This week in the United States, we observed Memorial Day—a national holiday remembering the soldiers who died in service FOR the nation. There are many ways we honor the memory of people or events. statues and monuments commemorate heroes, great victories, even tragic events never to be forgotten. Memorials are important to help us recall parts of our past that need to be remembered.
God Likes Memorials, Too
The Bible shows us God, too, finds importance in remembering the past. Through the prophets, God often reminded His people that He is the God who works faithfully on their behalf. He reminded them that it was He who led them out of slavery in Egypt, parted the Red Sea, and delivered them from the hands of Pharaoh. Psalm 136 contains a long list of acts God has done on behalf of His people, a reminder of His faithful and eternal love.
The hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, contains a verse which says,
Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I come.
These words are biblical to the core. On more than one occasion, God told His people to place a stone or build a tower to commemorate some great victory or deliverance received by His hand. God wanted His people to remember His goodness and for future generations to know of His great faithfulness on their behalf. These stones were called “memorial stones,” because they were to be a lasting memorial of what God had done. They were also called "Ebenezer stones"—"stones of help" in Hebrew. So, these rocks were memorial because they served as a reminder; they were Ebenezer because they pointed to the help God had given at that place in the past.
Stones for the Next Generation
Our legacy may well be our greatest achievement. As biblical, visionary leaders, it is our responsibility to set up Ebenezer stones for the next generation. That is, we should build memorials remembering the help of God in our lives. I don’t mean we need to start stacking rocks on top of each other, but we definitely need to “raise our Ebenezer.” We must acknowledge that only by God’s help we have come to where we are. Without His grace, we are helpless and hopeless. Let's remind ourselves of all God has done for us and make sure the next generation knows the story of God’s love, power, and faithfulness.