October 27, 2021
Scripture: Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the LORD has helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12 ESV
Observation: The Hebrew meaning for Ebenezer is “stone of help.” Samuel erected this monument to remind Israel and its future generations how their Lord granted them victory over the Philistines (their arch-enemies). Samuel had called out God’s people to put away their idols and serve the Lord wholeheartedly. They confessed their sins, and Samuel consequently offered a lamb sacrifice for their trespasses against the Lord. In response, Yahweh “thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel.”
Takeaway: Memorials are only as helpful as our desire to remember. Indeed, stone monuments disintegrate with time, but there remains one lasting memorial that stands for all eternity: the Gospel. While each of us has witnessed God’s redemptive work in our own lives, the Cross of Christ and the empty tomb stand alone as the greatest act of salvation in all of history. So how can we build memorials that remind us of God rescuing us in Christ? By staying in his Word, in his community, and by telling others of his wondrous works.
In 1758, at twenty-two years of age, Robert Robinson penned the hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, in response to hearing John Wesley proclaim the Gospel two years earlier. Seeking to memorialize his conversion experience, he writes in the second stanza: “Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come; and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.” His is a memorial to Christ that stands the test of time.
Prayer: Father God, would you please help us build memorials to your Son that will remind us and others of your strong arm of salvation that has brought us forgiveness and eternal life in Christ? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling