Our Ebenezer

Our Ebenezer

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:12)

If you ever visit Thailand, you can take a longtail boat out to Kao Ta Pu, aka “the James Bond rock.”  This colossal pillar of stone, standing at noble attention in the ocean, was featured in “The Man with the Golden Gun.”  Thousands of people visit it every year.

But if you want to see it, you’d better go soon, because the weather has worn it down, and it’s about to crash into the careless sea.

After defeating the Philistine army, Samuel set up a memorial rock to remind the people for generations how God had come to their aid.  His dedication speech was simple, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

“Thus Far…”  It was a sobering reminder that more trouble was bound to come.  This was not the last time the Philistines would attack; not by a long shot.

Friends, the Lord has been with you “thus far” in your life.  Even though you have probably experienced many challenges and setbacks, he has always been your rock; the storms have not toppled you into the sea.

But what about the future?  Do you fret about it frequently like me?  I imagine trouble on the horizon like a chugging typhoon long before it arrives.  And Jesus did say, “in this world, you will have trouble”–No matter how great your faith; no matter how faithful your prayers; no matter how much you plan ahead.

Ebenezer was an immovable sticky note reminder to every worried Israelite plodding that busy road:  “The Lord helped us before, and he will help us again.”

Your baptism is an Ebenezer for you.  The God who delivered you through water into new life will always deliver you.  He’s helped you thus far, and your baptism is the assurance that he will continue to help you to the end.  Unlike Kao Ta Pu, this rock will never wear down and crash into the careless sea.  Mighty cliffs will crumble to dust; but our Rock of Help will never leave us; his love will never crack, not even under the weight of our worst shame.  That’s why Isaiah 54:10 says, “’Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”

Prayer:  Lord, you have helped me to this point; please be my rock of help every moment in the future until you take me home.  Amen.