Samuel took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer—”the stone of help”—for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” —1 Samuel 7:12, NLT
Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I’m 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. —Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
After a long period of sadness and trouble, a consequence of Israel’s disobedience, Israel repented under the leadership of a new priest and judge, Samuel. God restored their political security, and the people, for their part, re-committed their hearts and minds to their Lord.
Samuel placed a large stone at the place where this restoration began. He publicly dedicated it as a monument to God’s help, God’s faithfulness, God’s eternal covenant. And as the people got on with their lives, the stone stood there, visible to all who passed that way, a reminder of judgment and repentance, mercy and restoration.
The Ebenezer stone represented a fresh beginning, a reversal of course for God’s people. It also said something important about God: his mercies are everlasting; his covenant is forever.
I have friends who keep prayer journals. They record their requests to God and the answers they receive. In this way, they can go back into the past and review their walk with God; they are reminded of his faithfulness.
Prayer journals are a type of Ebenezer stone.
Members of AA can tell you how long they have been sober. They keep alive the memory of the last drink they took, and with each new day, one day at a time, they move farther down the road of sobriety. AA is on to something important. Do they ask their members to count the number of years spent in drunken waste? No. They count the days spent walking in a new direction. All that went before is water over the dam.
I tend to beat myself up about mistakes I made long, long ago. I don’t forgive myself, even though I accept the fact of God’s forgiveness. Perhaps you can identify with me. But that’s not what God desires.
Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. —Philippians 3:13b,14, NLT (The Apostle Paul writing)
I should set up an Ebenezer stone, I think, to serve as a continual reminder that I am forgiven, that I have chosen a new direction, that God has made a permanent covenant with all who put their faith in Jesus Christ.
Samuel was a wise and godly man with a good idea. He recognized something that’s true about human nature—we’re forgetful. At Ebenezer, Israel could stand next to that big old rock and remind themselves, “Yes, we serve a living and faithful God, whose mercies are everlasting.”
Update: Gary Parrett of Gordon-Conwell has written a thoughtful article for Christianity Today called Raising Ebenezer, in which he argues for preserving archaic language in Christian hymns because they inform our faith in ways that contemporary language cannot. Some good things to think about.
Photo credit: Machrie Moor standing stone (Scotland), NVM Digital
I found myself, especially when driving, “beating myself up” over and over and over about past mistakes, then I’d remember to ask forgiveness, to put it in the past and then…go over the whole thing again at some later date.
One day, I had a different thought. How come I’m not remembering kind, thoughtful, helpful things from the past. I must have done something right. That helped identify the author of those remembrances and gave me some power over them. Aha, old slewfoot, I hear you and those things that are coming to mind are not from God and can have no more power over me. It helped.
Amen sister! You are redeemed everyday because Jesus Christ nailed it to the cross. (Ephesians 1:3-14)
Today, forget your past
And begin again . . .
God loves you and you are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. (Psalm 139 NKJV) Blessings overflowing sent your way beloved daughter of the most high.
‘Ahavah and shalom from Hawaii ~♡~
Preparing for a testimonial, I am running things through my mind. As my Disciples 1 class is nearing an end, I wish to tell my story about these pat few months. I now have my message. I will raise my Ebenezer and encourage all who hear to truly study the Bible with a Disciples class.
Thanks be to God!
Well,the carnival brought me here and I decided to stay and see what you had to say…. Great artilce. For me, I get discouraged when I look ahead and see how far I have to go in my sanctification.But when I look back and see how far He has brought me, I get energized! And I came to the church through AA. It does recommend getting involved in a local church. If I remember it is in the 11th step chatper.
I love that song- it has such a wonderful combination of joy and power.
I think I am coming to the place in my life of raising my Ebenezer. I never really knew the meaning of that part of the tune, but now I think it is when we found we have come through things and are standing in a place where because of what God has brought us through we are now hopeful that He will yet be the Finsiher as He has been the author.
Thank you for the point of reference, in this post.
I had been wondering what the line “Here I raise mine Ebenezer” meant for a while now, thanks for the reference. I too struggle with forgiving myself, even after God has forgiven me. But it’s a relief to know He’s taking me through life one step at a time. I don’t think I could handle it any faster. 🙂
It is such an “honest” song of falling away and repenting continuously and having a God receive us back. I am “prone to wander” but HE keeps receiving me back. I wish to “raise my Ebenezer”.
I am preparing for our Sunday worship service, and I chose Come Thou Fount as one of our hymns. Here I raise my ebenezer was befuddling me a bit, so I googled the phrase and wound up here. thanks for the ministry and the study.
Thank you so much for your explanation of “Ebenezer”! I am a sign language interpreter for my church, and I always hate to see “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” on the list of songs for the morning. I never understood what it meant and had no idea how to sign it. Now I have a better idea. Thanks!
Can anyone tell me some information about the picture that is shown with the excellent reflective essay on an Ebenezer stone?
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing is one of my favorite hymns. Many of the new hynnals have rewritten the verse with Ebenezer in it, to say “Hitherto thy love has blest me; thou has brought me to this place.” I guess it conveys the same meaning, but it seems like it loses its connection to the powerful scripture story of the Ebenezer stone.
I was in Mongolia last summer and saw many “ovoo”– stone cairns erected as monuments to the spirit of a place. Some “ovoo” had crutches placed on them by people who had been healed of various diseases. I guess Tibetan Buddhism has its own version of an Ebenezer stone.
Hence my question about the photograph. Where was it taken? What is the significance of that particular stone? Does it have a story behind it? Is it a monument to the God of Israel and of Christ or was it erected by someone from a different background who was nonetheless expressing gratitude to the one and only God?
I used to have the phrase “prone to wander, Lord I feel it; prone to leave the God I love” running through my mind. But it bothered me because I feel I’ve left behind my heart wandering days.
Thanks to your insights on the Ebenezer stone I now have a fresh and positive perspective. (And a new phrase on my in-mind recorder.)
