1 Samuel 7:12 (NKJV) Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us."
After the Israelites pulled off an upset victory over the Philistines, the prophet Samuel built an altar and named it Ebenezer, signifying that the Lord had helped them up to that point. He built the altar so that they would remember that it was God who helped them achieve the victory.
The Hebrew word ebhen hā-ʽezer is stone of help. The stone or altar was a way of saying to the people remember that “The God who did it before can do it again”.
The word “remember”, depending on the version of the Bible you are reading, is mentioned between 138 and 168 times which indicates that the Holy Spirit wants us to remember some things.
However we often forget, we lose sight, we lose hope, we lose faith. Maybe that’s why many in the Old Testament built altars to remind themselves and those who would come after them.
Genesis 8:20 (NKJV) Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
Genesis 35:6-7 (NKJV) 6 So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him.7 And he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel, because there God appeared to him when he fled from the face of his brother.
Joshua 4:4-8 (NKJV) 4 Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe;5 and Joshua said to them: "Cross over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel,6 that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, 'What do these stones mean to you?'7 Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever."8 And the children of Israel did so, just as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the midst of the Jordan, as the LORD had spoken to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them to the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.
We all need reminders that the God who got us here will get us there, wherever or whatever “there” is. You’ve need to surround yourself with those reminders so you don’t forget what God wants you to remember.
What Does God Want Us To Remember?
Psalm 103 tells us not to forget (remember) all the things that God has done for us.
Psalm 103:1-22 (NKJV) 1 Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,4 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.6 The LORD executes righteousness And justice for all who are oppressed.7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.13 As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him.14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.15 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children's children,18 To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them.19 The LORD has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all.20 Bless the LORD, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word.21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.22 Bless the LORD, all His works, In all places of His dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Remember He’s provided forgiveness and clean consciences.
1 John 1:9 (NKJV) 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Micah 7:19 (NKJV) 19 He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea. ( see Promises of God To Forgive Your Sin)
Remember He promised eternal life and hope in the midst trials tribulations and death.
1 John 2:24-25 (NKJV) 24 Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.25 And this is the promise that He has promised us--eternal life.
Titus 1:1-3 (NKJV)
1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness,2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior; (see God’s Promise of Eternal Life)
Remember to always be thankful.
1 Chronicles 16:34 (NKJV) Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)16 Rejoice always,17 pray without ceasing,18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.Remember to Focus on Him not the circumstances.
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Remember to trust Him
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths
Remember that you are never alone
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV) Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
Why Do We Need To Remember?
We need more Ebenezers
Life gets rough sometimes, and we forget where we’ve come from. An Ebenezer is a way of recognizing and celebrating the success God has given us along the way. We need things like post it notes with Bible verses, computer or cellphone wallpaper, refrigerator magnets, voice mail greetings, bookmarks, and other things to remind us that the Lord is our shepherd and that He will never leave us or forsake us. We need the company of other people who love the Lord, to encourage and remind us that we are not alone.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV)24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
We need Ebenezers
2 Peter 1:12-15 (NLT)12 Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.13 And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live.14 For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life,15 so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.
Don’t forget to remember!
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.