Ebenezer Scrooge is the cold-hearted miser in Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. Because of that time-enduring story, the word scrooge has come to mean greedy although the original meaning of this obscure English verb is squeeze. Greed does have a way of choking or squeezing the life out of a person.
Scrooge’s given name is Ebenezer, a Hebrew word which means stone of help. Ebenezer Scrooge seems to be an oxymoron unless we know the story. The character who begins as a scrooge repents and is changed into a generous ebenezer.
In the Old Testament we read the history of Israel and the consequence of its disobedience to God. When Israel repented under the leadership of Samuel, God gave them victory against the Philistines and they took back the Ark of the Covenant. Fearing how quickly the people would forget the Lord’s presence in this great victory, Samuel set up a memorial stone and called it Ebenezer, stone of Help.
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer saying, Thus far the LORD has helped us. I Samuel 7:12
The stone was to be a reminder of judgment and repentance, mercy and restoration. To the people it represented a new beginning and direction.
The great 18th century hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing refers to that Old Testament passage in the verse which reads:
Here I raise my Ebenezer; Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home.
Like the Israelites, we are forgetful people, so we too need our ebenezers, things to remind us of God’s presence, love, provision, and help each day.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the ebenezers in my life that remind me I serve a living, merciful, and faithful God.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103:2