“Here I raise mine Ebenezer” comes from a hymn written by Robert Robinson in the sixteenth century, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Robinson, as a 17 year old, had gone to hear the great evangelist George Whitefield … not to be inspired by the preaching but to scoff at what he considered to be the foolishness of religion. That evening turned out very differently for the young man. Not only did he find Christ that night, but also he was led to serve the Lord as a minister of the Gospel. At 23, he penned the words to a hymn that continues to trumpet the faithfulness of God.
The “Ebenezer” phrase comes from 1 Samuel 7:12. The prophet Samuel led Israel to a great victory over their frequent tormentors, the Philistines. To remember the event: “Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer, which means ‘the stone of help’, for he said, ‘Thus has the Lord has helped us.’”
At other times in her history, Israel marked significant events to always remember what God had done for them. For example, Joshua instructed the people to place twelve stones near the camp site after crossing the Jordan river on their way to reclaim Canaan (Joshua 4:1-11).
Spiritual markers are important for us to note special occurrences, unique blessings, life-changing events, deepening insights. You need them. I need them. We need them.
In a period of several months this year, Kim and I have taken part in two spiritual-marker moments. Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida celebrated their 75th anniversary at the end of May. Wieuca Road has observed their 60th anniversary this past weekend. Both churches have impacted our lives and those of thousands of other people through the years.
What are the moments in your life when you need to raise your Ebenezer? Count your blessings; name them one by one. We are so often too busy to mark those times in our lives when God has spoken, acted, delivered, blessed, anointed, called out, empowered, corrected, or challenged us.
Raise your Ebenezer! I would love to know about the spiritual markers in your life.