Here I Raise My Ebenezer

Text: 1 Samuel 7:12

The song, O Thou Fount of Every Blessing, contains the phrase, “Here I raise my Ebenezer…” What was the story behind the Ebenezer?

The Background

  • Philistines defeated Israel in battle, the Israelites brought the ark to help them, but it was captured (1 Samuel 4:2-11)
  • Philistines brought the ark to house of Dagon, after the idol was humiliated and there was a plague in the land, it was sent to Ekron (1 Samuel 5:2-11)
  • Ekronites put the ark on a cart pulled by two cows and let them go, they came to Beth-shemesh (1 Samuel 6:7-12)
  • In Beth-shemesh, the Lord killed over 50,000 because the men looked in the ark; they sent messengers to Kiriath-jearim to get the ark (1 Samuel 6:19-21); ark stayed here for 20 years (1 Samuel 7:1-2) until David would later move it (2 Samuel 6:3)
  • After receiving the ark, Samuel addressed the people and called for their repentance; the Philistines came against them, but God helped them and they defeated the them (1 Samuel 7:3-11)
  • It was at this time that Samuel erected this stone — Ebenezer (1 Samuel 7:12)

God Was with Them

  • Ebenezer means “stone of help” — without God they were defeated; with God they were victorious
  • Before God would be with them and help them, they needed to repent (v. 3-4), confess their sins (v. 5-6), acknowledge their dependence upon God (v. 8-9), and go out and fight (v. 10-11)

It Was a Memorial

  • Memorials are important because people forget
  • The Bible emphasizes the importance of being reminded (Deuteronomy 6:6-12; 2 Peter 1:12-13)

Memorials Do Not Guarantee Remembrance

  • Even with memorials, people often forget
  • Memorials and reminders do no good if we do not continually set our mind to follow the Lord

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