So far, so good.

No doubt many have sung the second verse of Robert Robinson’s famous hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” without knowing (or perhaps even caring) what an “ebenezer”

might be. In the revised edition, the word has been expunged in favor of a less obscure reference, but it’s worth a little research to know why it was there in the first place.

When the Lord granted Israel a great victory over the Philistines who had persecuted and killed many of them, Samuel decided to mark the spot with a makeshift memorial. He sets up a stone, saying “Till now the Lord has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12). In doing so, he was following in the footsteps of Jacob and Joshua, both of whom had set up stone monuments to commemorate a momentous time of spiritual clarity.

The word “ebenezer” means “stone of help,” but of course the help came not from the rock, but from Israel’s Rock, the Lord Himself. It’s instructive to notice two things, first that the stone was supposed to remind them of how God undertook for their safety and security, and second, that they soon forgot all about it when, in the very next scene, they ask Samuel for a king (1 Samuel 8).

It’s a good reminder for us to remind ourselves about God’s past faithfulness to us, and also how quickly we can forget. Once we’ve set up “the stone of help,” we must occasionally revisit it. That’s what monuments are all about.

How about you? Is this a good day to set up a marker in tribute to God’s helping you? If so, don’t forget to return to it from time to time. It will keep you from asking for a king other than the Lord.

‚ÄúTherefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.”
2 Peter 1:12

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