Jim Burns Homeword Daily Devotional for Parenting and Christian Family

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HomeWord - Sept. 23, 2008


Raise Thy Ebenezer
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

"Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far has the Lord helped us." 1 Samuel 7:13

In the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel, in chapter 7, we read how the Israelites were under attack from the Philistines.  The Israelites were afraid, so they asked Samuel to pray to God, asking God to rescue them.  As Samuel was making a sacrifice to the Lord on behalf of the people, the Philistines attacked.  But the Lord heard the prayer of Samuel and helped the Israelites win the battle.  “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far has the Lord helped us." 

The stone acted as a reminder of how the Lord had delivered the Israelites from the hands of the Philistines.  The term “Ebenezer” comes from a Greek word that simply means stone of help.  Those who raise an Ebenezer are acknowledging that they were helped greatly by God in their lives.

Throughout the Old Testament, the people make monuments and memorials to praise God, but also to remind themselves of God’s great deliverance.  Remembering God’s answered prayers strengthens our faith and confidence in the Lord.  When we reflect on and remember His answered prayers, we can more easily trust that the God who was there yesterday, and is there today, will be there tomorrow.

So the next time you sing the hymn called “Come, Though Fount of Every Blessing,” sing the second verse with gusto.  “Here I raise my Ebenezer, Here by thy great help I’ve come.”  The term Ebenezer shouldn’t simply remind you of Ebenezer Scrooge from the popular Dickens Christmas Carol.  For when you sing that verse, you are declaring praises to God and thankfulness for His heart to help His people.  In essence, you are recognizing God’s great help in your life.

Going Deeper: 

  1. Where have you seen God’s helping hand in your life? 
  2. What ways can you celebrate and remember the way God has helped you so you do not forget? 

Further Reading: 
Joshua 4:9; Proverbs 18:10; John 17:22-24  

Kelly McFadden works with HomeWord’s radio broadcast and content teams. She and her husband Michael are the new parents of Campbell McFadden.

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