Raising My Ebenezer on a Friday Morning

I fiddled with the red ear buds, twisting them this way and that to hear the melody of the song playing on my iPhone. The ear buds had been a “gift” from a transatlantic flight on Virgin Atlantic so I couldn’t complain about the quality. Finally they settled in, and I settled down, pressing “shuffle” (I like being surprised by music!). I closed my eyes happily as the second song began to play to the rhythm of the train and one of my favorite hymns filled the train, although only I could hear. The hymn was “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”. Perfect for a Friday. And as I never fail to do with this song, I started thinking about an Ebenezer. What it was and why I needed to raise mine.

There are many unfamiliar with the term so an explanation is in order. There is a prophet in the Old Testament called Samuel. He was a miracle baby, born to a woman named Hannah who anguished to the core of her being as she cried out to God for this baby to be conceived. And Hannah tangibly did what most moms find so difficult to do – she gave her baby Samuel to God.

Samuel went on to accomplish some amazing things through God, and for God. At one point, he places a large stone along the journey. I don’t know how large the stone was, but it must have been significant because it was worthy of a name – the name Ebenezer, “the stone of help.”  He did this because he had seen God’s help along the journey and wanted to acknowledge this in a concrete way.The song reflects this as it says “Here I raise mine Ebenezer, hither by thy help I’ve come. And I hope by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.” 

Truth be told, all week I’ve been thinking about an Ebenezer. I found a blog post called “What is an Ebenezer?” written by a new reader, Debby. From her blog, called “Living in Graceland”, I found that Debby works with people who have “lost their way in life”. She knows grace. She sees it by the minute. But Debby, and those she serves, also know help. They know that you’ve got to raise an  Ebenezer and proclaim that help, it’s the only way to get back on track.

So today is Friday, the end of the Western work week, and I want to raise my Ebenezer. My Ebenezer; my help; the help of physical strength and finding words to communicate well when I felt I had nothing to give and a room full of people who wanted something. It’s a Friday and  today I raise my Ebenezer.

What about you? What is your Ebenezer from this past week? Where did you find help from something or someone beyond your own ability?  Let’s raise our Ebenezer in the comment section. 

“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″

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.

8 thoughts on “Raising My Ebenezer on a Friday Morning

  1. Oh, it is a wonderful hymn and sung to such a beautiful tune. I love to think of my EbenEzer with the words carved in big letters: “God has helped you up till now. He’s not planning on giving up on you ever.”

    As an aside, I belonged as a teenager to a little Church called Ebenezer: it was a haven of grace and love.

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  2. Ah! The real grace is being able to recognize the Ebenezer when it rolls over you. (of course, you know, I’m talking about me . . .) Living consciously in God’s presence and recognizing God’s amazing grace moment-to-moment is a challenge. The Ebenezer that keeps me going most days: Grace that is greater than all my sin.

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  3. God in the Details …. isn’t there a book by that title? You were part of the Ebenezer to me Jessica with your beautiful blog post. Thank you so much! You got over 500 views!

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  4. While I am familiar with this concept, I can’t help but wonder… if the rock was large enough to be named, wouldn’t it be heavy? Isn’t there something significant about the verb used here,’raising my Ebenezer’, the rock of help? It seems to me that very fact that it is large and heavy implies that we don’t really have the ability to ‘raise our stone of help’ without the help of others. It is just too heavy for one individual… When I think of this, in my mind’s eye I see a little tiny stick figure holding a huge boulder above his head with impending disaster! Samuel says, “Up to this point the Lord has helped US.” Samuel may have been the one to initiate putting the Ebenezer in place, but I doubt he did this by himself.
    If it take a village to raise a child, it takes at least a couple of friends to raise an Ebenezer!!! :-)
    And yes, this week a best friend gave me a pep talk I desperately needed, and my wonderful husband and also best friend, took me to Florida a week ago, and in doing so they helped me to get past something, let go of something, that I could not have managed without their help. The pep talk reminded me of who I am from a loving, grace filled perspective, and the trip to Florida with long walks and bike rides on the beach, finding seashells and listening to the waves, reminded me of God’s great power and intricate attention to detail. With each resounding wave it was as if the voice of God was saying, “I am God, and I am in control!”
    And now you, Marilyn,have been the final push to help me put all these thoughts together by your simple question, “What about you?”
    So now that frail little stick person has three stick figure friends helping him (her) hold up that boulder and disaster is avoided!!!!

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    1. I love the picture you have painted of the “frail little stick figure” – that’s exactly how I felt as well. And that’s exactly what I think this is all about – Our help comes from beyond us. We can’t do it alone. This comment provided a much richer post – I thank you so much. Oh – and so jealous of the ocean and sea shells, sea air, and calm. Glad you shared this.

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  5. One of my favorite hymns. I have several versions of it and have yet to tire of hearing the heart-felt words and soothing melody.
    Thank you for the link. Very generous of you.
    I especially enjoyed your take on raising our Ebenezers. Mine this week came from some blog readers, some friends, others I’ve never met, offering me comfort and prayers for a journey I’ll be making to see my mom who has dementia. They have truly been my stones of help. Thank you for that reminder.

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    1. Will be thinking of you as you make the journey. I appreciate your original post. As I mentioned, it had me thinking even before I ended up with Sufjan Stevens “Come Thou Fount” in iPhone shuffle! Thanks to you for the reminder to continually live in “Graceland”.

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  6. My Ebenezer – God has been incredibly faithful in difficult situations. His love never failed me. His grace and mercy has been absolutely endless, pursuing me. It was a good week!
    Thanks for the encouragement. I needed that – needed to remember to be thankful for the goodness of God in all the details of life.

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