Read: 1 Samuel 7:3-17

Then 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.” (v. 12)

My parent’s 50th wedding anniversary happened during the Covid shutdowns. We postponed our big family trip to the shores of the Salish Sea in Washington state. When we finally gathered, we regularly walked the rocky beachfront, picking for humble treasures. At my desk now, one smooth, pink-orbed stone sits atop another two-toned, flat-topped slab of rock. For me, they are a remembrance of the sweet time, gathered with family after a long hard time of isolation, worry, and fear.

It is an age-old practice to mark something with a stone. Throughout Scripture, we see stones placed at various times, in various locations, to acknowledge and remind people of God’s goodness and faithfulness. After much waiting, wondering, confusion, and longing, God gave the Israelites a great victory over their enemies, and Samuel set a stone, with a name, in the place of victory to make it clear how the victory came about: the Lord helped them. In fact, the name Ebenezer (meaning “stone of help”) makes it clear that even in their long period of waiting, the Lord helped them.

I commend to you this practice of picking up a treasure at the end of a hard season and setting that treasure where you can see it, an acknowledgement and a reminder of our faithful God who helps us and is with us always.

As you pray, offer a word of thanks for God’s faithful constancy in your life.

About the Author

Katy Sundararajan is a specialized minister in the Reformed Church in America. She has garnered her pastoral perspectives from posts as a college chaplain, a missionary, an international student advisor, and a higher education and leadership ministries program coordinator.

This entry is part 9 of 31 in the series 1 Samuel: Trusting God through Big Transitions