Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”
I Samuel 7.12
Classic! One of my favorite verses in this early portion of I Samuel.
The Israelites had just witnessed the Lord win a miraculous victory over the Philistines; their formidable and constant enemy.
And so they set up a stone, a memorial to the Lord which served as reminder of the victory and a declaration of thanksgiving but it went a bit further yet.
The name given to the stone was Ebenezer which means, “stone of help” and in His declaration Samuel said, “Thus far the Lord has helped us”. “Today we mark this place, we set up a standard and we erect this memorial to the Lord making this declaration… 'thus far the Lord has helped us'”.
This is a very practical, simple and extremely powerful model to follow in our walk.
Pause, regardless of where you are in your life right now… put it in neutral. Take a look back over your life and survey your past for just a moment. Can you see the hand of the Lord working covering, providing, protecting? Is there any place where He let you down, dropped the ball or abandoned you? Any time when He didn’t come through? Any time things weren’t working together for good in your life?
You might be saying “yes, there is”. For you, let me lovingly recommend you take that to the Lord and ask Him to reveal His greater purpose, His sovereignty, His grace to you. I know He will open your eyes and heart. But that is another subject all together.
For the rest of us, though we might not have seen it or understood it at the time, we can now see that without fail, the Lord has brought victory into my life. THUS FAR HE HAS HELPED ME. No exceptions, no debate about it; it is absolutely true… God has never failed me.
If that is true for you, today might be a good day to set a marker, to place a standard and make that declaration as Samuel did.
Here is the deal.
I am reconfirming God’s faithfulness to me. Not how the Lord was faithful to someone else, not the teaching of the Word on faith, not exhortation from the pulpit on being a man or woman of faith; this is my testimony! It is not doctrinal, not hypothetical and not anecdotal, it is experiential… and it is my experience.
No one has to convince me or convict me and no one has to understand it really, its mine. It is my memorial of God’s faithfulness in my life. Thus far he has helped me.
Now this could certainly be expanded; a couple could do the same thing and say thus far he has helped us, a family could do likewise; a church leadership could do the same (and I am here to tell you we have done just this very thing) and declare, “Thus far the Lord has helped us."
So what does that looking backward do for me? It gives me confidence as I look ahead. It is very simple and very powerful. I thus far God has helped me, and I am the one who concluded that!
If can say that in my own heart… God has helped me every day up to this point. This gives me confidence to move forward with the expectation that His faithfulness will not fail me now.
Ebenezer, a very good idea; a memorial to God’s faithfulness.