Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorials & Ebenezers

It seems that God has converged a number of thoughts in my head today. This being Memorial Day weekend, the day when we remember those men and women who have fought and died in service to our country. And as I considered this, in preparation for doing the Scripture reading for worship services this morning, what came to my mind was the practice recorded repeatedly in the OT of the Israelites setting up "stones of remembrance." When God would do some great work on behalf of His people, they would often commemorate the event by erecting a standing stone, or a pile of stones. As a means of remembering what God had done for future generations. For example, in 1 Samuel 7:12 we read what Samuel did after God had helped the Israelites to defeat the Philistine army:

Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us."

The stone and the place was named Ebenezer, in Hebrew 'eben hâ‛êzer, meaning "stone of the help." It was a memorial to the help that God had provided. A place and a stone of remembrance. A reminder to future generations of the work of Yahweh in the midst of His people.

As I thought on this, the words to one of my favorite hymns came to mind. "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing", which contains a reference to this Ebenezer stone, in the second verse:

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

A reminder of God's help, His enablement to come and to trust in Christ for eternal life. And His sustaining grace which will bring the believer safely to home with Him. A memorial that Christ Himself pursued me and rescued me with His own blood. Something we must never forget.

So as we prepared for worship this morning, guess what one of the music selections was? Yep, "Come Thy Fount." And on top of that, today's subject in the Sunday Bible School class I've been teaching on developing a Biblical worldview was history. Taking a Biblical view of history - past, present and future - with God as the author. Considering that Christianity is firmly rooted in history, as the Bible contains great truths of theology and philosophy which are presented in the context of God's acting in human history. Again, looking back at what He has done and remembering, learning from it, being impacted by it.

So maybe this all seems to be sort of disconnected rambling to you. If so, sorry, that's where my head is at today. But the takeaway for me from this convergence of thoughts is - remember. Take the time to remember and mark out the great works that our great God has done in our lives. Point those standing stones out to our children and to others. And not just one day a year, but every day. By His grace and for His glory.

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