My Sister once said that I was afflicted with Wanderlust. I had always assumed that was because I loved to explore, had to move on every few years. This song, and particularly the verse “Prone to Wander Lord I Feel It, Prone to Leave the God I Love” is more that geographic wandering. It’s wandering from God. We all have our moments, but I have really wandered in my life. “O to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!” How great a debt that I can never repay for God’s Grace, His Son, and for the Spirit that now dwells in me.
Thanks for the explanation! I’ve always wondered what it meant and so I Googled it and found you. Thanks!
My grandmother died and was laid to rest yesterday. She was as perfect as any person that ever walked the earth, save Jesus Christ. Kind and loving, meek and selfless. Sadness through separation will become happiness through reuniting. Thank you so much for your explanation of this line from my favorite hymn. It has brought me great comfort in a time of temporary loss and sorrow
(Pleasant Grove, Utah)
This spring we built a small park in the corner of our back yard, where we set up stones. I wanted this area to be a rememberance of what we believed and God’s grace and goodness for generations to come. We have named this area our own “Ebenezer Park.” Each one of our children and grandchildren have chosen their favourite stone as a celebration of their lives and God’s goodness. Thanks and blessings.
Thank you for your reflections. This is a fresh site for me to find. Prone to Wander, Lord I feel it. . .This song has such great language, great truth, and such great imagery. I am an artist and I am working on a series of paintings on the concept of Ebenezer Stones. I would like to send people to this site to explain the work that I do.
Just what I needed today. All I did was do a google search for the words to that song. I was bored at work, and was wasting time, but it seems time well spent now. I guess we need to raise our Ebenezer every morning the moment we awake! Promise to walk the right way from the beginning.. Dedicate each day to Christ, and let him take control. Thank you!
I was wondering what I could base my sermon on since I wanted to let my members know how important it is to remember God’s blessings and his goodness. This is exactly what I wanted. Thanks, may God’s blessings be upon you continually.
Great essay and postings! I love the ebenezer story. Going through a very rough and depressing week in my life, I found a stone big enough to fit in the palm of my hand, and I held on to it in my times of sorrow, saying over and over to myself, “Thus far the LORD has brought me, and He will lead me through.” I also remembered the Israelites’ crossing of the Jordan where Joshua was told by the LORD to set up stones taken from the MIDDLE of the river while God held the waters back, a testimony of faith that God got them half way through the river and the best thing to do was to keep on walking forward, trusting Him to get them to the other side. That stone I held was so good for me as a tie to the LORD and His goodness at a time when I felt like I was coming apart and unattatched from all the good in my life. What emotional healing application the Ebenezer and Jordan stones have for us, and what great gifts from a truly awesome and wonderful God! Praise Him!
i was in prayer at church on 10/27 when i heard in my spirit the word Ebenezer spoken to me by the Holy Spirit. I had no clue what it meant until i began a search. Now i know what the Lord meant. He indeed is my HELPER
My husband and I love this song “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We were glad to find this site to explain “Here I raise my Ebenezer”. The Lord’s tender mercies truly get us through today’s very difficult times just as he did anciently. Thanks.
Look for the rendition of “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing” by Sufjan Stevens. It is amazingly moving in its simplicity and its humility. I can’t stop listening to it. It’s on volume two of his Songs for Christmas.
Your blog on Ebenezer was good and helpful to me; I shared it with a men’s group the other day. I have many personal Ebenezers; I plan to make a picture book of them.
This hymn is definitely one of my favourite ones of all time. When a friend asked me the meaning of Ebenezer, I realised I had no idea and that the only place I had heard that word was in “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” I googled the word and found your really inspiring blog. It has touched me so deeply and now the song has acquired an even deeper and more special meaning in my life.
I always thought Ebenezer meant maybe a cup or mug that held some kind of liquid. I kind of always pictured pirates saying something like “Avast there ye maties, raise your Ebenezer’s and have yer fill o ale” I’m pretty sure that’s not what it meant, but it was funny to think about pirates in Church. Now I know the real meaning and it’s not so funny.
Thanks for info! I had never bothered even to do a word search on my computer Bible to see the reference. Great site!!! First found it today! Thanks and may our LORD and Savior Christ Jesus bless you until we see each other over the bar.
Within the past 30 days the Lord has become such a wonder and blessing to me and has revealed Himself in a new way that only He could do. His blessings on my life are so remarkable that it reminded me that I needed to note the beginning of this period, and especially several days, with an Ebenezer stone.
The strong encouragement and power He has demonstrated to me is nothing less than a miracle so “Here I raise my Ebenezer” definitely will remind me of not where I have been and the many times I have not trusted Him but of the times when I fully trusted Him when there was only one set of footprints….HIS!!!
I had remembered this verse from the Bible and wanted to refresh my memory of its meaning so I ended up here on a Google search. Thanks for the short, but to the point, explanation. So wonderfully said.
My family and I have just moved and I feel God has brought me to a new place for a reason. I have been trying so hard to just trust his plan but have been feeling discouraged, not knowing why he has brought me here yet. this morning this song came into my head and i needed to know why. now i know…God has led me here because it is the beginning of a new era in my life where I am finally realizing that God needs to be the absolute center of my life, he has taken away the distractions and has brought me to a place where I can focus on and rest in Him. I know his plans are perfect and beyond my imagination. The Lord is truly good! Thanks for the information on this site.
My best friend has a similar story. She moved and it has been hard, but I definitely think he is doing exactly what you said…stripping away anything she is currently trusting in more than God so that he can be the source of every need and blessing in her life. That’s amazing that you got in tune to that so quickly. Be encouraged that God is giving you his encouragement through this. Rom 8:28 – God has to allow the “bad” things into our lives. They are not just there because of other people’s sin or tough luck. They are there on purpose and that’s for our own good and that good is Christ being formed in us. Blessings to you!
