Here I Raise My Ebenezer

Most of us are familiar with the song, “O Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” The second verse of the song includes the words, “Here I raise my Ebenezer: Hither by Thy help I’ve come:”  But do we understand the significance of the word, “Ebenezer?”

In the seventeenth chapter of First Samuel, Samuel told the Israelites that, if they would abandon their foreign gods, prepare their hearts for the Lord and serve him only, the Lord would deliver them from the hands of the Philistines. When the Israelites did so, Samuel told them to gather at Mizpah and he would pray for them. Once they gathered at Mizpah, they confessed that they had sinned against God.

Once the Philistines heard of the Israelites’ whereabouts, the Philistines decided to attack the Israelites. The Israelites, fearing for their lives, pleaded with Samuel to continue to pray for them, that they would be delivered from the hand of the Philistines. Samuel then sacrificed a lamb to God and prayed for the Israelites. As Samuel was offering the sacrifice, the Philistines drew near, anxious to attack.

I love what the Bible tells us next! The Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome (I Samuel 7:10). The Israelites were successful in driving the Philistines away. The Philistines, subdued and defeated, did not come into the Israelites territory anymore.

Samuel then took a stone, set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called the stone Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” Samuel erected Ebenezer, the “stone of help,” as a memorial in order to ensure the Israelites would not forget the victory God had given them over the Philistines.

As I sing the song, “O Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” I am reminded of the help God has given me in the past. I am reminded that every good thing I have ever received was a blessing from God (James 1:17). To God be the glory, great things He has done!

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