As Samuel neared the end of his life, he delivered a speech to his people (1 Sam. 12). He exhorted them to remember God’s faithfulness in delivering them from their enemies. Yet, the Israelites were prone to forget the Lord. Sound familiar? Living a life of praise and thanksgiving helps us to remember God. As we acknowledge his faithful involvement in our lives in the past, we are more likely to recognize His activity in the present and to trust that He will work out His plans in the future.
I remember as a kid singing a verse from the old hymn, Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, that encouraged me to raise my Ebenezer. The only Ebenezer I knew was good old Scrooge from Dickens' Christmas Carol. I later learned that the hymn writer's Ebenezer call was part of a larger story in 1 Samuel 7. In this chapter, we see how Samuel led the Israelite army to victory, with the Lord's help, against their archenemies, the Philistines. After the battle, Samuel set up a stone to commemorate the victory; he named it "Ebenezer," which means "stone of help." He wanted the Israelites to remember God's faithfulness - "Thus far the Lord has helped us" (v. 12).
How has God helped you? How is He helping you today? Don't forget God's faithfulness. As we remember and share God's faithful acts in our lives, we will raise an Ebenezer that will encourage us and others to trust God with the challenges that come our way.
Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (second verse) by Robert Robinson, 1758