1Samuel 7:8-14 We read about the Philistines coming to attack the Israelites, and how God makes a great thundering sound and it scares them off. Then Samuel the prophet sets up a stone in remembrance and calls it “Ebenezer” and said, “thus far the Lord has helped us”
Whenever we think of the word Ebenezer, most of us think of Charles Dicken’s story entitled The Christmas Carol and the character of Ebenezer Scrooge. I wonder if Charles Dicken’s was aware of what the word Ebenezer meant when he chose that name for his character? From reading about Charles Dicken’s religious background, he probably did know the meaning of the word when he chose that name for the character. It is definitely an ironic name for a person to whom God had given great blessings of wealth, yet who did not think to consider God at all in his life. Much less to thank God for those blessings.
Ebenezer is a Hebrew word which means, “stone of help”. As you can see from the use in the Bible the stone was placed by Samuel to remind the people of Israel each time they passed by it, that “God had helped them thus far”. That is an excellent reminder to all of us. Each time we have doubts or worries in our lives if we remember that God is our “stone of help” or “Ebenezer” then we will rebuild/bolster our faith. Sometimes these memorial stones which are found throughout the Bible are called “Standing Stones” but the purpose is always to remind the people of God what God has done for them in their lives.
We have a lot of large grandiose memorials in our country and around the world…most of them have little to do with God, but memorialize people or events in history. The Ebenezer stone did not have any writing on it to tell anyone why it was there. In Biblical times the people just knew the stones, and it was passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth what had been done by God which caused the stone to be put there. It was a means of glorifying God from one generation to the next continually.
Just as Ebenezer Scrooge failed to glorify God until the end of the story, when little Timmy said, “God Bless us everyone!” We often fail within our families to recognize what God has done in our lives and to share that information with those around us. This is what witnessing is all about…we not only need to witness about who Jesus is and the salvation that is offered to us, but we also need to show that our faith is a living and effective faith in our life. It is not just some mysterious end of life you won’t go to hell thing, but it has an affect on your day to day existence. So today please think of where God has helped you in your life…and as it says in the famous song, “Come Thou Fount of Many Blessings”….make God your Ebenezer…your “stone of help”.