Sunday, March 7, 2010

Do you have an Ebenezer?

Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest;
You are aware of all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, Lord.
You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me. (Psalm 139:1-5)

These verses tell me that God is aware of every detail and every moment of my life. Knowing that makes me ask myself how often I am aware of Him. There is a popular phrase in Christian circles that says "God showed up." This is a little silly, because God is present everywhere! I think what is meant by this is that we felt God's presence or became more aware of Him. How can we do that more often? How can we keep watch for God?

I will keep watch for You, Lord my strength, because God is my stronghold. (Psalm 59:9)

I've been reading through the Old Testament, and I've noticed that when God did something amazing for the Israelites, they would often set up a monument—a big rock or a pile of rocks—to remind them of that occasion. Sometimes they even named the monument—one of them was named Ebenezer. This word means “The Lord has helped us to this point.” It was a very visual reminder of what God had done for them.

You might recognize the word “Ebenezer” from the old hymn “Come Thou Fount." It says “Here I raise my Ebenezer, here by Thy great help I've come.” As you look back at the last month or year or perhaps your entire life, you might say “Here by God's mercy I've come,” or “Here by God's power I stand” or “Here by God's joy I survived.” You need an Ebenezer—something you can see or touch or hear to remind you of God's work in your life.

I think of three of my pottery mugs as my Ebenezers. They represent places I've lived. The mottled brown pattern of a mug from Washington state reminds me of the logs filling the log trucks that rumbled through my hometown, and the rich dark dirt of my mother's vegetable garden. A mug from Oregon is creamy white with a border of greens and blues, recalling the forested foothills leading to blue mountains capped with snow. A rust and blue mug made in Nevada illustrates the rugged mountains around us and the constant blue sky.

As I savor my morning coffee or tea (beverages I consider blessings from God!) I run my fingers over my cup and remember God's guidance and provision in each state, thanking Him for satisfying the needs of my soul in each period of my life—and reminding myself to watch for God's presence today.

Look around your house. What do you have that you can touch or see or hear that reminds you what God has done for you? Think about the places in your life where God helped you. Where were you when you realized that Jesus gave His life for you? What about the times God has provided a job or a house or a friend or guidance or a simple blessing that made your day? Maybe you are calling on Him to be your strength, as the verse says. Looking back at His provision in the past can help you trust Him with the future and be aware of Him–keeping watch for Him—in the present.

The Lord will send His faithful love by day:
His song will be with me in the night—a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8)

I will keep watch for You, Lord my strength, because God is my stronghold. (Psalm 59:9)

Do you have an Ebenezer? Leave a comment and tell me about it.