Here I Raise My Ebenezer

Here I Raise My EbenezerText: 1 Samuel 7:12

In the song, “O Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” the second verse has the phrase, “Here I raise my Ebenezer…” This is not a term we use today, yet it is important to understand the words that we sing (1 Corinthians 14:15). So in this lesson, we are going to look at the story about the Ebenezer – a stone set up to remind the Israelites – to see some lessons for us today.

The Background

  • The Philistines defeated Israel in battle (1 Samuel 4:2) – the Israelites decided to bring the ark to help deliver them from their enemies (1 Samuel 4:3-5); the Philistines then captured the ark (1 Samuel 4:6-11)
  • The Philistines brought the ark to the house of Dagon, an idol (1 Samuel 5:2) – the idol was humiliated and a plague came upon the people (1 Samuel 5:3-6); so the ark was sent to Ekron, but the Ekronites did not want it (1 Samuel 5:10-11)
  • The ark was sent to Beth-shemesh (1 Samuel 6:7-12) – the Lord killed over 50,000 men (1 Samuel 6:19)
  • They sent messengers to Kiriath-jearim to get the ark (1 Samuel 6:20-21) – it remained there twenty years (1 Samuel 7:1-2) until David decided to move it (1 Chronicles 13:5)
  • After receiving the ark, Samuel addressed the people at Mizpah and called for them to repent (1 Samuel 7:3-6) – the Philistines heard they were gathered there and decided to attack (1 Samuel 7:7); the Israelites were afraid, but God helped them and they defeated the Philistines (1 Samuel 7:8-11)
  • At this time, Samuel erected this stone – Ebenezer

God Was with Them

  • Ebenezer means “stone of help” – this was the reason for the name; without God, Israel was defeated; with God, they were victorious
  • What was necessary for God to be with them and help them is true for us today
  • They needed to return to God and repent (1 Samuel 7:3-4) – we cannot remain in sin (Romans 6:1-2, 11; 1 John 2:1)
  • They needed to confess their sin before God (1 Samuel 7:5-6) – in addition to repentance (1 John 1:9; Acts 8:22)
  • They acknowledged dependence upon God (1 Samuel 7:8-9) – He is our source of strength (Philippians 4:13; John 15:5)
  • They still had to go out and fight (1 Samuel 7:10-11) – Christ will be victorious (Revelation 17:14); but we must fight for Him (1 Timothy 6:12)

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; 1 Timothy 4:6); the Lord gave a memorial in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
  • The Israelites were to remember that God was with them and had helped them – we must never forget this (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Memorials Do Not Guarantee Remembrance

  • Even with memorials, people often forget
  • Jesus died that we might die to sin (1 Peter 2:24) – we remember His death each week (Acts 20:7); yet we sin
  • This memorial was to remind the Israelites’ of God’s help – yet they forgot and demanded a king (1 Samuel 8:5); they sinned in this because they rejected God (1 Samuel 8:7) who was their king (1 Samuel 12:12)
  • Memorials and reminders do no good if we do not continually set our minds to follow the Lord

Conclusion

  • We must always remember what God has done to help us and save us from our sins
  • To motivate us to continue to serve Him
  • To trust in Him for future blessings
  • To keep from falling away as the Israelites eventually did

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