“Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” (I Samuel 12:24)
We can choose to become unglued now, choose to throw ourselves on the floor and have a super-sized temper tantrum because nothing is unfolding normally. Considering the fact that everything is dissolving around us, we can permit the storm raging on the outside to move right in and take up residence within.
All through Scripture, the saints of old had to deal with enormous challenges that were beyond their control. And throughout history our forefathers were forced to manage less than perfect circumstances. They endured. Persevered. Were resolute and steadfast.
It’s our turn.
In Scripture God never calls us to be perfect or comfortable or in control. One of the overriding themes that permeates his Word is the power of obedience. In our verse today, God says to us, “Fear me. Serve me faithfully. Consider what I have done in the past. Remember I do not change.”
Obedience might mean simply trusting that God is big enough for all this and not panicking as if we are the ones in charge of making it right. It might entail recalling who he is, what he has always done, and believing what he is still capable of doing. Serving him faithfully now might just mean we don’t complain; we don’t have a pity-party; we don’t carry around a sour face or a frumpy demeanor.
Now is the perfect time to hide out in Scripture, to re-route where our mind might go to where God has already gone. In the middle of a one-sided battle, when all the odds were against him and nothing was going quite the way it should, we read of one man’s resolute belief that needs to be our own: “It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6).
In like manner, after a ferocious battle when the Israelites were the decided underdog, God showed up powerfully and defeated the enemy supernaturally. To celebrate God’s victorious intervention, Samuel the prophet set up a stone of remembrance and called its name ‘Ebenezer,’ because he wanted to remind the people that “Till now the LORD has helped us” (I Samuel 7:12).
That old-fashioned word should be our present-day rallying cry. Up to this point in our lives our God has helped us. We can confidently expect that he will continue to do the very same – continue to help us, continue to give us grace to endure where we are, and still provide brilliant hope for all that lies ahead.
It’s true. Absolutely “nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.”
Elizabeth A. Mitchell