Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far has the Lord helped us.” –1 Samuel 7:13
In the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel, in chapter 7, we read how the Israelites were under attack from the Philistines. The Israelites were afraid, so they asked Samuel to pray to God, asking God to rescue them. As Samuel was making a sacrifice to the Lord on behalf of the people, the Philistines attacked. But the Lord heard the prayer of Samuel and helped the Israelites win the battle. “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far has the Lord helped us.”
The stone acted as a reminder of how the Lord had delivered the Israelites from the hands of the Philistines. The term “Ebenezer” comes from a Hebrew word that simply means, “stone of help.” Those who raise an Ebenezer are acknowledging that they were helped greatly by God in their lives.
Throughout the Old Testament, the people make monuments and memorials to praise God, but also to remember God’s great acts of deliverance. Remembering God’s answered prayers strengthens our faith and confidence in the Lord. When we reflect on and remember His answered prayers, we can more easily trust that the God who was there yesterday, and is there today, and will be there tomorrow.
So the next time you sing the hymn called “Come, Though Fount of Every Blessing,” sing the second verse with gusto. “Here I raise my Ebenezer, Here by thy great help I’ve come.” The term Ebenezer shouldn’t simply remind you of Ebenezer Scrooge from the popular Dickens Christmas Carol. For when you sing that verse, you are declaring praises to God and thankfulness for His heart to help His people. In essence, you are remembering God’s great help in your life.
1. Where have you seen God’s helping hand in your life?
2. What ways can you celebrate and remember the way God has helped you so you do not forget?
Joshua 4:9; Proverbs 18:10; John 17:22-24