 15:4). Like the Israelites, we too must remember: Thus far the Lord has helped us. Thus far He has been faithful. Therefore, we must look to Him—not to our idol of choice—in our present trouble.

 

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your steadfast love and faithfulness. Help me to remember and rejoice in the ways You have worked in my life for my good. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us’” (1 Samuel 7:12).

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.


Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.


The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.


He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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