Mine Ebeneezer, my ‘stone of help’

Published 7:06 am Sunday, January 7, 2024

“Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them and I will praise the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord, through which the righteous shall enter. I will praise You, for You have answered me, and have become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.” — Psalm 118:19-24 (NKJV)

In 1st Samuel chapter 7 there is a great account of God’s restoration of Israel after they repented from their sins and began to worship Him. God has restored the Ark of the Covenant to Kirjath Jearim; 20 years have passed and through Samuel’s instruction the people have returned their loyalty to God. The people are gathered at Mizpah to praise and worship God when the Philistines decide to come against them. When we turn to, or return to God, the devil always notices and tries to destroy our worship. God intervenes and the Philistines are defeated. On this site Samuel sets a witness stone and calls it Ebenezer, or “Stone of Help.”

A great story, but what does it have to do with Christmas?

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In Jesus, God has taken the initiative once again and raised an Ebenezer once and for ever for all of mankind. On the day of the birth of our Lord Jesus, God raised a stone of help for all of us, a stone that could never be diminished or defeated, a stone that would forever be a help to all who trusted in His Grace. Samuel raised a literal stone, a piece of the rock of Mizpah and called it Ebenezer.

The psalmist was right in 118:21 — God raised a Spiritual Stone, cut from the Rock of God and called Him Jesus; though He was rejected, He prevailed, though He was despised, He loved; though He was killed, He lives; and because He lives, we can live — because He is mine Ebenezer, my Rock of Help I can go on.

The psalmist was right in 118:22-24 — at the Crucifixion, the stone, the Ebenezer that the builders rejected has become the Chief Cornerstone. This was not the work or doing of man but “this was the Lord’s doing, it is a marvelous thing in our eyes.”

“This is the day that the lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it” [v. 23-24].

Is Jesus your Ebenezer?

Will you go through the gates of righteousness?

The Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired pastor.