Ebe- who?

I love hymns.  The tunes are beautiful (especially the re-mixes that are vogue now).  But mostly I love the truths that are imparted through the rhyming lines.  Deep insight. Doctrine of the faith.  Meaningful encouragment.  Frankly, few songs of today can do the same.  Love those hymns.

I was listening to one of my favorites the other day and pondered a line that I thought you might wonder about, too.  Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing sung by David Crowder band.  I think I favor it because it's one of the few hymns I can still bang out on the piano!  But this time I began to pay close attention to the words.  "Ebenezer" caught my ear.

In verse two, the song says "Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I'm come".  It goes on to relay the treasured principle that God pursued us, chose us, initiated the relationship.  And He sustains it.  Glory!!  Well, what in the world is an "ebenezer"? Makes me think of someone hoisting that cranky old miser, Scrooge,  from Dickens' A Christmas Carol high in the air! Somehow I don't think that's what songwriter Robert Robinson meant when he penned those words in the late 1700's.  But I didn't know.   So I looked it up.  And I thought you'd be interested, too.

The word occurs in I Samuel 7:12.  The Israelites had just defeated the Philistines and recovered the Ark of the Covenant, after  being defeated twice previously, in the same place.  The prophet Samuel erected a monument to celebrate the victory and commemorate that God Himself had given it to them.  He named the place Ebenezer, which literally means "stone of help", signifying God's provision to secure the victory for them.  "Thus Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it 'Ebenezer', saying, 'Thus far the Lord has helped us'."

So what is the line conveying in the hymn?  Why does the lyricist reference that term?

 "Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I'm 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".

 I don't know for sure but it seems to me that  he is reminding us that it is  God's powerful and divine love that not only secures all kinds of life victories for us but also draws us to Him, that keeps us in Him, and that will bring us home.  The hymn depicts an act of worship that acknowledges what the Apostle John says in his Gospel, chapter 6, verse 44  - "No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. "

The Israelites put up a memorial to remind themselves that God's help acquired the victory for them. That was their Ebenezer.  The songwriter penned a hymn to prompt his heart to the remembrance that it was God's initiation and intervention that begins, sustains, and completes our relationship with Him.

What victory is eluding you? Are you experiencing defeat..repeatedly? Then, turn to God for help.  And when He gives it.... what stone of remembrance is erected to remind you that without His help, we have no victory?  No salvation.  Nothing.

But with His help, His grace, His provision....we are reconciled to Him.  Restored to wholeness.  Reassured of triumph. No matter how many previous defeats we suffered.

Raise your Ebenezer.  Remember His help.