After God blessed Israel with victory over the Philistines, we read in 1 Samuel 7:12 “Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, till now the Lord has helped us.”

The setting up of stones for memorials was not Samuel’s original idea. It had been part of the Hebrew culture since Genesis 28 where Jacob set up a similar memorial at Bethel. Joshua set stones in the midst of the Jordan to mark the place where the waters opened and Israel crossed into the Promised Land. Stones were set up in the Achor Valley to remind the Jews of Achan’s disobedience. Another heap marked the burial place of the king of Ai. More stones were placed at a cave at Makkedah to mark where five kings had been defeated and slain. Before his death, Joshua set up a “witness stone” to remind the Israelites of their vow to serve the Lord alone and obey Him.

“Ebenezer” means “stone of help” because the monument was a reminder to the Jews that God had helped them that far and would continue to help them if they would trust Him and keep His covenant.

Wiersbe tells us that the founder of the China Inland Mission, J. Hudson Taylor, had a plaque displayed in each of his residences that read “Ebenezer—Jehovah Jireh,” Together, these Hebrew words say, “The Lord has helped us to this point, and He will see to it from now on.” What an encouragement to our faith!

We would do well to follow Samuel’s example and set up some of our own Ebenezers. It is a great way to pass on to your children or those in your sphere of influence a stability which comes from confidence in God’s providential care?  They can also be constant reminders of God’s care amidst life’s battles.