The God who helps
“And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel, but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them, and they were smitten before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Bethcar. Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, hitherto hath the LORD helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:10-12
The year 2022 was not an easy one for many, and while most hearts burned with the hope that 2023 would grant them favour, Bishop Steve Hepburn is reminding us to look to the heavens from whence our help comes, with the confidence that God can do for us more than we think we can do for ourselves.
Hepburn, who was preaching at the Spaulding New Testament Cathedral for the Alphansus Davis High School anniversary church service underscored the importance of acknowledging the power of God in every circumstance.
“Instead of exerting effort and trying various means and methods that do not work. I want to let us know that there is someone who is available. There is a prayer line that is available that is never busy, always available. We can always call on Jesus because his help is always available.”
The bishop alluded to the overwhelming victory experienced by the Israelites who pursued the Philistines, in the text above, as a reminder that God would always fight our battles and ensure victory, even when we have lost faith.
“The Lord had helped his people up to this point. The idea is that God has been helping Israel, to this very moment in history. He has not been absent. The same God who helped is the same God, he has not changed. He has not gone on retirement, He is still active, He is still omnipotent, He is still omniscient, the one who is always available to help.”
Recounting the instances in the Bible where God came through for his people, Hepburn added that in our humanness it is easy to think that God might not come through, but he said this could quickly be changed when we reflect on life and present day.
“It wasn’t easy, but we crossed over. We have been through fire, the storms, the rains, but here I am. Had it not been for God’s grace and mercy. Some people thought that you wouldn’t have made it, some thought you would have been dead, but here you are.”
He said it should never be taken for granted what God saves us from daily.
“We must acknowledge that without him, we wouldn’t have gotten where we are. It is also an act of humility to remind ourselves from where God has picked us up and for that we have got to be grateful for the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Bishop Hepburn added, “Anytime we open our mouths to thank God, we are saying ‘Lord we enthrone you, we lift you up’. When we begin to exalt God like this, He is granting us an audience into his presence. Say thank you Lord for your blessings on me.”