I am waiting for our house to sell while my husband has started a new job in another state. When we embarked on this adventure earlier this year, I was certain that we were in God’s will because of all the doors that opened for my husband. Having just read what Amanda posted in June, I pray that I will be able to say the same after I’m able to join my love. I don’t know why God is taking us where we are going, but I know I must trust in his perfect purpose and his perfect timing. “Come thou fount” has always been one of my favorite hymns. God will help me and lead me safely home.
We have a meeting place here i Aarhus, Denmark called Ebenezer and I was really just looking up our site before a general meeting in a couple of days. But found this site instead. Thank you so much. I have forewarded it to our chairman for inspiration for the assembly tuesday next.
Yours in motion in Christ
You can listen to the great version of “Come Thou Fount” in A Thanksgiving of American Folk Hymns performed by th BYU Combined Choirs and Orchestra on YouTube.
It is presented by permission of the copyright owners.
we need prayers.
Thank you. I now know the meaning of my name and where it came from.
I sing in our congregation’s choir and we are singing “Come Thou Fount” today in church. At practice last week no one knew the meaning of Ebenezer, so I googled it today. I love this article, and the idea of an Ebenezer as a sign of repentance and moving forward. I also very much appreciated the comment from christy, September 9, 2006 (above). I think I will find a stone today! Thank you!
I am the pastor of a new church in Chesapeake,Virginia begun in January of 2007. Today God,broke in on me while I was in prayer & begin to speak Ebenezer to me, letting me know this was the topic of my sermon for Sunday. It is very appealing for something we may take for granted & not know the true meaning of Ebenezer. Thanks so much for all the posted comments they are very interesting.
Abundant Life Tabernacle
Yesterday, at our church’s Easter service we sang this hymn, “Come Thou Fount…”, and I asked a friend from USA about the name, Ebenezer. He was also at a loss about its meaning. Thank you for your post & picture.
Pl continue with your good work. Thank God for christians of all races all over our world. It is truly heartening to know this during these troubled times we are having.
“The stone that the builders rejected” is my Ebenezer!
Thanks. How good to know what Ebenezer is… I love the hymn and your explanation.
I was reading Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris this morning and she talked about the hymn Come, thou fount of every blessing and the second verse being “Here I raise my Ebenezer. I googled the word and found your site. I have a very dear friend who has devoted his life on the words “the stone that the builders rejected” I have a ministry of stones that this man picks up on the beach that he sculpts Jesus on them. I give them to people who I think would benefit from them.
I am giving you this man’s site that shows the work that he does. It is very inspiring and wouldn’t do it any justice if I explained it. It is absolutely awesome. His name is Bob Tellier and the site is LivingStone Foundation. People have come from all over the world to see what he has done.
I woke up this morning with the name ebenezer on my lips. I heard it as ‘plant my ebenezer here’. I wondered what that name meant, and thought I had heard it in an old hymn, but didn’t know what. After research led me to your site, I was pleased to read your discourse and see that so many others had been moved by the name, and connected to it in times when they felt tired and weary from long periods of darkness and falling back. I had wrote earlier today that I see my life unfolding with dark memories and sadnesses. I feel I have grew more in weaknesses and despair than in fruitfulness and joy. I wondered was I really living, or just slowly dying. I prayed for forgiveness and mercy. I told my wife I am quitting my beer drinking today. We joined a new church and faith yesterday. Maybe I need to plant my ebenezer today.
Over the past couple of years I have gone through tremendous struggles in every area of my life. It brought me to my knees again where I should have been all along. But God’s grace has been more than sufficient to lead me to my current home and support me through it all. I’m naming my mini-farm Ebenezer and have rolled a large stone to the entrance of my driveway. Now whenever I leave or return I want to be reminded of the God who is Lord over all things and loves His own.
With Thanksgiving around the corner it surely is a time to reflect on our Lord and Savior , Jesus Christ who pulled me out of the mirey clay in 1988.
A life of loneliness, wandering, promiscuity, adultery, idolitry, clinical depression (total crash), this is where my Jesus picked me up the lost sheep, but I learned He had never left me I left Him and I have done it subtlelly numerous times as a Christian.
The past 2 weeks have brought me back to the place I need to be after hearing of the 5th suicide in my extended family. Come Thou Fount, an incredible song on my mind this past week has led me to search “Ebenezer” and brought me to your site. Thankyou for your great enlightenment and it has been by no coincidence, JESUS is my Rock my Stone my Ebenezer.
Turn to Him all you who are weak and heavy ladened, He is the WAY and you don’t have to wait and find out the hard way like I did. THANKYOU for listening.
AMEN What an essay. Like everyone else, I knew the song and I heard it on the local IRN station and couldn’t remember about Ebenezer. I googled and here I am. God is always at work is his wonderful ways. That phrase is all it takes to get people to refocus on Christ. I too have had many of the problems the other witnesses have stated. Thank you Lord, for everything.
My wife is divorcing me. There was a moral failure on my part that lead to it and she has hardened her heart against me. All this has led to my once stable, admired, and desired life to become an unbelievable three ring circus. Now, I too find myself in need of an Ebenezer. A marker that says the past is behind me and I must needs keep pushing on toward the prize. I’ve been wallowing in self-pity of late and that must stop. Here I raise MY Ebenezer. I will mourn the past but not live in it. My Ebenezer will mark the point where I stopped looking for comfort in the world (and even my wife) and where I finally, once and for all, look for it only in Christ.
I was reading Gary’s comments of 14 November 2008 and I was overcome with tears of compassion. I felt prompted to pray for you and your family. It would seem that the Lord is ministering to your heart….I pray He will minister to your wife’s also, so she can move forward with a mended heart and come to a place and say “Here I raise my Ebenezer” for truly God’s grace and mercy has brought me through my pain. With a repentant heart, the Lord will turn around your past experiences for His good and He will release the ministry of reconciliation upon your life.
