Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Ebenezer

Happy Thanksgiving!

This has always been far and away my most favorite "holiday" of them all.  I love everything there is about Thanksgiving Day...the food, the family, the fellowship, the focus, the traditions.  It's good to have a day to pause and reflect on the goodness and blessings of life, even though sometimes November rolls around and life isn't treating us particularly well.  There is always something for which to be thankful.

A few years ago, I sat down late one night during Thanksgiving week and blogged about my life's journey...the presence of God at every juncture and fork in the road.  It was good to stop and look back over my shoulder.  To see His gracious kindness to me all of my life.

I don't have much to add or to "improve" upon from that post that I shared from my heart before. It is still my testimony!  I have, however,  been in such a state of mourning these last weeks as I've been reflecting on the state of our nation. Grieving for the folly of our choices and for the trouble that is sure that follow those choices.  Praying also for the peace of Jerusalem.  These are uncertain times we live in.

During this Thanksgiving Week,  however,  I have been thinking over and over about a phrase from a hymn.  In the second verse of the hymn "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" written in 1758 by Robert Robinson, he begins with the words, here I raise my Ebenezer. Most hymnals will clue you in that Ebenezer means "stone of help".  But if you dig a little deeper, you will learn the story behind that symbolism. In I Samuel 7, we read that the Philistines have learned that all of Israel had gathered at a place called Mizpah, and have thus mobilized their army and are advancing to war against the people of  Israel.  The Bible tells us that the Israelites were badly frightened and they went before their prophet Samuel and begged him, "plead with our God to save us from the Philistines!" So Samuel did go before the Lord with a burnt offering and called on God to deliver Israel from this conflict.  Just as he was offering the sacrifice, the Philistines arrived for battle.  God spoke with such a mighty voice from Heaven that the Philistines became confused and unable to fight;  the Israelites rose up and defeated them and chased them from Mizpah.

To express their gratitude for the Lord's help and deliverance, verse 7:12-  "Samuel took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah.  He named it Ebenezer... "stone of help"...for he said "Up to this point the Lord has helped us.

What precious and powerful words!! Up to this point the Lord HAS helped us!! So, take heart my friends! As I have reflected on this, I have felt challenged to find an Ebenezer Stone for our family, and to consistently write on that stone throughout the year the things the Lord has brought us through.  I can hardly wait to get started.

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I've come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the throne of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood. 

On this day that we give thanks, let us also raise up our Ebenezer yet again...let us remember that the Lord our God is one Lord.  He who watches over Israel (and us) doesn't slumber or sleep.  Even in these days that trouble our hearts, He is the Lord Almighty....our eternal Stone of Help.


Making Memories 1999 said...

Tara, I really enjoyed this post. So encouraging! Thank you!

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