Hitherto

Hitherto hath the LORD helped us. – 1 Samuel 7:12

The word “hitherto” seems like a hand pointing in that direction. Look back, look back. Twenty years-thirty-forty-fifty-sixty-seventy-eighty-“hitherto!” say that each of you. Through poverty-through wealth-through sickness-through health-at home-abroad-on the land-on the sea-in honor-in dishonor-in perplexity-in joy-in trial-in triumph-in prayer-in temptation-hitherto. Put the whole together. I like sometimes to look down a long avenue of trees. It is very delightful to gaze from end to end of the long vista, a sort of leafy temple with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves. Cannot you look down the long aisles of your years, look at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of lovingkindness and faithfulness which bear your joys? Are there no birds in yonder branches singing? Surely, there must be many. And the bright sunshine and the blue sky are yonder; and if you turn round in the far distance, you may see heaven’s brightness and a throne of gold.

Great God, we sing that mighty hand,
By which supported still we stand:
The opening year thy mercy shows;
Let mercy crown it till it close.

By day, by night, at home, abroad,
Still we are guarded by our God:
By his incessant bounty fed,
By his unerring counsel led.

With grateful hearts the past we own;
The future, all to us unknown,
We to thy guardian care commit,
And peaceful leave before thy fe
et.

In scenes exalted or depress’d,
Be thou our joy, and thou our rest;
Thy goodness all our hopes shall raise,
Adored through all our changing days.

“Hitherto! hitherto!” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0500.cfm

The Voice of God is Heard!

And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that He will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. – 1 Samuel 7:8

The Philistines were not routed except by prayer. Samuel prayed unto the Lord. They said, “Cease not to cry unto the Lord for us.” Brethren, let us bear our witness that if aught of good has been accomplished it has been the result of prayer… As there was prayer and sacrifice, you must remember that in answer to the sweet savor of the lamb and the sweet perfume of Samuel’s intercession, Jehovah came forth to rout his foes. I read not that Israel shouted a war-cry. No, their shouts would not have been heard amid those great thunders. I find that they dashed to battle; but it was not their bow, their spear, their sword, that gained the victory. Hearken, my brethren, the voice of God is heard! Crash-crash! Where are you now, ye sons of Anak! The heavens shake, the earth rocks, the everlasting hills do bow, the birds of the air fly to the coverts of the forest to hide themselves, the timid goats upon the mountains seek the clefts of the rocks. Peal on peal the thunders roll till mountain answers mountain in loud uproar of affright. From crag to crag leaps the live lightning, and the Philistines are all but blinded by it, and stand aghast, and then take to their heels and fly. Quit yourselves like men, O Philistines, that ye be not servants to the Hebrews. Quit yourselves like men, but unless ye be gods ye must tremble now. Where are your bucklers and the bosses thereof? Where are your spears and the sheen thereof? Now let your swords flash from their scabbards; now send out your giants and their armor-bearers! Now let your Goliaths defy the Lord God of hosts! Aha! Aha! Ye become like women, ye quake! ye faint! See, see! they turn their backs and fly before the men of Israel, whom they counted but as slaves. They flee. The warrior flees and the stout heart quails, and the mighty man flees like a timid dove to his hiding-place. “Glory be unto the Lord God of Israel: His own right hand and His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory.” Beloved, if aught of good has been accomplished, or if you and I have routed sin, how hath it been? Not by our strength, not by our power, but by the glorious voice of God. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0500.cfm

Come to Mizpeh

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 7:12

Mizpeh was the place of renewed covenant, and its name signifies the watch-tower. These people came together to renew their covenant with God, and wait for Him as upon a watch-tower. Whenever God’s people look back upon the past they should renew their covenant with God. Put your hand into the hand of Christ anew, thou saint of the Most High, and give thyself to Him again. Climb thy watch-tower and watch for the coming of thy Lord. See whether there be sin within thee, temptation without thee,-duty neglected or lethargy creeping over thee. Come to Mizpeh, the watch-tower; come to Mizpeh the place of the renewal of the covenant, and then set up your stone and say, “Hitherto, the Lord hath helped us.”

It seems to me that the spot where Samuel said “Ebenezer,” was exceedingly similar in many respects to the position occupied by us this day. I do not think the children of Israel could with heartier joy say “Ebenezer!” than we can. We have had many sins, a share of sorrows, and some defeats by reason of our own folly. I hope we have humbled ourselves before God, and lamented after Him, and desired to behold Him, and to dwell very near Him, and that our soul doth bless His name while we renew the covenant again this day, and while we come to the watch-tower and wait to hear what God the Lord will speak unto us. Come, then, let us sing together, “Hitherto the Lord hath helped us.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0500.cfm

Penitence and Praise Must Always Sing Together

Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer… – 1 Samuel 7:12

Dear friends, as we pile that stone thinking how God has helped us, let us shed tears of sorrow to think how ungrateful we have been. On earth penitence and praise must always sing together. Just as in some of our tunes there are two or three parts, we shall always need repentance to take the bass notes while we are here, while faith in praise can mount up to the very highest notes of the divine gamut of gratitude. Yes, with our joy for pardoned guilt we mourn that we pierced the Lord, and with our joy for strengthened graces and ripening experience, we must mourn over ingratitude and unbelief. Hitherto the Lord hath helped thee, and yet thou didst once say, “My God has forgotten me.” Hitherto the Lord hath helped thee, and yet thou didst murmur and complain against Him. Hitherto the Lord hath helped thee, and yet thou didst once deny Him like Peter. Hitherto the Lord hath helped thee, and yet thine eye hath gone astray after vanity, and thy hand hath touched sin, and thy heart hath played the wanton. Let us repent, my brethren, for it is through our tears, that we shall best perceive the beauty of these grateful words, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”

You must remember, too, that Ebenezer was the place of lamentation after the Lord. They came together to pray God to return to them. We shall surely see God when we long after Him. If you personally have lost the light of His face, pray-

“Return, O holy Dove! return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn,
And drove Thee from my breast.”

And if it be the entire Church, and in any measure our love has grown cold, and the converting and sanctifying Spirit has departed, let us pray also the same prayer.

“Savior, visit Thy plantation;
Grant us, Lord, a gracious rain!
All will come to desolation,
Unless Thou return again;
Lord, revive us,
All our help must come from Thee!”

The place of revival should be the place of gracious thankfulness. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0500.cfm

On the Field of Ebenezer

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 7:12

Much valuable instruction, much excitement to devout thankfulness may be found in the spot where the stone of Ebenezer was set up. Twenty years before on that field Israel was routed. Twenty years before, Hophni and Phineas, the priests of the Lord, were slain upon that ground, and the ark of the Lord was taken, and the Philistines triumphed. It was well that they should remember the defeat they had sustained, and that amidst the joyous victory they should recollect that the battle had been turned into a defeat unless the Lord had been upon their side. Brethren, let us remember our defeats. Have we forgotten when we went out in our own strength determined to subdue our corruptions, and found ourselves weak as water? Have you forgotten when you reposed in the ark of the Lord, when you rested in ceremonies and ordinances, and not in the rock of your salvation? Have you forgotten, I say, how you were discomfited before your sins and found no place of refuge from your adversaries? Have we forgotten our pitiful failures in preaching and prayer when we waited not upon God for strength? Or those times of groaning, when none have believed our report because the Lord’s arm was not revealed. I call to remembrance all my failures as I stand on this hill of joy. I doubt not, that on the field of Ebenezer there were the graves of thousands who had been slain in the fight. Let the graves of our past proud notions, the graves of our self-confidence, the graves of our creature-strength and boasting, stir us up to praise the Lord who hath hitherto helped us…Oh, ye that have proven your weakness, perhaps by some terrible fall, or in some sad disappointment, let the recollection of the spot where you were vanquished constrain you the more to praise the Lord who hath helped you even to this day to triumph over your adversaries. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0500.cfm

Mark the Hand of God

“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 7:12.

It is certainly a very delightful thing to mark the hand of God in the lives of ancient saints. How profitable an occupation to observe God’s goodness in delivering David out of the jaw of the lion and the paw of the bear; His mercy in passing by the transgression, iniquity, and sin of Manasseh; His faithfulness in keeping the covenant made with Abraham; or His interposition on the behalf of the dying Hezekiah. But, beloved, would it not be even more interesting and profitable for us to mark the hand of God in our own lives? Ought we not to look upon our own history as being at least as full of God, as full of His goodness and of His truth, as much a proof of His faithfulness and veracity as the lives of any of the saints who have gone before? I think we do our Lord an injustice when we suppose that He wrought all His mighty acts in days of yore, and showed Himself strong for those in the early time, but doth not perform wonders or lay bare His arm for the saints that are now upon the earth. Let us review, I say, our own diaries. Surely in these modern pages we may discover some happy incidents, refreshing to ourselves and glorifying to our God. O beloved, He has manifested Himself unto us as He doth not unto the world. Forget not these manifestations; fail not to rejoice in them. Surely, beloved, the goodness of God of old has been repeated unto us. The manifestations of His grace to those gone to glory has been renewed to us, and delivering mercies as experienced by them are not unknown even to us, upon whom the ends of the world are come. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0500.cfm

Sanctify the Name of God in Your Lives

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth.” – John 17:17

The one point of failure to be most deeply regretted would be a failure in the holiness of our church members. If you yourselves act as others do, what witness do you bear? If your families are not graciously ordered; if your business is not conducted upon principles of the strictest integrity; if your speech is questionable as to purity or truthfulness; if your lives are open to serious rebuke-how can God accept you or send a blessing on the church to which you belong? It is all falsehood and deceit to talk about your being the people of God when even men of the world shame you. Your faith in the Lord Jesus must operate upon your lives to make you faithful and true, it must check you here, and excite you there; it must keep you back from this, and drive you on to that; it must constantly operate upon thought and speech and act, or else you know nothing of its saving power. How can I speak more distinctly and emphatically? Do not come to me with your experiences, and your convictions, and your professions, unless you sanctify the name of God in your lives. O brethren, we had better quit our professions if we do not live up to them. In the name of Him who breathed this prayer just before His face was encrimsoned with the bloody sweat, let us cry mightily unto the Father, “Sanctify us through Thy truth, Thy Word is truth.”

Nothing is truth to me but this one Book, this infallibly inspired writing of the Spirit of God. It is incumbent upon us to show the hallowed influence of this Book. The vows of God are on us, that by our godly lives we should show forth His praises who has brought us out of darkness into His marvellous light. This Bible is our treasure. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1890.cfm