The word Ebenezer comes from the Hebrew words ’Eben hà-ezer (eh’-ben haw-e’-zer), which simply mean “stone of help.” Samuel the prophet and the Israelites were attacked by the Philistines (1 Samuel 7). Samuel prayed for deliverance and protection and offered a sacrifice to the Lord. God listened to Samuel, causing the Philistines to lose the battle and retreat. After the Israelite received their victory, the Bible records: “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).
As the help had been specific, so the memorial was to be of a definite and permanent form. The fact that God upon this occasion delivered them from the enemy was only an earnest of future providences. Samuel wished Israel to understand that the Lord’s help was theirs only as from day to day as they obeyed Him, and not once for all, irrespective of their attitude.
It is well for the Christian to go back constantly to the Ebenezers of life, where providential deliverances came to crown distrust of self, a full surrender, and trust in God.
The word Ebenezer was used by Robert Robinson, in 1758, when he wrote his song “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” In Robinson’s poem, it figuratively meant that the writer—and all who subsequently sing the song—acknowledge God’s bountiful blessings and help.
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In His service,
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