I have seen the word/name Ebenezer written in several places,this made me wonder what it means.I googled your site and only to learn that it is a name that has a heavenly meaning.
Am glad that i finally know what it means and signify.Thanx to your site. God bless you.
I am going through some changes in my life, not necessarily by choice, but pressing in and believing that God is in the midst of it all. I was reading 1 Samuel this morning and came across the scripture referencing Ebenezer. How I have missed that, lo these many years, I have no idea, but I know God wanted me to “get it” today. Desiring further study, I found your blog and was greatly inspired. It was such a confirmation of what God was showing me this morning. Even more interesting is how long ago your wrote this and how God continues to use it. Thank you.
Thanks for explaining what Ebenezer means! I am playing/ singing this song in church on Sunday, and I had no idea what it meant, so I figured I should look it up. Your explanation is great, and now the song is even more powerful and meaningful to me. God Bless!
I, too, beat myself up. It seems to come and go in spells and until recently I never thought much about it.
This activity is a typical symptom of depression and is called rumination/ ruminating.
Recently, after recovering from several small strokes, the problem began interfering with daily activities. Then after many months (12-18), the ruminations stopped as abruptly as they began. I found the information in the “Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide” to be exceptionally helpful.
I’m not suggesting you’re depressed or bipolar, but the information in the book may prove useful.
The way God speaks to his people is quite unique. This verse is sang over and over by many Christians including my own family but sometime we dont actually reflect on what the true meaning is and as such condemn ourselves for the wrongs and forget the good. I am grateful for this commentry because it has opened my eyes to Gods faithfulness and mercies anew
this is beautiful, the most beautiful thesis that i have read. This is my favourite song and I have sung ‘Here I raise my Ebenezer, Hither by Thy help i’ve come’ so many times but today,I sing this song with a whole new meaning. To me every new day is my Ebenezer but I am now asking God to show me a landmark that shall be my Ebenezer till I die. He knows what I need and I promise to serve Him if He grants my wish, and even if He does not I will serve Him still and that will be a sign from Him……Take my heart Oh Lord and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.Thanks to everyone for the inspirational comments..esp ‘the rock that the builders rejected is my Ebenezer.’
I believe I have been led by God’s Holy Spirit to this site. I have always known the meaning of Ebenezer- God has led us to this far- but tonight I felt like googling it to refresh my memory. Very inspiring thesis, and yes, I too will start my own Ebenezer. Sometimes we focus more on the bad/sad things in life whereas there are a lot of good things that happen to our lives by God’s grace.
As a Christian from Swaziland, Southern Africa, I pray that God may help us as a nation to remember all the wonderfull blessings God has bestowed on us, and from there build a positive, brighter future for our people and future generations to come. We are where we are by God’s grace, and we should never forget that because of crises we face as a nation. God has not forgotten about us, He loves us and we must return such love by respecting and living holy lives. Ebenezer, God has led the Swazi nation to this far. Amen.
Thank you! I came to Christ almost 3 years ago. Have heard the phrase “raise my Ebenezer” and all I could think of was “Scrooge”, especially during the Christmas season. Needed to know what it meant.I definitely beat myself up and manage to circumcise or allow myself to be circumsized to the law. That take’s away Christ’s blessing in my life and is like telling God that I do not appreciate the gift of his son’s life and the incredible forgiveness he offers.We all have that baggage we haul around with us. I am beginning to wonder what the extra baggage charges are going to be the next time I fly. Bad- Thank goodness God’s mercy to me is greater than my mercy to myself…Peace- ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’Phil4:13
For those who hold the song dear to their hearts, a recent excellent and moving a cappella rendition can be found from the group Sonos on their 2010 release December Songs. Truly a melodious sonnet sung by flaming tongues above.
It’s amazing how God guide us back into his fold. Coming across the word ‘Ebenezer’ in the song ‘Come thou..’ I had no idea the very word would help me reflect on things i was not able to come to terms to. thanks for the insight.
Good explanation. Today I learned the meaning of the Ebenezer.
My name is Ebenezer. I was wondering why my father gave me this name. I’m trying to find out what’s the meaning of it and I was amazed about it. I want to know my purpose. I really thankful about this information.
Thank you for this blog! I was wondering about the phrase ‘my ebenezer’ and wanted to tell people the real meaning other than the name of scrooge and went through wikipedia before finding this site. It and all the posts above touched my heart, and I sent a link to a wonderful friend as well who I hope is well-moved and inspired by it as well! thank you
This has always been one of my all-time favorite hymns, but I never underatood what an “Ebenezer” Thanks for clarifying that. It makes the hymn that much more special to me.
Thanks for reminder of where Ebenezer stone comes in the Bible. A reference to it in today’s sermon prompted me to look for it as it seemed to be so important to remember. Time to read Samuel’s story again.
I’ve recently been going through the process of learning complete trust in God. Yesterday, He allowed circumstances that brought me to my knees once again, in search of His peace. I was reminded of this word, Ebenezer, and of Samuel’s declaration, “Thus far God has helped us!” I hope to never forget that it is GOD who helps me in every difficult time and every confusing circumstance. How it has built my faith to see others say the same!
Glory to God!
Lots of memories came flooding back upon me when I opened your site and relearned what I had forgotten for many years. Thank you and thank God.
I’m so glad I found your page. “Ebenezer” and remembering God’s ever present help in our lives was a theme I wanted to use in our family worship to greet the New Year 2012. I forgot the book it originated from and had been searching Exodus and all the other books immediately adjacent to it. Never thought it was from Samuel 🙂 Thanks!
I thought I was alone in this but now I know there are others out there who have the same thing gong on. I tend to remember all of my sins, or at least most of them and then I beat myself up over them. And then I realize that all of my sins have been forgiven. I know that God is faithful and has brought me out of all that muck. Of course I still sin but I know that they will all be for given.
Sorry for your temporary loss, hope you find comfort in this poem.
I do believe our precious Lord,
Sends angels from above,
To live a life among us,
And share with us their love.
I know of one such angel,
A kind and gentle soul,
A body made of flesh and bone,
Surrounds a heart of gold.
I thank God for this angel,
And for all the love she shared,
I can’t recall a single day,
When she was not there.
But now her time has come,
The Master called her home,
To reap rewards for a job well done,
At the Judgment throne.
Now she walks the streets of gold,
And wears a robe of white,
Now she has seen the face of God,
In all His brilliant light.
Now she is in paradise,
Where she will never die,
Where there is never any pain,
Or tear drops in her eye.
For those of us who are left behind,
The pain flows swift and deep,
For she is loved, and will be missed,
It’s for our loss that we weep.
I know that I shall see her,
When Gabriel’s trumpet sounds,
I know she will be waiting,
When Gods children gather round.
But until that day is upon us,
I’ll praise His Holy name,
Who shed His blood upon the cross,
To cleanse my sin and shame.
It is that blood upon that cross,
That allows me to truly say,
I know I’ll see my angel,
Again on judgment day.
Thank you for the explanation of Ebenezer. I am so grateful to God for having led me as a child to be taught about Jesus and having led me as a youth to believe in the second coming. I love this hymn. You have made its meaning so much clearer. I see in it so much about my journey to accept Baha u’llah by the grace of god and the guidance of Jesus. People who know that they are bound by God need to wake up every morning and be the raised Ebenezer, the stone of help. We are each a small stone that is tipped over by earthquakes and floods in our lives, but we have a new chance every waking day to stand it straight again and be a guidepost, a reminder of God’s mercy. Though we “cannot proclaim it well,” we are the “songs of loudest praise.”
More on the AA experience: This is similar to what we do in the 10th Step – Take a personal inventory daily and when we are wrong, promptly admit it. This helps wash away the less than honorable activities we have engaged in daily.
Uganda will be celebrating 50 years of independence on 9th October 2012 and one of the ministers proposed that we need a national Ebenezer monument so I googled it and I can honestly say that it is the most inspirational and life changing material I have ever read on the internet.
I have been going through such a tough time for 6years now when I lost everything that I had and I know that all is about to change for the better and I need to raise my Ebenezer. I feel motivated and ready to move on without forgetting what I have been through so I have made a covenant with God and I am also starting my prayer journal from this day forward.
I know that God brought me to this site and I am very grateful for the change the above explanation has made in my life. Wow!!! I feel very positive.
Thank you so much for your beautiful message and explanation of Ebenezer. Now when I sing Come Thou Fount I will have a greater understanding of, and appreciation for, my Savior’s grace and mercy and my commitment to always remember Him. I believe in Christ, but sometimes forget to believe Him when He says,”Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.”
God has led me to this site in like 2 clicks!! Such a balm and revelation. I need to establish my Ebenezer moments during this sojourn. I love the AA illustration. And I need to be forthright with my family and loved ones about what it means. Thank you for your blog post, I’ve had the suspicion this was a necessary step for a few years now, but didn’t adequately act. You have shown me how and why it’s so important to do so! Bless your soul!!!
I got to this site after watching a kenyangospel video on youtube!
We are singing “Come Thou Fount” in choir and every one was wondering what it meant when we sang Here I raise my Ebenezer. thank you for the answer. I have shared this with the choir.
Some lines of this hymn came to my mind this morning as I was looking to a fresh start for the new year. A review of what Ebenezer meant brought me to this site. I have a stone sitting on my shelf at work – I am going to call it my Ebenezer Stone and look to it often in this new year. It will be a reminder of the Lord who helps me, especially when I am prone to wander from moment-to-moment dependence on Him. I can get so easily overwhelmed with the daily demands and unfinished tasks and try so hard to catch up in my own strength… At the start of this New Year, 2013, I raise my Ebenezer!! Thank you.
I’m searching for stones to write God’s blessing on to create a display (called My Ebenezer) on the dining room table at our new home. I want to create a family tradition of reviewing and recording blessings on Birthdays, holidays or whenever a blessing comes to mind. I plan to print out your post and use it as part of the display. (I’ll make sure the appropriate citation and link are listed so others can find you here as well.) Thank you very much for sharing.
I read your posting and feel your pain. I am in a similar situation. I just wonder how you are doing.
Thank you for your commentary on 1 Samuel 7:12. We are studying through this in SS and in our commentary – the writer talks about Raising our Ebenezer. I had no idea what he was talking about so I, too, found this page through a google search. It’s funny, as someone God has delivered from a lifestyle that comes with addiction, I seem to have forgotten where I put my Ebenezer. Lately, I’ve been seeking to find that place. When I woke up this morning, I felt as if a weight had been lifted off of me and I was reminded of how it felt when my walk with God was fresh and I was more grateful for my deliverance. God’s timing was perfect (as it always is). “Feelings” can be very misleading but today – they were exactly right. Thanks again for your thoughts!
What a great light, this ‘Ebenezer enlightenment/reality’ has shed upon my growing light in God. I was searching for lyrics to a song that says “Ebenezer Nkosi yami, ungihole kwaze kwaba la… …” (Ebenezer My Lord, you have travelled with me thus far). Purposely God brought me to this-your page.
Nice to know and meet you,
Clara Landiwe Mabaso
Sometimes when I seek repentance, I am vainly proud of myself for turning to God (I know–it’s ironic to commit the sins of vanity and pride while in the very act of seeking His grace). What an inspiring thought it is to remember that “HE sought ME when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God.” And yes–prone to wander? Oh I DO feel it! Yet, It’s HIS grace that is sufficient for me. How blessed we are that He continues to leave the ninety and nine for us… for ME… the one, who by His grace, is worth saving. Thanks for the post and the comment board, which I can use to raise MY Ebenezar! So here I raise it: a public reminder in this very comment that I have progressed as far as I have by His help; and IN His help is my hope to, “by [His] good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.” Again, thanks for sharing and the good work you do.
