Gleaning from Samuel: Standing Stones

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning October 29th, 2017.

Last week:
• Israel at war with the Philistines.
• 34000 died
• Ark of God is captured
• Eli, Hophni and Phinehas die
• The era is seen as a time when the “Glory of God had left Israel.”

Why did this happen?
• They were all living in their on ways, as they saw fit. (Judges 21:25 (NIV) 25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.”
• They lived any way they desired. (mostly - without any regard to God or His law.) This is a constant cycle...You can see it throughput the book of Judges.

1 Samuel 7:1-2 NIV
1 So the men of Kiriath Jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord. They brought it to Abinadab’s house on the hill and consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of the Lord. 2 The ark remained at Kiriath Jearim a long time—twenty years in all.Then all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord.

1 Samuel 5:11-12 NIV
11 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy on it. 12 Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.

Israel took The Ark back and placed it in the house of Abinadab - for 20 years.

1 Samuel 7:2-6 NIV
2 The ark remained at Kiriath Jearim a long time—twenty years in all.Then all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord. 3 So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only. 5 Then Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah, and I will intercede with the Lord for you.” 6 When they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Now Samuel was serving as leader of Israel at Mizpah.

REPENTED: to turn back (rid+commit+serve) = God is Lord over all.
The benefits of His reign: Shalom - provision, health, security

The test of “Am I really your God?”

Though fearful, they stayed true to God and God blessed them.

1 Samuel 7:12 NIV
12 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.”

Standing Stones:
Sacred Stones
Long before the Israelites entered Canaan, pagans in the Middle East erected sacred stones to honor their gods, to declare covenants and treaties between cities, or to honor an important event that could only be explained by the supernatural. These stones were extremely heavy and stood as tall as twenty feet high.

Gezer Stones
Although many standing stones were simple and small, archaeologists uncovered several impressive stones at Tel Gezer. The stones, which were probably put in place before 3000 BC, weigh more than 25 tons each, stand 20 feet tall, and are sunk 20 feet into the earth. Amazingly, they were probably brought to Gezer from a quarry over three miles away!

Hebrew Practice
The Hebrew word translated "standing stones" is massebah and means "to set up." The Israelites followed ancient customs by setting up standing stones as a reminder of God's covenant and supernatural acts on their behalf. The story of the stone was passed down from generation to generation through oral tradition.

Biblical Examples
On several occasions, the Bible mentions significant events that were commemorated with standing stones:

Jacob set up stone pillars at Bethel in order to remember his powerful dream, in which God reaffirmed his covenant with him (Genesis 28:18-21, 35:14-15).

Moses built twelve standing stones at the foot of Mount Sinai after receiving the Ten Commandments and other laws (Exodus 24:2-4).

The Israelites erected standing stones to remember their miraculous crossing of the Jordan River (Joshua 4:2-3, 8-9).

Joshua built a standing stone when the covenant was renewed at Shechem (Joshua 24:27).

Standing stones proclaim that God did something here. They are a witness to those who come by and see the stones, a witness of something great. These stones make people take notice and ask, what happened here. (Historical markers)

New Testament
In the New Testament, Peter builds on standing stone imagery when he describes believers as "living stones"

1 Peter 2:1-6 NIV
1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:“See, I lay a stone in Zion,a chosen and precious cornerstone,and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

Thought: Peter probably wanted his readers to think of themselves as living standing stones-people who live out their faith so boldly that others take notice. As living stones, we should proudly tell about the difference that God has made in our lives.

Has God made a difference in your life? Have you met Him as Lord on His terms?

Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV
6 For to us a child is born,to us a son is given,and the government will be on his shoulders.And he will be calledWonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peacethere will be no end.He will reign on David’s throneand over his kingdom,establishing and upholding itwith justice and righteousnessfrom that time on and forever.The zeal of the Lord Almightywill accomplish this.

Have you experienced the mighty act of God establishing His reign in your heart?

Have you found guidance in the Wonderful Counselor?

Have you been empowered by the strength of Mighty God?

Have you met the unending provision of Everlasting Father?

Do you have the hope and inner confidence given in the Prince of Peace? If you have, be a living stone. One who proclaims the mighty acts of God. If you haven’t, why not today? Repent and make Him Lord of all.


1 Corinthians 11:23-26 NIV
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Proclaim: you become a standing stone.

As we take the bread and the cup, we are proclaiming we believe in Him who was given to redeem us back from sin and into a powerful, intimate relationship with Himself, Almighty God.

We remember what the Lord has done, what He has established, His mighty act of love. As (living) standing stones, we proclaim what has happened. Jesus died the death I should have died, paid my sin debt, and then through God’s mighty power in love, conquered death by raising HIs son from the dead. Death is defeated, the grave doesn’t hold me. I am not under the curse of death and separation from God any longer.

I remember, I believe, I surrender, I proclaim