SETTING DOWN AND PICKING UP EBENEZER STONES

The following was written by my lovely wife back in 2010. 

I am “setting down” an Ebenezer stone. Please continue reading to find out what in the world I mean.

My sweet, Holy Spirit-sensitive friend Jennifer was encouraging me as I was going through a thick patch of discouragement and frustration. After I thanked her for her care and concern, she sent me this message: “Pick up the Ebenezer stones, sister!” I have to admit, I knew that Ebenezer was a biblical name (No, Charles Dickens didn’t make it up), but I had no clue of its significance. My next step naturally was to Google the term. One of the first things I found was “a reminder of God’s real, holy presence and divine aid. Spiritually and theologically speaking, an Ebenezer can be nearly anything that reminds us of God’s presence and help.” Wow! To make sure that was biblically accurate, I plugged the term into a favorite Bible study website (www.biblegateway.com). There I found a historical account of God’s deliverance of Israel from the Philistines recorded in 1 Samuel 7:5-15 (New American Standard Bible).

Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah and I will pray to the LORD for you.” They gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the LORD.” And Samuel judged the sons of Israel at Mizpah.Now when the Philistines heard that the sons of Israel had gathered to Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the sons of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. Then the sons of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry to the LORD our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it for a whole burnt offering to the LORD; and Samuel cried to the LORD for Israel and the LORD answered him. Now Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, and the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that they were routed before Israel. The men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and struck them down as far as below Beth-car. Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” So the Philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore within the border of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even to Gath; and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. So there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.

As the Israelites were in the process of doing the right thing by repenting, in came the enemy to attack viciously. Sound familiar? In times that you know you’re doing exactly what God wants you to do, the enemy takes his nastiest, meanest, most conniving shots at you. We’re not defenseless though. We have Jesus who defeated the enemy and made us “more than conquerors” in Him!

I know the Lord’s leading me to lean into Him and recall all He’s done for my family and me as He takes us into a new chapter in our lives. As we look forward, we also look back and remember His immense grace and mercy toward us as evidenced time and time again.

When you are experiencing a time of discouragement or despair, let me encourage you, as my precious Jennifer did, to “pick up the Ebenezer stones” and remind yourself that “thus far the LORD has helped us”.

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