by Sean P. Cavender
We often sing the hymn, “O Thou Fount Of Every Blessing” as a tribute to the goodness of God. We recognize the help Jehovah provides in times of great difficulty. We easily see the grace of God and the benefit we receive from it through the salvation that He freely offers us. There is an interesting lyric in that particular hymn that is worthy of our consideration. Perhaps we have zealously sung the phrase without fully realizing its meaning. In the second verse, “Here I raise my Ebenezer: hither by Thy help I’ve come.” You might wonder to yourself who or what is an Ebenezer? How does Ebenezer help us?
Ebenezer is not a person; rather it is a place. The particular reference that the song has in mind is found in 1 Samuel 7:12. “Then 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.” This statement was made by Samuel the judge just before Israel subdued the Philistines, after the constant turmoil they had caused Israel. Israel had been unfaithful to God through a corrupt priesthood and the ever-pressing temptation to turn to idolatry. God raised up the Philistines to come against Israel. The first battle took place in Ebenezer (1 Samuel 4:1, 2). The Philistines prevailed against Israel and even took the Ark of the Covenant from where it rested in Ebenezer (1 Samuel 5:1). Ebenezer was associated with defeat! Samuel called upon Israel to return to God and put away idolatry. He commanded them to give their hearts and their lives to the Lord and then God would deliver them from the snare of defeat (1 Samuel 7:3). Israel responded and repented (1 Samuel 7:4). God was therefore faithful to His promise to be the help Israel needed to overcome their enemies. Thus, Samuel took the stone, named it Ebenezer which means “stone of help.” Ebenezer, instead of going down as a place of sorrow and defeat, is now recognized as the place of God’s blessing. When we turn to God, fully serving Him, He blesses us.
God is still our Ebenezer. We “call for songs of loudest praise” because we know He provides help, comfort and never-ending streams of mercy. God is still our help. we are no longer in the physical warfare Israel was engaged in, but now we are soldiers of the Lord’s army, engaging the devil. God is still our help. It is right that we sing about His grace, calling upon our Ebenezer. He is our defender and captain (Hebrews 2:10). Jehovah is the source and rock of our salvation (Psalm 95:1). The rock and foundation of the church is that truth that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:18). Based upon the fact that Jesus is the Son of God, being a part of His church, we do not have to fear being conquered by our spiritual adversary, Satan. We have victory through our Ebenezer. Let us be thankful that He rescued us from danger through the blood of Jesus Christ. Our Ebenezer is the help that we have always needed.
—via The Bald Knob Builder