Ever wonder what that line in the classic hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” means?
“Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.”
The hymn was written in 1758 by Robert Robinson a pastor and hymnist. He took the concept of raising an ebenezer from 1 Samuel 7 where the prophet Samuel blesses a stone and calls it Ebenezer.
“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.’ ”
The word Ebenezer comes from the Hebrew words ’Eben hà-ezer (eh’-ben haw-e’-zer), which simply mean “stone of help”. Who or what is this stone?
1 Peter 2:4 “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’ So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.’”
The line from the hymn is about raising our faith above our own petty egos and letting go of our sin and accepting the gift of Christ’s grace and forgiveness. It is Jesus Christ who by His good pleasure brings us safely home to God.
What is your ebenezer? Have you established some “stone” in your life to recall God’s faithfulness?
Thanks for sharing this. It is important that people understand what they are singing. The back story of hymns is very fascinating and adds a lot of meaning to them. Being a former church musician I have several books giving the background behind dozens of hymns. These stories would be valuable to incorporate with our singing times in church.