February 26, 2019

365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 88: God Who Helps Us

God Who Helps Us

"Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far the LORD has helped us.'" 
(1 Samuel 7:12 NIV)

If you grew up in a hymn-singing church or if you attend one now, have you ever found yourself singing a word and thinking, "What in the world is this talking about?" 

Such was the case with the timeless hymn "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and the phrase, "Here I raise my Ebenezer." I was always pretty sure it had nothing to do with Scrooge or with Dickens' A Christmas Carol. But that was as far as my understanding went until the worship team I'm blessed to be part of decided that if we were going to lead our congregation in singing about "Ebenezer," we'd better teach about it first. 

"Ebenezer" means "stone of help," and in its original context, it is a rock of remembrance: God had just led the Israelites to an improbable victory over the Philistines, and so the prophet Samuel set the Ebenezer stone up as a physical testimony to what God had done. The idea was that in the future, people would see the stone and ask about it, and someone would again tell the story of God's provision of help.

This is so good to know, because rehearsing what God has done builds our faith. We act on what we remember, so recalling God's past activity informs our present actions. 

Several seasons ago, my ladies' Bible study group learned about the Ebenezer stone, and at our closing spring brunch that year, two of our craftier members (read: not me) gifted each of us with our own rock of remembrance: a stone coaster stamped with a lovely design and a P (short for the name of our group, Proverbs 32...which is a story for another time). My coaster sits within arm's reach of where I'm working right now, and when I see it, I remember: "thus far the Lord has helped me." 

Sweet friends, perhaps you'll want to raise your own Ebenezer somewhere in your house or yard: a "stone of help" you'll see every day that will both remind you—"thus far the Lord has helped me"—and reassure you: "And He will help me further still."

*   *   *   *   *   *
Song suggestion: "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing;"  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax_NMWLEb6U; Chris Rice; original hymn lyrics by Robert Robinson.

Scriptural comparison: https://www.biblestudytools.com/1-samuel/7-12-compare.html.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!