I surrendered my life to God and He saved my soul one day along the road in 1995 (I was 41). I love to go there from time to time, God seems especially near and clear to me there. I put a small cross on top of the fence post during one of our visits there a few months later. My wife says it is my Ebenezar….I really didn’t understand it until I visited this site. I really don’t dwell too much on my life prior to that day, other than to be amazed at how God ever kept me alive long enough to save me! Now when I think back to that day in 1995 I could never have dreamed of what God was going to do or how He would use even me. I stand before You oh Lord humbled by Your love and Your grace. Thank you, I am so grateful for the salvation only You can and did provide to me.
A couple Sundays back, in church by myself- Michelle was working in child care and Arden was across the way in another part of Covenant- well during the praise portion of the service they sang Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.
Well I believe I have heard it before, not often, the words were not really familiar to me, but the tears just welled up in me and would not stop. I cried through the entire thing… I don’t know why. It reminded me of my other ‘baptism of tears’… I felt the emptiness of our lives and the blessing and… how deep was our need, even our hunger, for His grace, His mercy, His salvation…
None of the other songs got to me… they hardly seemed to even touch me … and usually it is like that… most of the praises seem to fall short to me…hollow… well I don’t know what it is but I rarely feel touched by them… but here I am gushing tears from somewhere deep inside me and it makes no sense… why this one song seemed to get to me… I have not the foggiest.
Of course I know… it is the Holy Spirit. I told my wife of the experience and she left it at that. Still doesnt that leave just about everything in the experience out…? Why this song… why now… why the tears. I did a search for a review of a movie “Come Thou Fount- Thoughts on the Shakers” because the song, for no reason, made me think of them. It is not a part of their legacy though it comes from the same time period.
And then I was writing all this out and I realized without realizing it- because I began talking about miracles and what they mean- that I was in my way fashioning another Ebenezer. The search for that review brought me to this site- though I had already searched out the song and lyrics many times without finding this site. And then I see the comments!
From 2005 onward people have steadily been making comments here… quiet unobtrusive comments about the kinds of miracles I was talking about. Finding something when you are not looking for it… when you would never have even begun the search. Yet what you needed, and yes even wanted, was right around the corner. Somehow you had missed it… and finding it, whatever it may be, for it could be many different things, yet all one thing, you dont even realize the nature of the gift.
The finding blesses you… and you forget… and forget again. You may forget many times the significance. And then one day another finding … and this time you are there too and you remember and everything comes back and you realize you have come to the place you were trying to find, thinking you were lost, when you were found.
Did He know when He blessed me with those tears I would find my way here and leave this message… I have still I think a long journey but yet I have reached my only home quite some time ago. Thanks to Charles but especially to all the 81 or so comments above… to all of you… I think I read every single one! May God’s grace soak all of you like warm spring rain!
James, Thanks so much for sharing your thought. I’m glad I’ve subscribed to receive updates on the note I left here on the board. Your thoughts came to me today in my email as ‘another finding’–one I needed today. Thanks for reminding me again of the source of all goodness, and the grace with which He reaches our for us. I needed these thoughts, and I appreciate them. I just wanted you to know they have made my day more meaningful, and will certainly point my thoughts in a better direction than they would have otherwise been. Godspeed on your journey. I think that no matter where we are in this mortal journey, we ALL have ‘a long way to go’ (as you mentioned). How nice it is to know that He will lead us quietly by these Ebenezers from time to time and help us progress. Thanks for your willingness to play a part of His plan for me today.
God led me here tonight.. I found myself thinking too hard on the past..instead of my blessings..
this site is a huge blessing .. ALL of the comments i read everyone.. thank you for sharing your thoughts..
I pray this thread of blessings continue here.. I look forward to coming back and reading these beautiful words thoughts and prayers from the heart
A wonderful writing on the meaning and significance of Ebenezer. It really blesses me. Thank you.
Tip of the hat to Michael for… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rGvKYhJUNs…
this is the YouTube of Sonos’ rendition of ‘Come Thou Fount’…. I received the comment from Ferry recently- I have set my email to receive the comments to this particular post- and found myself looking at my comment from a couple of months back.
This experience of mine in church is still not far from my mind. It is strangely almost as if it were yesterday. And I had remembered the comment from Blaine… I hadn’t been feeling well through most of this Christmas time- caught the flu in the middle of it- and have felt very far away in that way ‘sickness’ has in removing you from things.
Always a strange experience but it moves your perspective and you find old things new again. You find again how important the littlest things are… warmth, a simple melody, just mere presence is no longer mere but something incredible.
After listening to the rendition from Sonos- and it is a capella- just voices no other instruments- and I ended up sending to several people via my phone- I thought I would add another comment here. Thanks again to Charles for anotherthink.com and this particular post ….
I’m glad I found this article in January. We were singing the song Come Thou Fount and when we got to the 2nd verse we speculated on the meaning. That’s how we found the article. As we considered the meaning we realized that we each uniquely were in a place to begin a new course and each a circumstance which God had helped us thus far. We felt blessed that the Lord brought us to know he is at the beginning of the new year and was pleased to share it with us through your article. Divine appointments 🙂
Your article is its own faithful marker. I grew up going to a small church with Ebenezer as part of its name. The church and the song are both dear to me. Thank you for your faithful testimony to God’s long-suffering love and compassion. J.H.
Reading all the comments reminds me of ripples that are lingering effect of pebbles thrown in the ocean. The original article was written almost nine years ago and yet still speaking to many today. Just like the original Ebenezer stone, those who raised it are long gone but the stone stands as a reminder to yet unborn generations.
