1 Samuel 7:12 (1 Sam. 7:12 LXX Rahlfs) καὶ ἔλαβεν Σαμουηλ λίθον ἕνα καὶ ἔστησεν αὐτὸν ἀνὰ μέσον Μασσηφαθ καὶ ἀνὰ μέσον τῆς παλαιᾶς καὶ ἐκάλεσεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Αβενεζερ, Λίθος τοῦ βοηθοῦ, καὶ εἶπεν Ἕως ἐνταῦθα ἐβοήθησεν ἡμῖν κύριος. 1 Samuel 7:12 (1 Sam. 7:12 BHS-W4) וַיִּקַּ֨ח שְׁמוּאֵ֜ל אֶ֣בֶן אַחַ֗ת וַיָּ֤שֶׂם בֵּֽין־הַמִּצְפָּה֙ וּבֵ֣ין הַשֵּׁ֔ן וַיִּקְרָ֥א אֶת־שְׁמָ֖הּ אֶ֣בֶן הָעָ֑זֶר וַיֹּאמַ֕ר עַד־הֵ֖נָּה עֲזָרָ֥נוּ יְהוָֽה׃ 1 Samuel 7:12 (LSB) “Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and he named it Ebenezer. And he said, “Thus far Yahweh has helped us.”
The word “hitherto” seems like a hand pointing in the direction of the past. Twenty years or seventy, and yet, “hitherto the Lord hath helped!”
Through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health, at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea, in honour, in dishonour, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation, “hitherto hath 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; even so look down the long aisles of your years, at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of lovingkindness 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 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, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories; and then come sickness, old age, disease, death. Is it over now?
No! there is more yet-awakening in Jesu’s likeness, thrones, harps, songs, psalms, white raiment, the face of Jesus, the society of saints, the glory of God, the fulness of eternity, the infinity of bliss.
O be of good courage, believer, and with grateful confidence raise thy “Ebenezer,” for—
He who hath helped thee hitherto Will help thee all thy journey through.
When read in heaven’s light how glorious and marvellous a prospect will thy “hitherto” unfold to thy grateful eye!
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