1 Samuel 7:2-13: Ebenezer

“Thus far has the Lord helped us”. The people of Israel had backslidden but under the leadership of Samuel, they decided to come back to the Lord in fasting and prayer. They threw away the foreign idols and recommitted themselves to the Lord. Their archenemy the Philistines miscalculated their move and attacked when the people were enjoying their retreat with the Lord, in the middle of a burnt offering. This was the wrong moment to attack because “the Lord thundered with loud thunder… and threw them into panic…” (10). And Samuel set a stone and called it “Ebenezer, saying ‘thus far has the Lord helped us’”.

When the Corona virus hit the world, analysts turned their eyes towards Africa and prophesied an unprecedented apocalypse for the continent. In an interview with CNN, American philanthropist Melinda Gates predicted that the virus would have its worst effect in developing countries with a special concern for the continent of Africa where she could already see bodies lying around on the streets.

We fasted, we interceded, all over the continent people prayed and are still praying. The Lord raised his banner against that enemy that was coming against us like a flood. Did the virus hit our countries? Yes, we lost people but not to the magnitude predicted by the prophets of doom. We, too, as a continent could set our Ebenezer and shout in praise and thanksgiving, “thus far the Lord has helped us.”

How about us in AE? As we look back over 60 years of ministry in our beloved continent of Africa with its corruption, its wars, its pandemics, droughts and famines, we could easily cry out “thus far has the Lord helped us”. We have carried out ministry in the most straining conditions, we have survived financial crises, scarcity of staff and resources, internal issues that at times rocked the ministry and threatened to divide us. But here we are, still standing together, strong, going from victory into victory in service to the Lord and his people.

This is our time to raise our voices together and shout, “Ebenezer.” “Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through spreads everywhere the flagrance of the knowledge of him.” (2 Cor.2:14).