A quite curious tangent brought me round to Ebenezer today. In the form of a marionette from a production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ in 1921… I ended up looking into Charles Dickens’ use of this name… and found the following meditation on Ebenezer from Sojourners (the full article is here… http://sojo.net/blogs/2011/12/28/gospel-according-charles-dickens-exegeting-ebenezer-scrooge…)…
“…The Gospels tell us that Jesus’ family thought Jesus was out of his mind at least once (Mark 3). They were concerned that he had lost touch with reality. And in a way, they were right to be concerned.
The new reality Jesus was ushering in meant that he and his followers had started to lose touch with the old reality. Paul wrote that the message of the cross is foolishness to most but to those who are being saved it is the glory of God (1 Corinthians 1).
If you don’t find the idea of God putting on flesh and dwelling among us scandalous, then you don’t understand it.
Conversion should be a transformation so significant that people should laugh at us and think us foolish for the risk-taking charity that flows out of our lives.
Not all of us have the kind of dramatic conversion that marked the life of Ebenezer Scrooge. Many of us live lives in which our conversion occurs slowly each day.
So the important questions to ask at Christmas are these:
Am I more converted than last year?
Are my heart and life turning closer to the picture of the miserly Scrooge or the joyful Ebenezer?
What is the trajectory of my spirit?
With each decision we make we bring either more freedom or captivity into the world. Christmas is not just a time to be charitable but to assess the charity of our spirit from the entire year before.
May Christmas this year inspire us all to a kind of charity worth laughing at.”
Also this from the same article…
“He begged the Spirit to show him a scene in which some person, any person, was moved to emotion at his death. The Spirit brought him to the house of a debtor who rejoiced with his wife at the death of Scrooge because now they might have time enough to pay back their loan. When he was shown the Cratchit household there was no mention of Scrooge at all, only mourning for the passing of Tiny Tim.
For a story about conversion, death is a necessary character. It is in the finality of death that our eyes are able to readjust and see the horizon of our life and being. It is within that context of understanding our end is coming that we can live our lives well.
It was around this time two years ago that I was in the ICU with acute necrotizing pancreatitis caused by complications from a diagnostic procedure. I was in respiratory distress, had been catheterized and was wearing an adult diaper as I was no longer able to control my bowels. I was 25 and the doctors told my family there was a fifty-fifty shot as to whether I would live or die.
With a clear vision of my own mortality it was never more sure to me that little matters in life as much as who shows up at your hospital bed to say goodbye or hold your hand and say that there is still hope.
Dickens describes the corpse of the Scrooge of the future:
He lay, in the dark, empty house, with not a man, a woman, or a child to say he was kind to me in this or that, and for the memory of one kind word I will be kind to him.
The woman who stole the shirt off the cold body of Scrooge was correct in her insight that it would be of little good to him now. Nothing that moth and rust can destroy or thieves can break in and steal is of lasting value.
Death of self, Paul teaches in Colossians 3, must be confronted before the gift of true life can be received. Before God, we are all stripped bare.
It is the reflection of ourselves in the mirror of death that allows us to weigh our life.”
The last comment about the lingering effect of pebbles in the ocean is quite to the point. I find myself coming back to this site. Wikipedia mentions that Dickens had found the name Ebenezer on a headstone in a nearby graveyard and that had been the origin of his name for the character. I doubt he was unaware of its meaning from the Bible.
Excellent ideas and words of God shared
I have NEVER read all comments on a blog before until now. I have sat and read everyone. I too wanted to know the meaning of raise my ebenezer. After almost 10 years and this site is still being found. What an inspiration and gift God gave you to touch so many lives around the world with such simplistic explanations.
I loved all the comments and yours James in particular.
I have been listening, again and again, recently, to Dylan’s ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’… it reminds me of Rimbaud’s ‘The Drunken Boat’… but it also reminds me of Whitman…
SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.
I ask no good-fortune… I am good-fortune… I need nothing… I travel the open road…
He needs nothing… because, like the disciples direction, ‘… take nothing…’, when Jesus sent them away with the Good News… well Whitman understands as they did everything they need will be provided. Which brings me again to Ebenezer and the perfect world.
I had a long meandering conversation last night with G, a friend from church… but I told him of my experience of what to my mind was the Holy Spirit.
He brings this feeling that all is well, the world in a perfect balance, Grace holding us in its arms, and in some way that I have a perfect understanding of when it happens, but seems totally unfathomable to me at the same time, we are loved. In short everything is not simply all right … but perfect. We live in a perfect world.
Well this isn’t my normal state of being… I can’t say I feel that sitting here writing these words… and yet some of that ‘feeling’ is still accessible to me from His touch… indeed it is unfathomable to me now, a mere human being.
My family is having a really tough time, in more ways that I can count, we are struggling on many levels, I could name most of them… but what would be the point… my talk with G last night reminded me of many things I don’t think about on a daily basis.
And of course it reminded me of this site, and Ebenezer, and Scrooge, and the Holy Spirit, and the baptism of tears… I opened the Bible again. Still to my mind if not the most profound book in the library of the species, one of the most profound. So profound I often have trouble getting to the bottom of many passages…
Still I remember His touch. Everything is different, changed, and you are ready to begin again, to follow Him, knowing everything is perfect, is balanced, and Grace surrounds you, an ocean of bliss beyond our ordinary reckoning… Whitman again:
Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love
more precise than money,
I give you myself
before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself?
Will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other
as long as we live?
I finished my masters thesis late last night. A week, before submission. I wanted to acknowledge how far God has brought me. Ebenezer came to mind and I googled for the meaning and ended up here. Thanks
Thank you for this article. lots to think about. If the language of archaic hymns better inform our faith, maybe we should continue to use older translations of the Bible, like the King James version.
Thank you. I enjoyed the article.
‘And Samuel took…’ were actually the words the Spirit had deposited in my Spirit. I guess I didn’t pay enough attention to this until one morning last month [August] about the 11th during my shower time the Spirit began to inspire me to shout’Ebenezer’. And I did shout as loud as I could under that inspiration.
