“The stone of help” or
“Thus far the LORD has helped us”
When Samuel erected the monument (as mentioned in 1 Samuel 7:12) and named it “Ebenezer”, he wanted Israel to remember the past and be thankful for God’s helping hand. In our humanity, we tend to forget how good God has been to us. Remembering how the Lord worked in the past encourages hope for the future, thus sustaining our faith in His ability.
When we remind ourselves of the faithfulness of God in the past, we find stability in our present and hope for our future.
In Joshua 4, the Israelites were crossing the Jordan River so that they could enter the Promised Land. The moment the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant set their feet into the Jordan, the water was held back until the riverbed was dry. Then all of the people followed after the priests, who stood in the river until everyone had crossed over the Jordan. To memorialize what God had done, a representative from each tribe took a stone from where they had crossed the Jordan and carried them to where they camped for the night and set up a memorial there. Joshua also made a pile of stones from the middle of the Jordan where the men stood with the Ark.
“Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.” (v. 21-24)
The Media Team that I am privileged to be a part of here in Africa is an Ebenezer. Not only are we experiencing mighty moves of God but we, like stones, are also proclaiming to the nations of the earth what God is doing and has done.
“As you come to Him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to Him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4-5
We, as living stones, are declaring the praises of God so that all of the nations might know how the Lord is working in Sub-Saharan Africa. Together, using each of our talents, we are showing the nations that His hand is powerful and mighty to save. We are telling the stories of changed lives because of the power of the Gospel, so that people can be in awe of the goodness of the Lord. I am so grateful that this is something the Lord has allowed me to be a part of.
Being a living Ebenezer means two things:
- That we point to Christ as receiving all glory and credit. If we have a victory, we know that it was not done through mere human strength. And it reminds us that He will continue to intervene, so we must appeal to Him in our every day work.
Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.”
- That we must acknowledge our inevitable need for future assistance from Him. We must be dependent upon our willingness to rely on God, not our own talents and efforts.
And when we doubt ourselves, when we are wondering if God will come through for us, we can revisit our Ebenezer and remember, “thus far He has helped us”.
I encourage you all to create your own Ebenezer – visual proof of the Lord’s work in your own life. Write it in a journal, build it with Legos, whatever makes it easy to look back and see the goodness of the Lord in your own life. Also, ask God to make you a living Ebenezer so that others can see the goodness of the Lord in your daily walk.
We must be intentional about acknowledging God.
“As we walk out the remainder of our time line of faith, let’s keep memorializing God’s obvious interventions through stones of remembrance. In the meantime, by faith let’s walk with a (figurative) stone in our hand as an “Ebenezer” until we see the next astonishing evidence or spiritual marker and lay it on our line…The “Ebenezer” stone constantly reminds us, “Thus far the LORD helped us.” In other words, with God’s help we’re making it so far, and we’ll make it some more.” (Beth Moore, Believing God, 255)
Check out how we are telling the world how God is moving throughout Sub-Saharan Africa at www.AfricaStories.org, and connect with us online!