You can sing songs over and over again, and suddenly, a word or lyric catches you, and you wonder what it was you were singing about. Today, for me, it was Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing!
Here I raise my Ebenezer,
Hither by Thy 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.
Here I raise my Ebenezer? What’s an ebenezer? Like Scrooge? Google to the rescue. Here’s some of what I’ve found:
“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.”” 1 Samuel 7:12 ESV
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and he called the name of it Ebenezer [stone of help], saying, Heretofore the Lord has helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12 AMPC
From housetohouse.com: “This hymn, written by Robert Robinson in 1758, stresses the joy of Christianity and the Christian’s need to rely on the Lord. Robinson chose the phrase, Here I raise my Ebenezer, from 1 Samuel 7:12, because it reminds God’s people how He he delivered Israel from danger.
Chapters 4 through 7 of 1 Samuel describe a series of battles between the Israelites and the Philistines. In an attempt to defeat the Philistines, the Israelites took the ark of the covenant into battle as a sort of good luck charm. To their anguish, however, the Philistines captured the ark and took it back to their pagan temple. God then sent plagues upon the Philistines and caused the idol of their god Dagon to fall over on its face. Fearing God, the Philistines sent the ark back to the Israelites, but continued to fight. As they fought more battles, the prophet Samuel led the Israelites as their last judge. As prophet and judge, Samuel offered sacrifices to God, so that when the Philistines approached, God thundered with a great thunder (1 Samuel 7:10). In the confusion that followed, the Israelites soundly debfeated the Philistines.”
From Apologetic Press: “The word Ebenezer comes from the Hebrew words ’Eben hà-ezer (eh’-ben haw-e’-zer), which simply mean “stone of help”….. When Robinson wrote his lyrics, he followed the word Ebenezer with the phrase, “Here by Thy great help I’ve come.” An Ebenezer, then, is simply a monumental stone set up to signify the great help that God granted the one raising the stone. In Robinson’s poem, it figuratively meant that the writer—and all who subsequently sing the song—acknowledge God’s bountiful blessings and help in their lives.”
Here (right now) I (Becky) raise my ebenezer, a stone to represent all God has helped me with, hither (to this place, this time) by God’s help I’ve come.
Altars were built of stones to commemorate an event, often a miracle, where God stepped in and showed His power and might. These stones, or altars were often given a name. This name and the altar was to remind the people of what God had done.
I need to research these altars!