Ep.1308: What Is Your Ebenezer?
The power of biblically remembering past troubles and victories
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Theme Scripture: 1 Samuel 7:12
The world around us moves so fast that it’s easy to forget to pause and consider just how profoundly God has blessed us. In the United States, somewhere tucked in between the massive Halloween parties and the exhilaration of Christmas, Santa Claus, presents and fun, is a holiday called Thanksgiving. While we won’t take the time to discuss how it came to be, we do want to remember why. Thanksgiving’s origin was actually simple. It was proclaimed to pause and consider just how profoundly blessed those settlers were to have lived through a hard winter and now experience a harvest in preparation for the next hard winter. In short, the thanksgiving they gave was to God above, period. Today we’ll talk about a similar thanksgiving to God but under the biblical name of Ebenezers.
The name of a place and a rock
Back in the days of ancient Israel, even before they had a king, Samuel was God’s prophet for the people. In spite of Samuel’s presence, a series of events led them down a road of essentially abandoning God for over 20 years. Finally, under Samuel’s leadership, they begin to turn back towards God. As their enemies the Philistines are preparing to attack, the people urged Samuel to pray to God for their deliverance. God does miraculously deliver them, and Samuel immediately places a big rock as a remembrance of their experience and proclaims, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” He names the rock Ebenezer.
That’s it. Other than being the name of a location, Ebenezer is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible. So, why would we be focusing on this one little experience with a named rock for lessons about gratitude? The conclusion is that like so many other things in Scripture, there is an incredible substance beneath the surface. Think about it, this rock was just an ordinary boulder in its natural form. Why not carve it into a shape? Why not engrave something on it? And why name the rock "Ebenezer," of all things? And why say, “Thus far” the Lord has helped? Did Samuel think God was going to change His mind?
Check out our November 20, 2023 podcast, “What is Your Ebenezer?” for answers. We dig into all of these questions and find an amazing depth of wisdom in the answers. With the principles we uncover, we trace Ebenezer-like experiences in the New Testament. We find that both Jesus and the Apostle Paul used these principles as valuable ways of capturing the gratitude we should have when God delivers us.
Life can be hectic.
It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the current of world events, social media and the dramas of every day. All of this is really about gratitude and finding practical ways to keep thanksgiving relevant in very specific ways. It turns out, Ebenezers can be powerful and significant tools to remember God’s deliverance with heartfelt thanksgiving, if we know how to use them. Join us and learn what the prophet Samuel taught by simply naming a rock.