There are a lot of wacky stories in the Bible and some words way wackier. One of them is “Ebenezer”. In the Hebrew, it is אֶ֫בֶן הָעֵ֫זֶר, which is transliterated as . . . you guessed it: Ebenezer. It was originally the name of a place, but then took on another meaning as a stone—a single stone—that was raised by a prophet named Samuel as a monument when he said, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”. He did not say those words, of course. That is a translation of what he said, done by some guys who looked at the Hebrew words back between A.D. 1604 and 1611 and then put them into the kind of English that was spoken back then when James I (James One) was the king of England.
I think it is beautiful that way.
But if we were going to say it now, we’d say something like,”God, you have gotten us this far, so we are counting on you to take us all of the way.”
Rather than a single stone, multiple stones are sometimes used today if someone wants to raise an Ebenezer (as a reminder of God’s provision), probably because it is easier to stack a few or it looks sorta like art or because it is difficult to find a single large stone that looks imposing enough to erect as a monument. And if you did find one it would be quite heavy or maybe tip over or something. So multiple stones are used, and I am using three when I raise mine.
I’ll raise it somewhere in the garden, where I’m writing now.
But not now, because I am back home after having prayed in said garden, and that after having looked for a few stones there and then hiding them in a corner for later. That is not my Ebenezer up there in the photograph, it is just three little stones that I put outside my door for a picture (so you’d get the idea). But I have decided to leave them there as a reminder, so I guess it is sorta like an Ebenezer-ette.
There is this old church song with the line “Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I’ve come.” I remember as an adolescent singing those words in church and thinking crude thoughts and then looking around with a smirk as if I had uttered some profane, puerile confession and somehow just gotten away with it. Is it just me, or do all young guys think such things when they say some wacky word like Ebenezer? And then you get to raise it. Right there in church. As I said, it is crude, but there it is . . .
When I do finally raise my Ebenezer, it will definitely be in the garden, not right outside my door.
What is the point of all of this prelude? It is this: God has indeed carried us this far. He has made the path straight more than once and He is not going to let some guy like me screw it up. I confess that I am an idiot, and have said and done some things that can easily be described by one word: “stupid.” But God himself does not screw around with his plans. He has one for us, and it cannot be thwarted. I may very well be committing the crime of attempted thwarting at times. It is unintended and is not my desire. It is not. There is no excuse other than that I cannot see clearly because my head is in the clouds most of the time. I have said that elsewhere, and I declare it again. My head is over my heels, like others of us, and I just act like a fool.
I am sorry, but I am not likely to change much. I’ll grow, I will mature, but I will not be easily altered; I’d be someone else if that happened. So, God help me, I will keep to his path whenever I can see it, and I will just keep going as long as it takes.
For now, it is just me and my Ebenezer . . .