I Samuel 7
If you have been a Christian for more than a day, I imagine you have felt the sting of Satan’s arrows. Becoming a child of God doesn’t automatically make Satan write us off. In fact, Satan often steps up his efforts to separate us from God. He is not a good loser.
Scripture plainly tells us we are at war. But Scripture also tells us we who are God’s children through the blood of Jesus are on the winning side. Most of us can attest to the victories over sin we have had along the way. It is, however, a little harder to remember the victories when we are fighting for our lives in the middle of the next battle.
Samuel understood that. We humans tend to have short memories. So, after a decisive victory won by the mighty hand of God – there could be no other explanation – Samuel took a boulder and set it up where the victory had happened. He called the stone Ebenezer which meant – God helped us here.
Whenever the Israelites looked at the stone, they could remember how God had helped them defeat the enemy on that very spot. It would give them encouragement as they remembered that victory.
We who are of a certain age, probably remember the hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Most churches have tucked that hymn away because congregations don’t like to have to think when we worship. (If it feels good, do it). But I want to challenge you to read through the words of this hymn and consider the deep meaning you find there. You’ll have to stop and think. Do it anyway. Here’s what I see in the first verse:
Dear God, the source of every blessing, help me to sing about your grace from the depths of my heart. The fact that your mercy never ends ought to cause me to sing your praises with abandon. Teach me to praise you like the angels praise you. Fix my eyes on your redeeming love.
The second verse begins: “Here I raise my Ebenezer; here by Thy great help I’ve come…”
Have you an Ebenezer? I’m not talking about a boulder in your back yard. I’m not even talking about a cross around your neck. In fact, I’m not talking about any THING. I’m talking about right now, in your heart, is there an attitude of gratitude toward God who has brought you to this moment, God who has been faithful in the past and promises to be faithful today, God who has fought beside you and for you?
Have you that place in your heart where you can be reminded of His goodness and protection in your past, and let that be an encouragement in whatever battle you are fighting today?
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) (emphasis mine).
That giving thanks in all circumstances is your Ebenezer.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7) (emphasis mine).
Again, that thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness in the past is your Ebenezer. Raise it up. Draw strength from the truth of it. God has been faithful and will be faithful still. Remember:
Up to this point the Lord has helped us. (1 Samuel 7:12).