In 1758, Robert Robinson wrote the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” In the second verse, he begins with these words: “Here I raise my Ebenezer.” But what does that mean? It’s meaning is drawn from First Samuel, Chapter Seven. The nation of Israel had just rededicated themselves to “serve” the Lord only; and they were bringing the Ark of the Lord, the symbol of God’s blessing, back to Mizpeh. As a result, their enemies, the Philistines, went up to battle against them. After the prophet Samuel sincerely prayed for the help of Jehovah, Israel was given a supernatural victory.
Thereafter, “Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us” (I Samuel 7:12). The word “Ebenezer” comes from the Hebrew words “Eben haezer (eh’-benhaw-e’-zer), which simply means “stone of help.” An Ebenezer, then, is a memorial stone that is set up to remind believers that Jehovah has helped and blessed, in the past, and, by implication, that God will help them in the future. Samuel raised up a memorial stone, or an Ebenezer, for the purpose of reminding himself, and all in Israel, of this principle. Hymn writer Robert Robinson wrote that he had done so symbolically. As we sing about raising up our Ebenezer in the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” we are acknowledging that God has also helped us.
We still use memorials quite commonly today. Every gravestone is a memorial to a loved one that reminds us of their love and impact. The exterior of the Washington monument in Washington D.C. is largely made up of stone. It reminds us of the Father of our Country, his astute leadership as General, then his service as our humble first President. Likewise, the Vietnam War Memorial wall is a reminder of the brave men and women whose lives were taken as they fought on behalf of our country. This writer once had a huge ornamental stone in the front yard as a reminder of God’s previous blessings and provisions. Today would be a good time to stop and raise your Ebenezer to the Lord by prayerfully thanking God for His divine blessings and intervention in your life. You might enhance this reminder by listing personal answers to prayer, with their dates, in the front of your Bible. Doing so can a reminder that God can still intervene in your life in the days ahead.
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