Monday, August 22, 2011

What's an Ebenezer?

Many of you remember the hymn "Come Thou Fount." We sang it yesterday in church. And if you are very familiar with the hymn you have probably sung the second verse. It goes a little like this:

"Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come.
And I hope by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home..."

Now, I have to admit, I wondered for a while what an Ebenezer is. In fact, if I'm not careful I see a very grumpy old man with no Christmas spirit in a very long sleeping cap. Like this:

Let's ask the Bible what an Ebenezer is:

1 Samuel 7:12-14 says "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, "Thus far the LORD has helped us." So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel; the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The towns that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath; and Israel recovered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites."

So, more like this

The term Ebenezer means "Stone of help"  and Samuel placed it because he said  "Thus far the LORD has helped us." It makes me want to put an Ebenezer in our yard at home! Maybe one that's a little prettier than the one above...

So somehow, even when things are terrible, even when we have to drive to church not knowing where we are going to get the gas money to get home, we have so much to be thankful for. The rest of the lyrics say:

"Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood."

Will the good shepherd who sought us out and paid for us with his own blood quickly abandon us?  Will the one who sought us as strangers quickly turn his back on us? When we ask for bread will our father give us a stone? (Matthew 7:9)  Or will the loving father supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory? (Philippeans 4:19)  Take heart, friend and know that the Lord has been with you and helped you and will continue to do so.

And that's good cause to raise your ebenezer!

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