1 Samuel 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
The word Ebenezer means “stone of help,” and Samuel wanted the people to remember that it was the hand of God that helped them against the Philistines. This was a new day in the life of the Israelites and was ushering in a period of Samuel’s leadership in which they would not be overrun by the enemy. He was acknowledging that it was God who was their helper.
Jerome reminds us of the Christ, the cornerstone. Christ, our helper, and the stone whom we have rejected. Augustine speaks of Mizpah meaning “aim” and that we must “passover the old Mizpah to the new, that is, from the aim which looked for material bliss—a false bliss, in a material kingdom — to the aim which looks for spiritual bliss, the really true bliss, in the kingdom of heaven.” (City of God)
The Ebenezer was a marker and reminder of what God had done in their midst. Christ, the Cornerstone, is the living stone who is with us in the Spirit -- a daily reminder to the presence of God — and his helping power at work in our lives.
Have I forgotten about my Ebenezer today?
The old stone may have been easy to overlook. With age the vegetation may have grown up around it and the people went on with their lives.
We may have had a moment where we remember the way in which God worked and intervened in our lives. It was that “Ebenezer” moment and we want to put up a memorial to that event. But then we may fail to go back to that place. We forget.
Jesus — our living Ebenezer is with us right now. He is present and yet we overlook him. He desires to help us if only we will call on him but we become too busy and we put him away in the corner just like any rock or memorial.
The place for my Ebenezer is in the very heart of my life every single day. The Lord is my help and strength for anything that I may face this day, if only I don’t overlook him. This is my personal Ebenezer, the resurrected Lord who sent us his Spirit. He is living and breathing and active in and through my life every day — a living stone — my Ebenezer.
Lord, I am grateful for you — my Ebenezer. May I trust you in today and every day. Amen.