Categories: Stories from Camp

Ezer Kenegdo

If you have ever been to Rock-N-Water, you might have noticed that on every adventure we do there’s a senior guide that is in charge of safety for that day. It’s this guide who gives the safety talk, makes all the decisions, and takes command should anything go wrong throughout the day. Our guides spend many years and copious amounts of training to work up to this status. The name of this position is Ezer (pronounced ay-zer).

When I first started working at Rock N Water, I thought that the term ezer was just another random word that some guide came up with years ago. We have so many of these around camp such as the Yahoo shed (the first aid and rafting equipment shed), Rusty (the tool shed), and Archibald (the tomato and onion dicer in the kitchen). Due to this, I never questioned the origin of the word ezer or the meaning behind it.

The Why Behind the Name

This changed last year when I was reading the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. In the second chapter, I came across this sentence: “When God creates Eve, he calls her an ezer kenegdo” (pg 31). There it was; that weird word. Except this time it was in an entirely different context than I had grown accustomed to at Rock-N-Water. The book goes on to explain that this phrase, although commonly translated to helper, holds a much richer meaning than I had ever expected.

“The word ezer is used only twenty other places in the entire Old Testament. And in every other instance the person being described is God himself, when you need him to come through for you desperately. [In these verses,] God is your only hope. Your ezer. If he is not there beside you, you are dead. A better translation therefore of ezer would be lifesaver.”

How Much Greater?

The point of me writing this is not to discuss the relationship between men and women or to try and equate Rock N Water guides to God. Instead I want to examine one possible reason for why we use this specific word at camp. Although I have yet to ask our director why we decided on this term for the person in charge of safety, this is my take on it. In the four summers that I worked at Rock N Water, I witnessed our ezers do some amazing things. I have seen servant leadership, courageous acts, genuine care, and even a few daring rescues. If this is my example of a lifesaver, I find myself asking how much greater is our God?

Our Lifesaver

The guides at camp, as great as they are, are fallen sinners. Although they might save you in a physical sense, they can never save you in an eternal sense.  We guides, like you campers, are human. Because of this, there is an infinite distance between us and our Creator. Try as we might, we can never meet God’s standard of holy perfection. Jesus’ active obedience in his life and death fulfilled God’s requirement and saved us from our deserved punishment. Christ is our ezer, He is our lifesaver.

I like to think that Rock-N-Water uses the term ezer to point to something much bigger than the leadership at camp. I believe that this points to Christ as our mighty helper and protector. He truly is our only hope in life and in death. We as Christians are not called to a safe life, but with God as our ezer, our salvation is already won. It is in this fact that I choose to go on any adventure (whether big or small) that God puts me on.

By Kelsey Werner, Loving to all

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