May 28, 2018
As a Memorial
Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us. – 1 Samuel 7:12
Recently, I visited Washington D.C. and went to several of the national monuments in that city. I saw the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Capitol, the White House, and other impressive places. One thing that thrilled me was the fact that many of these locations are marked as memorials. These are built and preserved to help Americans remember the great history of how this country came to exist, and the struggles that were overcome along the way. This made me ponder how important memorials are to our Christian existence.
The Bible says that Samuel took a stone and set it up as a memorial between Mizpeh and Shen, and he called it Ebenezer, which means, “stone of help.” What necessitated that? The Philistines were arrayed against the Israelites, ready to do battle with them. Samuel prayed unto God, and God heard his prayer and defeated the Philistines. Certainly, that amazing example of divine intervention in a time of crisis is something to remember.
The concept of memorials is woven through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. In the Old Testament, God ordered that the two tables of stones, on which the Ten Commandments were written, should be kept in the Ark of the Covenant. When the Children of Israel crossed Jordan, God instructed them through their leader, Joshua, to build a monument with the twelve stones they had taken from the riverbed. Those stones served as a memorial to future generations.
Why is God so interested in memorials? The fact is that our memories are short-lived. We can easily forget the goodness of God in times of trouble, but God wants us to remember all the good things He has done for us. Memorials of God’s goodness are what encouraged and gave David victory when He was facing Goliath—he knew that the Lord who delivered him out of the paws of the lion and the bear would give him victory over Goliath. David was greatly encouraged as he went down memory lane! Did it work for Him? Yes, it did.
Will it work for us? Yes, it will. Let us take note of God’s providential care in our lives and remind ourselves regularly of all His benefits.