“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, NLT
Have you ever had one of those times that you took a step back and just wanted to soak up the memory of the moment?
Maybe it was one of those times where you were so thankful God did something that you were about to burst with gratefulness. I feel like our good buddy Samuel, a prophet for Israel, had one of those experiences in 1 Samuel 7. Israel had just repented of their sins and turned back to the Lord, and not only that, but the Lord intervened and helped Israel defeat their enemies. I am sure for Samuel this was a moment of great relief. Samuel was realizing great answers to his prayers. So, to commemorate this wonderful occasion, Samuel built an Ebenezer, a “stone of help”, as a monument to the faithful help of God.
You know, God has some ebenezers in our life as well. There have been times in my life that could have merited a gigantic stone monument saying something like, “The Lord alone got me through this.” Every prayer I have prayed, God answered. Sometimes His answers were “wait” other times they were answers I didn’t particularly want, but nevertheless, He answered and He faithfully led me even when I didn’t see or understand it.
Unfortunately, most of the time I didn’t stop long enough to acknowledge Him for His answer, much less build a mental “stone” of thankfulness to Him for it.
What about you?
If you have been a child of God for any length of time, you have some experiences where God came through for you. Sometimes you look back and say the same words David said in Psalm 124:2, “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,” then there would have been no success. What if we took a minute today to take a step back and look back to all the times God has saved our relationships, our sanity, our jobs, and our very lives. And from now on, what if we took the time to stop and thank God for the promises He faithfully maintains without ceasing in our lives, and for the merciful protection even when we are the reason there’s trouble in the first place.
We don’t have to go dropping legit real stones in our backyard to build a monument of thanks to Him (although if you feel the need to, be my guest).
What if instead we use those “stones” to build a foundation of trust to Him once again?
The Ebenezer Samuel set up was proof that God had come through each time. Our God has proven Himself to the Israelites and to us. Even in those times that we don’t initially understand, our problem will turn into an answer and it may just end up being one of those stones we step on top of, look back and say, “Thank you God for bringing me this far.”