1 Samuel 7:1-13
After God gave the Israelites victory over the Philistines, Samuel does something particularly intentional. He took a stone and set it up and he named it Ebenezer – The Lord has helped us. Today, one of the definitions in Merriam-Webster for Ebenezer is “a commemoration of divine assistance.” The example of its use is from the hymn ‘Come Thou Fount’ – ‘here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by Thy help I’m come.’ Samuel was making a commemoration, a memorial of God’s intervention. Throughout the Old Testament, stones are raised commemorating divine encounters. Through the years, these stones and altars would constantly remind the people of what God had done. The Israelites would point these stones out to their children, and tell them the story of how God visited Jacob in a dream, of how God withdrew the waters so that Joshua and the Israelites could cross, and how God gave Samuel and the Israelites victory over the Philistines.
These Ebenezer stones served as reminders of the goodness of God. Natural, meaningless items became infused with spiritual significance. They reminded the people of what God had done. This in turn provoked the people to give thanks to God. As we remember the times of breakthrough, of answered prayer, and the moments of God’s grace being fulfilled in our lives, we are reminded of God’s character. As we think and meditate on His acts, God’s nature is more fully revealed.
It is important in our own lives to take time to remember and give thanks to God for what He has done in our lives, and in the lives of those around us. As we keep reminders in front of our eyes, our understanding of God’s kindness, goodness, mercy and love are renewed. Our review of these events serve to renew and revise our own view of God, and they become a touchstone in times of doubt. They prove God’s perfect character. May God continually bless you, and may you raise a memorial of the testimony of Jesus Christ in your own life.