musings on worship and christian living


Ebenezer
July 13, 2009, 1:54 pm
Filed under: Life, Worship

“Here I raise my Ebenezer, here by Thy great help I’ve come.  And I hope by Thy good pleasure safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger wandering from the fold of God.  He to rescue me from danger interposed His precious blood.” – Robert Robinson “Come Thou Fount” 1758

I was listening to Chris Rice’s rendition of “Come Thou Fount” today as I sat recovering from back to back weeks of middle school camp.  I’m sure you have song the song many times in church and gotten to the second verse and done one of two things: glossed over the word Ebenezer or wondered what it meant.  (Unless you are one of the few who knows what it means).  As I listened to the 2nd verse I was prompted to refresh my memory and study again the word Ebenezer.

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the LORD has helped us.” So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.- 1 Samuel 7:12-14

According to someone much smarter than me the word “Ebenezer” comes from Hebrew and is actually two words pronounced together: Even Haazer. It is usually transliterated as a proper name by dropping the definite article (Ha) from the Hebrew word for “help” (Ezer) and putting it together with the Hebrew word for “stone” (Even) to create: “Ebenezer.” The etymological roots of the word, thus defined, should demonstrate that an “Ebenezer” is, literally, a “Stone of Help.”

All throughout the Old Testament we see this action, when God would bless people they would raise a stone or build an altar and name it so as not to forget the blessing of God.  It just got me wondering what I do to remember the blessings God put in my life and if I need to do more to mark each blessing.

I think we are so privileged here in the states that we can tend to see God’s blessing as standard life or our “right”.  We are so encumbered with stuff that we can gloss over thanking God and remember the blessing of simple things like food, water and housing or more spiritually victory over sin and shame.

This word “Ebenezer” has left me searching for things I can place in my life as markers to remember God’s blessing. Do you have markers in your life to recall God’s blessings?  If so what are they?

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