Summary: The purpose of this sermon is to motivate the hearers to affirm to others that Samuel erecting the Memorial Stone serves as a visual reminder of how God helped His people defeat their enemy.

24 May 2009

Pre-Memorial Day Sunday

U.S. Army Chaplain (MAJ) Ken Harris

Fortress Chapel

Contingency Operation Site (C.O.S.) Sykes

Tall-afar, Iraq

BIG IDEA: Samuel erecting the Memorial Stone (Ebenezer – stone of help) serves as a visual reminder of how God helped the people of Israel defeat their enemy (the Philistine).

REFERENCES: John 10:27 (KJV) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; Romans 11:29 (KJV) For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Genesis 27-28 (The Story of Jacob and Esau); Psalms 118:22 (ESV) The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; Eben-ezer, the stone of help. Isaiah 65:24 ESV (Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear); 1 Samuel 6 ESV – (The Philistines decided to return the Ark of The Covenant to Israel); 1 Samuel 7 ESV – The Ark was not returned to Shiloh; It remained at Abinadab’s home for twenty years; 1 Samuel 7:6-13 ESV - The Hebrew Word – Zikkaron is translated “memorial” or “remembrance”; it’s a witness or a visible symbol. For instance a “a commemorative feast”; Joshua 4:1-24 ESV – The Memorials of the Crossing; Joshua 4:4-12; Genesis 28:10-22 ESV (Jacob’s Vision of the ladder, The Voice, and the Vow); Exodus 12:24-27 ESV – A Memorial of Redemption (The Jews have a religious and a civil calendar, and Passover marks the beginning of their religious year. The death of the lamb makes a new beginning, just as the death of Christ makes a new beginning for the believing sinner); 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ( The Institution of The Lord’s Supper); Luke 22:14-23 (ESV) – The Institution of The Lord’s Supper; Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 ESV (A Time for Everything); Psalms 24 (The Chief Shepherd Coming for His Sheep) - Jewish tradition says that this psalm was written to commemorate David’s returning the ark to Jerusalem;


II. READ THE PERICOPE: 1 Samuel 7:6-13 (ESV)

III. READ THE TEXT: 1 Samuel 7:12 (ESV) Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer, for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.”

IV. PURPOSE: To motivate the hearers to affirm to others that Samuel erecting the Memorial Stone serves as a visual reminder of how God helped His people defeat their enemy.



According to Harper’s Bible Dictionary, “Stone” is any large variety of hardened natural inorganic, often mineral, substances. In Biblical time it was found in Palestine largely as limestone mixed with some chert or sandstone …and it provided amply for everyday construction needs.

The Good Book provides references of the Word STONE from a wide spectrum. For instance, a stone could serve as a Memorial, Shrine, or Pledge. A “stone” could cover wells and doorways to tombs. It could serve as a weapon, whether thrown by hand or used as a catapult or sling as David did in his defeat of Israel’s Giant - trial and enemy - Goliath.

There were in biblical times many usage for “Stone”. Use of stone for tools like axes, knives, scrapers, hammers, and grinders, which began in prehistoric times, has continued in some respects to the present day, here, in Iraq. For it has been said “when boys get into a fight, the first weapon likely is a quickly grabbed rock.

Just as the WORD “stone” was used naturally in biblical times; it was also used figuratively or metaphorically. For who can ever forget what the Psalmist said in Psalms 118:22-24 (ESV) as he attempted to describe “HOW” God’s Steadfast Love Endures Forever – when he said:

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us … rejoice …and be glad in it.”

******* TAKE 5 BEATS *******

MOVE 1: Now, my brothers and sisters, the WORD “Ebenezer” is a Hebrew word which means “the STONE” of help.

a. Ebenezer, in the Good Book, serves symbolically as a reminder that God has helped the PEOPLE OF GOD defeat their enemies.

b. Today, the WORD “Ebenezers” is plural because it is to serve as a reminder to all of us – those now serving our country by protecting and defending our Nations’ liberties and that of its allies – God has used (and continue to utilize) Military Members to help defeat the modern day enemies which we can see.

c. Therefore, today, we pause momentarily to give honor to the men and women who have DIED while serving our great nation in uniform.


******* TAKE 5 BEATS *******

MOVE 2: While in the DFAC this past week, I had a conversation with Sergeant First Class Calzada – our “Nothing Happens, Until Something Moves” subject matter expert (SME).

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