Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm 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.
"Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing"
Recently, I was singing with a group of men at a men's retreat and someone led us in an old hymn called "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." The words sounded odd to my ear and I found myself questioning the meaning of the words. What is an "Ebenezer?" "Hither by thy help I'm come?" I knew there was a Bible verse related to this concept and so I went looking for it and found 1 Samuel 7:12.
Samuel took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer—"the stone of help"—for he said, "Up to this point the Lord has helped us!"
1 Samuel 7:12, NLT
In 1 Samuel 7 we read that the people of Israel won a great victory against the Philistine army. The Israelites had humbled themselves before God, repented of their sin and God had intervened to protect them from the invading army. Samuel, the prophet, raises up a stone and declares that it is a reminder of this event. It is a reminder of God's help and a reminder of the repentance of the people which put them in right relationship with God.
This made me think of events in my own life worthy of a memorial stone. If I were to raise up stones to remind myself of significant events in my spiritual life, what moments would be memorialized? There might be a stone at the place of my repentance and baptism before God; another at the place at which I married my wife with whom I have learned to follow Jesus; there would stones at the place where we saw God call us into various careers along the journey; a stone raised up at the sale of a house in Calgary; there would be stones at places where we saw great answers to prayer: the way God has healed Maureen's body relative to neurological tremors she had experienced; the way God took away pain and a mass in my brain; and a stone raised up at places where God chose to reject our prayer for healing in the life of a friend who went on to be healed in heaven. There would be many more stones as well. Stones raised up at the birth of each of three healthy daughters. Stones raised up at the marriage of three healthy daughters to three great son-in-laws; and stones raised up at many other events that I have forgotten because I did not raise up stones at the time.
It occurred to me that this blog has become a contemporary "Ebenezer" for my life. It is a place where I memorialize significant events in the journey of my life. I encourage you this day to take some time to look at your own life and ask yourself, "Where would I raise the stones of remembrance and the stones of God's help in my life?"