“Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” I Samuel 7:12
When Samuel the prophet set up the stone which he called Ebenezer, saying, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us” we may be sure he had several thoughts in mind.
The immediate occasion of his act was a great and single victory, not of their own winning, but God-given over their enemies. Back of that victory, however, was something else. Earlier God’s people had made a solemn covenant in which they had turned from the worship of false gods and had dedicated themselves to serve the Lord alone. It was a genuine repentance, a genuine restoration of private and public worship, and a consecration of themselves to be His obedient people. Lastly, that moment was a constant reminder of God’s wonderful promises made to their fathers and to themselves, from the time of Abraham to that of Samuel – promises conditioned only upon faithfulness and obedience to God.
May I humbly suggest a comparison of the above-mentioned history, to that of the first 81 years of the IBPFM? The birth of this mission board was a great victory on the part of many individuals, renouncing the gods of modernism. It was a stand for restoring the pure worship of God and then to extend the blessings of the genuine Gospel to all the world as the precious gift of God. Yet it was a victory that was indeed God-given.
By His grace, over these past 81 years our missionaries, Board members, and supporters have consecrated themselves to be His obedient people. We today likewise cling to the multitude of precious promises as did our forefathers.
II Chronicles 16:9 “The eyes of Jehovah run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.”
Isaiah 40:29 “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.”
I John 5:14-15 “This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
Matthew 17:20 “Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
There is no need to elaborate this as the whole Bible is replete with such great and precious truths. The stone Samuel erected was a material thing, dedicated to a spiritual service; it was a reminder of all of God’s dealings in the past and was an incentive to service for the future. This mission board is merely a material thing, but indeed it is dedicated to a spiritual service. Its history is a reminder of God’s dealings in the past, and must remain as an incentive to service for the future.
The challenge we face in the near future, is that of missionaries. We have a tremendous need to look to the fields already white unto harvest. Where we have men and women now serving, there is a cry for reinforcements, as the work is great. Where age presents obvious limitations, we have calls for replacements. Where none are standing for the Gospel, there is a plea for someone to come and help.
With those things in mind, I wish to thank our Independent Board family, from the bottom of my heart, for their gracious support in the areas of prayer and finance. As some of you may know, it was in October 1933 that the Charter for The Independent Board was submitted, to be legally recognized. Much has taken place since then, but we can say with great confidence, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”