I love stepping into a new year.  New goals, a new calendar, and a new beginning all bring me excitement.  In the midst of thinking about all the new things, I have been thinking about remembering the past.  “Ebenezer” is a word in a song I have been listening to on repeat.   I have heard the word before but never really understood what it means, so I did some research.  In 1 Samuel 7, God had just given the Israelites victory over the Philistines.  Samuel set up a stone at the site of the battle.  “He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’”  Joshua did something similar after God dried up the Jordan and allowed the Israelites to cross on dry ground.  Samuel and Joshua both knew the people would need reminders of God’s faithfulness.  Unfortunately, I understand that need all too well. God has been so faithful to me. He has walked with me through difficult seasons and carried me through some really hard times.  

I love the songs we sing that proclaim His faithfulness.  Unfortunately, when I step into new things, especially things that are challenging or painful, I tend to forget.  Fear, disappointment, and uncertainty drive out memories of how He has come to my rescue in the past.  I need Ebenezers in my life.  Remembering stories of His faithfulness in the past gives me eyes to see His faithfulness in the present and helps me trust Him with the future.  As I step into the new year, I am thinking of ways to build Ebenezers in my life because I know challenging times will come.  I have been rereading my journals, looking for ways God has moved in the past.  I am thinking about how I can add visual reminders of His faithfulness to my home so that I don’t forget what He has done for me.  May we all be rememberers, even as we fully embrace all the new things God will bring in the next year.

What tangible “Ebenezers” do you have to remind you of God’s faithfulness?

Psalm 77:11-12

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all Your work, and meditate on Your mighty deeds. 

Joshua 4:1-8

When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”

And the people of Israel did just as Joshua commanded and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, just as the Lord told Joshua. And they carried them over with them to the place where they lodged and laid them down there.

Take some time to enjoy this song today: Just as Good 

Kim Johnson

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