Then Samuel took a stone... and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, "Till now the Lord has helped us."
Can we honestly give a good reason why the people in the Old Testament and we ourselves today should enjoy any good thing from God? People in the Old Testament times were often griping, disloyal and ungrateful to God. And in the New Testament and down to today, people turn their backs on Jesus Christ, God's son. All people, including us, do not deserve any good thing from God – we are all sinners in his sight.
Yet Samuel was right to erect this memorial stone, the 'stone of help', because it was true that God had helped the people; indeed God tells us that not only did he help the people, he loved the people (Deuteronomy 7:8). The New Testament tells us that God so loved the world that he sent his son to be our Saviour. God's dealings with us are not based on what we deserve but on his grace. Samuel knew that and so do we. By grace we mean God's free and loving help to us as sinners, and it comes by means of all that Jesus Christ has done through his sinless life, his death on the cross, his resurrection and now his place in heaven at God's throne. It is by grace that we are saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. All of this is a tremendous comfort and encouragement because without God's grace we would have no hope of salvation.
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I thank you for all you have done for me, although as a sinner I don't deserve a thing. Help me to appreciate your grace more and more. Amen.