For a few years now I’ve considered my faith like a brick wall. Not that it shuts out the world … although it may also do that … but it helps me stand firm in my conviction of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Each time I witness something of God – a word of knowledge, his voice coming through loud and clear from the Bible, a divine appointment, a miracle, His faithfulness – each instance is a brick that I mortar on to the existing wall making it stronger, wider, higher.
It’s kinda like my modern day Ebenezer.
In (1 Samuel 7:8–11) the Israelites were victorious in a fight against the Philistines but only because God intervened.
Afterward, Samuel took a stone and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, explaining, “The LORD has helped us to this point.” (1 Samuel 7:12)
The Blue Letter Bible identifies the Ebenezer as a “stone of help.” In the Old Testament, people would set up an Ebenezer to remember what God had done for them. It was usually a rock or a pile of rocks. This marker in history would remind the generations of God’s faithfulness, goodness, provision, love … whatever He had given to sustain His people at that time.
Joshua also erected a memorial of twelve stones (one to signify each tribe of Israel) on the west bank of the Jordan River when the Israelites crossed to take the town of Jericho (Joshua 4:6-7).
Even though it’s not named as such in the Bible, I believe that group of stones to be an Ebenezer. Joshua said, “Therefore these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites.” But he could have just as truthfully said, “The LORD has helped up to this point.”
I love the idea of setting an Ebenezer to remember God’s faithfulness. To make a physical representation of a time when God has shown off one of His many attributes. How often we are treated to God’s working in our lives only to run into trouble down the line and completely forget that we serve an awesome, omnipotent, and faithful God?
The fact that Jesus said we will face rejection (Luke 10:16), persecution (John 15:20), and suffering (John 16:33) is enough to know that hard times are going to hit us. If we forget the goodness of God and waiver in our faith every time we are subject to some trial … where would we be? Swaying in the wind and never clinging to the Lord who loves us and has already proven Himself to us time and time again. Constructing an Ebenezer of some sort can help remind us that He is close.
When I came to live in Florida from Arizona six years ago, I was none too happy. I didn’t have a job (and couldn’t find one in the economic downturn) so I was forced to move in with my parents. Not having lived with my parents for over 30 years, I prayed every day that God would change my situation. If I remember correctly it was something like, “Lord, get me outta here.” Out of my parent’s house. Out of the State of Florida. It didn’t matter. Over and over. It became my mantra.
I wound myself up in knots praying that prayer even though God had already told me my future. If you’ve been reading me for a while you’ll remember that in a particularly intense prayer session in Arizona God told me that I would move to Florida. Unfortunately I hadn’t been building my brick wall and had forgotten that what I thought of as my horrible situation was actually part of His plan.
Even after three weeks when I came to grips with the fact that I might have to stay in Florida for a while … wait a minute … do you like the fact that I succumbed to my “fate” after three weeks? I really gave God a lot of time to change my situation, eh? Oy Vey! That’s an eye-opener! Well, after three whole weeks I yielded and finally decided to find a church to attend while I worked out my sentence in Florida.
My Mom had gone around to her friends asking for a church that might match my style. “I told them you liked to put your hands in the air when you sang.” She said.
Grinning, because it was true and I knew my mom really thought that was kinda kookie, I took her list of three local churches where, presumably, they sang with their hands in the air.
Now I see I’ve really gone on much too long. Please come back on Wednesday when I’ll wrap up the story and perhaps add another brick to the wall.