I came to notice the term Ebenezer through the preaching of Bs. T.D Jakes called ‘The fight Ain’t over’and I had repeated it for many times because when I read my whole bible just the writing style of this particular account [1 Sam 7] really do something in my person- I love it. And because of that T.D Jakes’ preaching I had come to couple the term ‘Ebenezer’ with the term ‘Mitzpah’.
Haphazardly that morning at my Graduate employment I began to search for more definition of what Ebenezer might mean. And I picked this site and only it; and bumped into the definition and testimonies.
As the Spirit initiated this move I was just at the foot of communication with my new to be Boss from the 1stOct 2014. How I got here is as subsequent:
Three months after my varsity; I got my six months Internship Contract with my varsity Sponsor the Stock Exchange [JSE] and my new Boss to be now was my team leader there and then. And while I was serving under him; the Lord gave me a dream of him handing a paper to me; which I assumed to be a contract of permanent employment. But towards the end of the contract for some reason I got changed to a new team and there; they took me for training and things were promising until the last few weeks when the manager there told me I should be looking for a job because he wasn’t going to employ me. And so it was that his words became true so that at the 1st Oct 2013 I was out of job until January 2014.
While deleting some of the contacts on my phone- the Sunday evening of 10th of August 2014; I saw the contact of my new boss to be and I thought let me call- hear how he’s doing, and through that communication he told me he had left the Stock Exchange four months ago and now was working for a stockbroking side of the Big bank next door as a manager. He took my mail address. And got back to me next morning 11th Aug.
The Spirit brought the dream to mind; how that I dreamt of him giving me a paper of what I assumed to be a contract of permanent employment. And with one communication to the other until the recruitment processes I am pleased to say EBENEZER; the Lord helped me; and that’s how I got this far.So this Wed 1stof Oct 2014 I’m commencing my new journey established by Christ.
Ebenezer and thank you all; from the writer of the paper to all the testimonies; some got me to cry while at work; we thank God for sending us a Saviour to give ‘we’ hope- who were hopeless, and joy who were joyless.
By the definition of scripture Christ IS our life Col 3:4 and I say so because though it is so scripturally but some do have good families or friends or connection that can provide for their needs; but to me that Christ is my life is very plain because without Him I am literary nothing; I have no common wealth or connection or referral. –I hope my point here is not misunderstood; as for one saying that some have families who can give them what Christ can-
It’s evening more amazing out of all things I can say to realize that I wasn’t even born again by the date of this paper. Such a spring of blessing has this work been; surely the Spirit of the Lord is evidence in its simplicity and productiveness. Again more blessings to the author and all the other many comments
A very spiritual article that I have referred to ever since I had an accident in 2012. When my mother and father passed away in 2012 and 2014 respectively, the article has been my inspiration to communicate with the Almighty through prayer.
I was just reading Magnalia Christi Americana, by Cotton Mather, published in 1702. It covers “FROM ITS FIRST PLANTING, IN THE YEAR 1620, UNTO THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 1698.” The author says he is transferring the raising of the Ebenezer from where Samuel set it up to the heart of Boston, “the place where the remarkable help received from Heaven by the people, does loudly call for an Ebenezer” (p. 91).
Because of the book, I looked up the word and found this site. Mather’s complete focus was on thanking the “Stone of help.” He saw God’s hand in the founding and settling of America. In those days, raising up an Ebenezer not only meant to call upon the “Stone of help” but also to give thanks and acknowledge the help we have received from God. The first colonists thanked God in the midst of struggle and death because they dwelt upon all that God had done for them by giving them a promised land where they could worship God in a pure way away from the corruption of the English church. I know I am closest to the Lord when I dwell on all of the good He has done in my life rather than dwell on my failures and trials. I come to the garden with the Lord and raise an Ebenezer. Thank your for this site.
I thank God for being with me during the time of trial when my marriage was on the verge of collapse and left every thing to the Lord. For the word of God says call unto me and I will answer thee thus I have my Ebenezer
Yes that Ebenezer is Messiah Yeshua who cannot be represented anymore by physical things.. That place of Messiah is a daily place to go and you never need a physical reminder
Last Sunday our preacher brought in bags of stones
and had them passed out, one to each member
of the congregation. I have kept mine in my
purse and each time I see it I am reminded of
of the hope and help given to me by God.
I have a dear friend who lives several hundred
miles from me and is fighting an aggressive
cancer. I am going to write her information
about the Ebenezer and send her a stone from
my yard. I hope it will give her a sense if hope
Your pastor and I would get along well. I love being given something that brings me back to the place I need to be and reminds me why God made me. I will suggest this as an Object Lesson we will benefit from using at my church, Joy Lutheran, Tulsa, OK. Thank you for sharing.
I just want to comment on the fact that, although I have been a Christian all my life, attended years of classes at church; and listened, I thought carefully most of the time, to years of wonderful sermons from gifted pastors; I did not know where the word Ebenezer came from and what it meant until a dear friend sent me anotherthink.com. I even helped refurbish the parsonage at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, Oaks, OK; and did not know why the church was named Ebenezer. Now I know because Ebenezer Lutheran Church sits on land that is a campus for a Native American Indian School named The Oaks, where Indian children who need homes, care, love, and an education come to live. This school is supported through donations, and many children have lived most of their lives there and prospered due to the support, encouragement, love, and help they received while growing up there. Here I raise my Ebenezer!
I was listening to a song which was talking about Ebenezer and l wanted a clearer understanding of what this meant. This website has been a great enlightment. Have been in church many many years never new what Ebenezer meant. I have always kept a journal now God has affirmed why. Glory to God and Thank you this article and all the comments. I am raising my Ebenezer.
This post brought encouragement and inspiration as I considered the meaning of EBENEZER.
I was moved to look back on my own journey and of my children and grandchildren. I was moved to pause and thank God for those remarkable places where he stood at the crossroads with us and enabled change for our good and His glory.
Thank you for taking the time to write this timeless message.