“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying: “Hitherto has the Lord helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12
The word “hitherto” seems like a hand pointing in the direction of the past. Twenty years or seventy, and yet, “hitherto the Lord has helped us!”
Through poverty and through wealth, through sickness and through health, at home and abroad, on the land and on the sea,in honor and in dishonor, in perplexity and in joy, in trial and in triumph, in prayer and in temptation, “Hitherto has the Lord helped us!”
We delight to look down a long avenue of trees. It is delightful to gaze from end to end of the long vista, a sort of verdant temple, with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves.
In the same way, look down the long aisles of your years, at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of loving-kindness and faithfulness which bear up your joys. Are there no birds in yonder branches singing? Surely there must be many, and they all sing of mercy received “hitherto.”
But the word “hitherto” also points forward. For when a man gets up to a certain mark and writes “hitherto,” he is not yet at the end, there is still a distance to be traversed. More trials and more joys, more temptations and more triumphs, more prayers and more answers, more toils and more strength, more fights and more victories, and then come sickness, old age, disease, and death!
Is it over now?
No! there is more yet, awakening in Jesus’ likeness, glorious thrones, heavenly harps and songs, white clothing, the face of Jesus, the society of saints, the glory of God, the fullness of eternity, and the infinity of bliss!
O be of good courage, believer, and with grateful confidence raise your “Ebenezer,” for He who has helped you hitherto–will help you all your journey through! When read in Heaven’s light, how glorious and marvelous a prospect will your “hitherto” unfold to your grateful eye!
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