Raise your Ebenezer

04/01/2020

Raise your Ebenezer

          “Come, thou fount of Every Blessing” is a well-known and beloved hymn. The second verse contains a reference to raising my “Ebenezer”.  To the biblically untrained, this can seem like a rather odd reference. We might say, “I know of Ebenezer Scrooge”, but, what is this “Ebenezer” we are to raise as we sing Come, thou fount?

The reference comes from 1 Samuel 7:12:

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”” (1 Samuel 7:12, NKJV)

          “Ebenezer” means “stone of help”.  It was a monument of sorts.  Samuel placed it as a perpetual reminder that the Lord had helped Israel to defeat their arch nemeses the Philistines.  The Lord gave them victory as a result of their repentance from the sins of idolatry and spiritual unfaithfulness.  Israel gathered at Mizpah to worship the Lord, the Philistines thought they had them corralled and cornered. They intended to wipe the Israelites out. The Israelites were afraid. They implored Samuel to pray for them, that they would be saved out of the hand of their enemies. As Samuel offered a sacrifice, worshiped, and prayed. The Lord intervened.  Verse 13 states, “the Philistines were subdued” –  “they came no more to the territory of the Israel.”

          Sometimes Christians read sections of the bible like this one in First Samuel and may wonder what this battle between the Philistines and Israelites have to do with them?  It helps to be reminded of the types and shadows the Lord prefigured in the Older Testament. Samuel served as a prophet, judge, and a priest.  In this chapter Samuel interceded on behalf of his people to deliver them from their enemies.

          Jesus our Great High Priest has fought for us through the cross and the grave to become for us our great deliverer.  We are delivered from far greater enemies: Our sin, our advisory the Devil, and even death!  God will  never turn away from the intercessions of Jesus.  Jesus interceded for us! We have favor with God!  What encouragement this is as we call on Him now for protection and sustaining hope at this moment!

          We must never see the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as only a “ticket” to ensure we make it to heaven.  Certainly, Jesus’ sacrifice makes that a reality.  But it also includes redeeming a people unto Himself.  It is to include us in a kingdom that will never have an end!

          In addition, we must continually remind ourselves that God is faithful in all His dealings with His people. He has promised to always be with those who are called by His grace. So, we too can say, like Samuel.  “Here I raise my Ebenezer, the Lord has helped us!”

Before Jesus returned to His heavenly home, He left these words of hope and comfort.
“. . . and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” (Matthew 28:20, NKJV)

          Jesus is will us ALL THE WAY! From this moment to eternity.  He is always as close as the very mention of His name. He is a helper indeed.

           Let us then raise our Ebenezer of praise and rejoice in the Lord’s goodness!

Prayer:

Dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: I hold up all my weakness to your strength, my failure to your faithfulness, my sinfulness to your perfection, my loneliness to your compassion, my little pains to your great agony on the Cross. I pray that you will cleanse me, strengthen me, guide me, so that in all ways my life may be lived as you would have it lived, without cowardice and for you alone. Show me how to live in true humility, true contrition, and true love. In Christ, Amen. (BCP2019, pg. 674)

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