No, this is not Stonehenge. In fact, they are not even boulders. This trio is just a small pile of rocks stacked up along the gravel road where I take my morning walk. Each stack is tiny--just a few inches high--but they stand out like silent sentries just off the shoulder. I have no idea why someone set up this little monument. Seeing it, however, got me thinking about some rocks that became an important memorial in the life of the nation of Israel. Let me tell you the story.
Israel had turned its back on God, but winds of repentance were blowing. The people wanted to change. Samuel, God's leader, said, "You want to get right with God? Then put away the idols. Meet me at Mizpah and I'll pray for you." Little did the people know that their well-intentioned gathering of devotion to God would become their enemies' opportunity to catch them off guard.
As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the LORD thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were routed before Israel. And the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and struck them, as far as below Beth-car. Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, "Till now the LORD has helped us." So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites. (1 Samuel 7:10-14 ESV)
A grateful people wanted a permanent reminder of God's goodness so Samuel took a stone, set it up and called it "Ebenezer." Ebenezer means "stone of help." It was a simple memorial, but a powerful reminder of where their true Help came from.
If you have a long history in the church, you probably have sung the hymn, Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing. The hymn includes the line, "Here I raise my Ebenezer; Here by Thy great help I’ve come."
When I look back on my life, it is quite evident that I am where I am by the great help of God. I need to remember that. Every victory I experience is cause to celebrate. And every victory -- in my family, in my job, in my church . . . in any area of my life -- ultimately comes by the great help of God. As Robert Robinson wrote in 1757, that kind of help "call[s] for songs of loudest praise."
STAY FOCUSED TODAY:Find a little rock and let it serve as your Ebenezer today. When you see it throughout the day, pause and give thanks for God's great help throughout your life . . . throughout today!