Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ebenezer Memorials

In my daily devotions I have been reading on a schedule that will take me through the Bible in a year by reading portions from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs each day.

I am currently in Exodus, and I have recently noticed how many times the Lord instructed the Israelites to "remember" something. As I did a quick word study on the Hebrew word zacar (to remember) I came across some interesting passages.

In Exodus 13:3 the children of Israel are instructed to remember what God in bringing them out of the bondage in Egypt. It was by the strength of the Lord's hand that Israel was released by Pharaoh.

In Joshua 1:13 they were instructed to remember what Moses had said: it was God who gave the Promised Land. Man could not do it - God did. They were to remember...don't forget...God did this.

Judges 8:34 tells us to remember the Lord and His deliverance. This comes in the form of the sad commentary "...The children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God."

1 Chron. 16:12, 15 give instructions to remember the marvelous works of God, and His covenant.

Isaiah 46:9-10 really caught my attention. It reads "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." It seems that we would not need to be reminded that the LORD is God, or to recall to mind the marvelous miracles He has wrought. Yet there are many instructions to remember. Don't forget. God did this.

In my reading today in Exodus 17 I was struck by the fact that God told Moses to write down what He had just done to deliver Amalek into Israel's hand (vs.14ff). It was to be a memorial, and to be rehearsed in the hands of Joshua, Moses' successor. God knows that we will forget His wonderful works and strong hand on our behalf - many times we forget sooner than we like to admit. Should we not also have a book of remembrance - a memorial to the great things which our God has done?

In 1 Samuel 7:12, Samuel erected a memorial to God and called it "Ebenezer" (stone of help) because he said, "Hitherto hath the LORD helped us." Samuel wanted a physical, tangible reminder of what God had done on their behalf. That is what the stone memorial represented - a reminder of what God had done. I am reminded of the familiar hymn, Come Thou Fount. The second verse reads,

Here I raise mine Ebenezer; (some versions say my sign of victory)
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I know, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wand'ring from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

I want to start writing down those things which God does for my family. I want to record the miraculous answers to specific prayers, so that I can look back and see what God has done. Then I will remember. I won't as easily forget. God did this.

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