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May 2, 2007

Here I Shall Build My Ebenezer

QUESTION.. what does Here I shall build my Ebenezer mean?

It comes from an old hymn, ?Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,? written by Robert Robinson in 1758. The particular verse is:

“Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I?ve come;”

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing is a Christian hymn composed by the 18th century Methodist pastor and hymnist Robert Robinson. The hymn is set to an American folk tune known as Nettelton, by attribution to the evangelist Asahel Nettleton who composed it early in the nineteenth century. Robinson penned the words at age 22 in the year 1757. The song has gained a degree of popularity in recent years because it has been covered by David Crowder Band on their album All I Can Say, and on their live recording Our Love is Loud. Matthew Smith has also recorded a popular version on his album All I Owe. Sufjan Stevens recorded a version for his Hark! Songs for Christmas album, which reached 122 in the US charts and Tales of Thomas (AKA Brian Thomas) recorded it on the album Hymns: Revisited/Remixed. It’s from Brian Thomas’ version that I get “Here I Shall Build My Ebenezer” Download

1 Samuel 7:12
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 Hebrew and is actually two words pronounced together: Even Haazer.

It is usually transliterated as a proper name by dropping the definite article (Ha) from the Hebrew word for “place” (Ezer) and putting it together with the Hebrew word for “stone” (Even) to create: “Ebenezer.” The etymological roots of the word, thus defined, should demonstrate that an “Ebenezer” is, literally, a “Stone of Help.”

In 1 Samuel 4:1-11 and 5:1, the Ebenezer is strangely identified with a particular site, about four miles south of Gilgal, where the Israelites were twice defeated by the Philistines and the Ark of the Covenant was stolen. These battles took place, however, before the site was actually named Ebenezer. It was like someone saying that Dinosaurs once lived in Dallas county — they did, but not when this area was called “Dallas.” Likewise, the two battles mentioned in 1 Samuel 4 and 5 took place at Ebenezer, but some time before it was so-named.

The site wasn?t named Ebenezer until after the Israelites finally defeated the Philistines, and took back the Ark of the Covenant. To commemorate the victorious battle, Samuel set up a marker-stone, named it “Stone of Help,” and thereby the site became identified with the stone and with the place where God?s miraculous help aided them in their victory over the Philistines. The stone, standing up-right, was called “Ebenezer,” and the site naturally took on that name as well.

Literally speaking, an Ebenezer is a “stone of help,” or a reminder of God?s Real, Holy Presence and Divine aid. Spiritually and theologically speaking, an Ebenezer can be nearly anything that reminds us of God?s presence and help: the Bible, the Sacramental Elements, a cross, a picture, a fellow believer, a hymn ? those things which serve as reminders of God?s love, God?s Real Presence, and God?s assistance are “Ebenezers.” – Dr. Gregory S. Neal

If you are not familiar with this hymn, you should read the Lyrics. This is such an amazing song of praise and prayer.
Download: MP3 courtesy of Semper Reformanda Records.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I?m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great 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;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I?m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here?s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I?ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

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3 comments

  • At 1:03 pm on May 2, 2007, Radioactive Jam commented:

    Working widgets! Also yes, awesome lyrics.

    [Reply]

  • At 12:43 pm on May 3, 2007, Luisa Perkins commented:

    This is one of my very favorite hymns. I noticed your allusion to it right away. But good answer.

    [Reply]

  • At 11:22 pm on June 5, 2007, Teri M. commented:

    An excellent choice! My favorite hymn. We sang it in church last Sunday. Every heard the phrase “bladder behind her eyes”? Yeah. That’s me.

    [Reply]

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