Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 7

About the name: EBENEZER

1 Samuel 7:12

Israel’s men had just gained success in a battle against the army of Philistia. They did not win that battle by their own efforts. They won because God fought for them. He sent a powerful storm, with the result that the enemy’s army ran away.

The results of that one battle were very impressive. For more than 20 years, Philistia’s powerful army had controlled Israel. Now, Israel was a free country.

Samuel wanted Israel’s people always to remember what God had done for them. So, Samuel made a monument. A monument is a large stone that people put in an important place, to remind them of a past event.

Samuel called that monument EBENEZER. That means, ‘stone of help’. Its purpose was to remind Israel’s people that, in the past, God had helped them. Especially, he helped them in their battle against Philistia’s army.

Although a monument reminds people about the past, its message is really for people in the future. Samuel intended that his monument should remain in that place for many centuries. Whenever people passed it, they would remember its name EBENEZER. They would know that God had rescued his people in that place. If they trusted God now, he would help them too. So, the monument encouraged people to trust God. Its message for the future was that God really does help his people.

It does not surprise us that many churches have also chosen the name EBENEZER. Their members wanted to express thanks to God that he had helped them in the past. So, when they built a church building, they called it by that name. They too wanted to encourage people in the future to trust God. In that place where God had helped them, he would help other people too.

Next part: Samuel, Israel’s judge (1 Samuel 7:13-17)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.