Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer for he said, "Thus far the Lord has helped us." I Samuel 7:12 NRSV
When singing the hymn, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" [Words by Robert Robinson, 1758, based on this verse] I always think of two things: Ebenezer Scrouge and a mug of beer. Okay, I think you can see why "A Christmas Carol" - but the beer? Well, when we raise the Ebenezer, I think of raising a drink to toast God's health or something.
But the scripture is not something out of an 18th century tavern. Instead, the word ebenezer actually means Stone of Help. Samuel is using a rock to remind the people that it is God who helps. You see, the people were fighting against the Philistines and they got scared. They cried out to Samuel, their religious leader (but not a fighter) to keep praying to God on their behalf. Samuel got busy and not only prayed but offered up a special sacrifice. The Israelites were victorious, running their enemies from their lands much farther than they had hoped. Samuel is reminding them whose victory this really was.
What ebenezer do you need to remind you that God is your source of help? Perhaps you are right now looking for help so that you can lift up an ebenezer. In either case, we need to pray and to remind ourselves that it is God who is the source of all our help and victory.
God, thank you for helping me in the past but please don't stop! I recall all of the times when you have been the helper of my life. Help me now! In Jesus' Holy name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims