In the classic hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” the second verse begins, “Here I raise my Ebenezer …”
Obviously, it is not referring to the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, in Dickens’ Christmas Carol.
The song is harkening back to 1 Samuel 7:12, “Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the LORD has helped us.’”
As a reminder of the great victory God gave Israel over the Philistines, Samuel erected a stone and called it Ebenezer, literally meaning “stone of help.” It was a stone of remembrance, a memorial and testimony of God’s help and provision during times of trouble.
A similar thing happened years before when Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan to enter the Promised Land. After crossing, Joshua had each tribe choose a stone and set it up as a memorial to all generations of God’s faithfulness and provision (see Joshua 4:1-9).
Remembering something is to purposefully keep it in our mind, to preserve the memory of it, or make the effort to recall it.
We each need stones of remembrance in our lives.
It may not be actual rocks, but we need something that will bring to mind the greatness, generosity, glory, and grandeur of our God.
How many times have you said, “I’ll always remember this moment” or “I’ll never forget how God provided in my desperate need” … only to find yourself forgetting it days or weeks later?
I was recently talking to a missionary friend of mine and he said that the greatest honor a missionary receives is having their photo on someone’s fridge—because they know it will be a physical reminder for the family to pray for the missionary, the native people, and the missions work in that country. Their photo becomes an Ebenezer, a physical reminder to think about the missionary and pray.
We all need to create stones of remembrance—an Ebenezer—to “remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember Your wonders of old. I will ponder all Your work, and meditate on Your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?” (Psalm 77:11-13, ESV).
Know I am praying for you and cheering you on down the Narrow Way of the Cross.
PS – today is September 11, 2021, the twenty-year anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11. A good day to remember.