Acts 28:17-31; 1 Samuel 6-7; Psalm 53
Have you ever thought about the words of some of our hymns, or do you just sing them laughing at some of the phraseology? One phrase that always gets most people comes from the song “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” “Here I raise mine Ebenezer….” If we think about that line at all, most of us find some way to relate it to Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol.” Ebenezer, however, is a real place. A great battle took place between the Philistines and the Israelites, well, two actually. It was in the first battle that the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines as they strengthened their rule over Israel. In the second battle, God appeared and drove the Philistines into a panic and the Israelites threw off the yoke of the Philistines. “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far has the LORD helped us.’” (I Samuel 7:12) Ebenezer was a stone set as a marker to remind the people of Israel that God had helped them by defeating the Israelites. It was a reminder for the Israelites if ever they wondered about God’s presence or help in their lives. Often in life, great victories are followed by great challenges. After seeing God do mighty things we face a difficulty and we wonder if God is really helping. Samuel set up Ebenezer for the Israelites to remember God’s presence. We would do well to give ourselves a reminder of God’s presence in our lives for the times when things get difficult, as they will. Remember how God has helped you in the past. He didn’t help you in the past so that He could ignore you now. Find some way to remember how God has helped to get you through the troubled times that will come in the future.
Lord, how often I live in the moment. When things are going well, I know that I have Your love and Your presence. When things aren’t going well, I begin to wonder if You really love me. Remind me each day of Your presence. Remind me each day of Your power and Your desire to help me.