The following is an excerpt from Ebenezer and Ninety-Eight Friends – Musings on Life, Scripture and the Hymns by Marty Magee. If you like what you read you can order the book or read more sample chapters.
I Samuel 7:5-14
EBENEZER WAS NO SCROOGE
“Here I raise mine Ebenezer; Hither by thy help I’m come.”
Robert Robinson, 1758, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”
I’ve heard the name twice: In Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol and in one of my favorite hymns, “Come Thou Fount.” However, I cringe at singing words and phrases I don’t understand. The rest of the song speaks volumes to me. But who—or what–is Ebenezer?
A few years ago we studied the book of I Samuel in our Sunday school class. Ebenezer jumped off the page and introduced himself to me. The word means, “a stone of help.” After the Israelites had defeated the Philistines, Samuel set up this stone as a reminder, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” This was a lasting legacy to their children and grandchildren of what the Lord had done. We may not have a boulder in our front yard. But each of us needs an Ebenezer.
My Ebenezer is a child’s woodcarving. When our Jenny was in junior high school, she carved on everything that didn’t move. A 14-inch-piece of driftwood still sits on our piano, with the words, “The Lord is Risen Indeed.” On the other side are the three empty crosses and a sunrise on the mountain.
Maybe if we made more Ebenezers in our lives, we’d have fewer Scrooges in the world.
Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” I Samuel 7:12