Here I raise my Ebenezer
Here by Thy great help I've come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood
Ebenezer? What is your Ebenezer?
This is based on 1 Samuel 7:12. Previously, the Ark of the Covenant had been taken into battle against the Philistines. A lot could be written about this by people much more knowledgeable than myself but suffice it to say, after being defeated by the Philistines, the Israelites tried to "force God's hand" by carrying the Ark of the Covenant into battle. (1 Samuel 4:3)
It was captured by the Philistines who ended up wishing they'd never seen it. They sent it back to Israel where it was handled disrespectfully and those doing so were struck down dead. The people became fearful and left it at a place called Kiriath-jearim for the next 20 years.
After 20 years had passed, the nation began to seek God. They got rid of their idols and rededicated themselves to the LORD. Samuel commanded them to meet at Mizpah where he would intercede for them before the LORD. There at Mizpah, they confessed their sin.
Now the enemy absolutely hates it when anyone starts doing some housecleaning and getting rid of the idols in their lives. Confessing and repenting before the LORD? That couldn't be allowed to continue! Quick! Get the people distracted!
This time, when the the report came that the Philistines were descending upon them instead of rushing out into battle and trying to do things their own way, the people cried out for Samuel to to continue to make intercession for them so that God would rescue them. (1 Samuel 7:8)
As Samuel was making the offering, God moved, the Philistine army was thrown into confusion and panic. The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and slaughtered them. The Bible tells us that The Philistines were subdued and did not invade Israelite territory again (1 Samuel 7:13)
I can't help but notice what Samuel does after the battle. In the KJV and the NIV it says that Samuel took a stone and set it up. That word "stone" is rather misleading. We tend to think of a stone as being along the lines of a small rock. Nothing could be further from the truth. This wasn't some pebble Samuel picked up somewhere. This was more like a rock large enough to be a memorial or monument. This "monument" is given a name. It is named "Ebenezer" which means "stone of help" as a reminder that God helped them. I like how the English Contemporary Version puts it:
The Philistines were so badly beaten that it was quite a while before they attacked Israel again. After the battle, Samuel set up a monument between Mizpah and the rocky cliffs. He named it "Help Monument" to remind Israel how much the LORD had helped them. For as long as Samuel lived, the LORD helped Israel fight the Philistines. 1 Samuel 7:13-14 (CEV)
A "Help Monument". I like that. I think it is critical for us to erect "help monuments". This is what helps us get through the dark and rough times. Revisiting these "help monuments" helps us to remember what God has brought us through in the past and gives us faith to trust God with our present and our future.
Every day, I can't help but notice one of my "help monuments". Although the surgeon did an excellent job, I still have a 2 1/2 scar and a hollow area where a chunk nearly 5 cm. in circumference was removed from me and a two inch scar where my port was insert across from it. I will bear the scars of my battle with cancer for the rest of my life. While the receiving of scars is not pleasant nor are they beautiful to look upon, these scars do not represent defeat to me. Ironically they remind me of God's unfailing love for me. They remind me that God is bigger. They remind me that He truly is my helper.
Psalm 46:1-3 tells me:
1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
The "help monuments" in my life remind me of this truth. God is faithful and He is my helper! Let us not neglect erecting Ebenezers and visiting them often!