Raise an Ebenezer [Choosing Joy]
I spend a lot of time cradling, rocking and singing hymns in the dark, and one of my very favorite lullabies is “Come Thou Fount.” The tune is soothing, the words are rich, and I feel the peace of the Holy Spirit each time it comes to mind.
The second verse begins, “Here I raise mine Ebenezer, hither by thy hope I’m come. “ I have sung this line hundreds of times, but I never understood the reference to Ebenezer until I stumbled upon this word in the first book of Samuel.
This is a story from the Word of God told in my own words.
The Israelites were stuck. They were surrounded by angry neighbors, most notably the Philistines, and they were confused about who their God really was. They worried and they mourned, and they worshiped other gods. After twenty years, Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, “If you would just put away your idols and commit yourselves to serve only the Lord, your God, then he will protect you from your enemies.”
So the Israelites got rid of their totems and idols and gathered at Mizpah so that Samuel could intercede for them. They fasted together and confessed their sin against the Lord.
Meanwhile, the Philistines were plotting to attack Israel at Mizpah. Samuel instructed the Israelites to cry out to the Lord for deliverance while he prepared a burnt offering to the Lord on behalf of Israel. The Philistines drew nearer and nearer until the Lord sent a loud, terrible thunder against them that sent the Philistines into a panic. In the confusion the Israelites took the opportunity to attack and defeat their enemy.
When the victorious battle was complete, Samuel took a stone and set it up near Mizpah naming it Ebenezer or “stone of help” saying, “So far the Lord has helped us.”
“Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy hope I’m come.”
This is a story from the Word of God told in my own words. Read it for yourself in 1 Samuel chapter 7.