1 Samuel 5-7…Samuel’s ministry.
In 1 Samuel 7, the prophet Samuel and the Israelites found themselves under attack by the Philistines. Fearing for their lives, the Israelites begged Samuel to pray for them in their impending battle against the Philistines. Samuel offered a sacrifice to God and prayed for His protection. God listened to Samuel, causing the Philistines to lose the battle and retreat back to their own territory. After the Israelite victory, the Bible records: “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us’ ” (1 Samuel 7:12).
The word Ebenezer comes from the Hebrew words ’Eben hà-ezer (eh’-ben haw-e’-zer), which simply mean “stone of help”. If you’ve ever sung ‘Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing’ by Robert Robinson (1758), then this term may conjure up memories of that song (I say memories because I’m guessing you don’t sing it anymore in your church, or if you do, it’s probably a remix with a guitar riff and a wailing tenor). When Robinson wrote his lyrics, he followed the word Ebenezer with the phrase, “Here by Thy great help I’ve come.” An Ebenezer, then, is simply a monumental stone set up to signify the great help that God granted the one raising the stone. In Robinson’s poem, it figuratively meant that the writer—and all who subsequently sing the song—acknowledge God’s bountiful blessings and help in their lives.
The next time you sing about raising your Ebenezer, you will be able to “sing with the understanding” that you are acknowledging God’s help in your life (1 Corinthians 14:15). Here is a link to the song: