“(The Lord said…) Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
18 So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it.19 He called the name of that place Bethel (which means House of God), but the name of the city was Luz at the first.20″ (Genesis 28:15-20)
” And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.”
12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shent and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:8,12)
I love the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, and I love that Mumford and Sons covered it. The way they play and sing, they make it sound like such a joy to ask for more faith and more faithfulness with which to praise our God. As I listened to their cover today and I was so struck by the second verse:
“Here I raise my ebenezer/ hither by thy help I’ve come/ And I hope by thy good pleasure safely to arrive at home.”
Somewhere along the way the words were changed to say, “Here I raise to thee an altar,” but I have always preferred the original. The ebenezer was raised by men like Samuel, who raised a “stone of marking” in the place where a faithless people cried out to God and He defeated their enemy on the battlefield. And it was raised by Jacob, who ran away from home in fear of his life with nothing, marking the spot where God promised to provide according to His purpose, and passed by the spot later having gained wives and wealth, but still in fear of his life and very much in need of the marker he had raised almost 20 years before.
I realized as I listened today that I rarely do that. I rarely stop and set up a marker of any sort, to say to myself, to others, and to God, “This is my own stone of marking: See, this far I have been led; hither by thy help I’ve come.”
Now is a time for that. This far God has brought me, and He has made it very clear that He is the one who has brought me and is acting to lead me forward. An ebenezer is a testament to God’s faithfulness and a marker to measure future grace by, because He continues to lead us.
Sometime in the next few months I will be getting a job, driving across the country, and moving to D.C. Yesterday I almost despaired that He was working in that for me; today I am raising up my ebenezer to say with certainty that He is, and to praise Him for it. Now all praise and glory to Him as He works; look at where I am, and see where He takes me. He is good.