Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Come, thou fount of every blessing

 One hymn that never ceases to stir my soul is "Come, thou fount of every blessing."

The whole song gets me, but a few lines in particular feel like my own personal plea:
Jesus sought me when a stranger, 
 wandering from the fold of God; 
 he, to rescue me from danger, 
 interposed his precious blood
O to grace how great a debtor 
 daily I'm constrained to be! 
 Let thy goodness, like a fetter, 
 bind my wandering heart to thee. 
 Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, 
 prone to leave the God I love; 
 here's my heart, O take and seal it, 
 seal it for thy courts above 

There is the line in regards to raising our own "ebenezer" and I wondered what an ebenezer was. So, um, I used the internet to look it up and found this helpful context which has only added to the meaning of this song to me:
The word "Ebenezer" comes from Hebrew and is actually two words pronounced together: Even Haazer. Written in Hebrew it looks like this:

It is usually transliterated as a proper name by dropping the definite article (Ha) from the Hebrew word for "help" (Ezer) and putting it together with the Hebrew word for "stone" (Even) to create: "Ebenezer." The etymological roots of the word, thus defined, should demonstrate that an "Ebenezer" is, literally, a "Stone of Help." (1 Samuel 7:12)

In 1 Samuel 4:1-11 and 5:1, the Ebenezer is strangely identified with a particular site, about four miles south of Gilgal, where the Israelites were twice defeated by the Philistines and the Ark of the Covenant was stolen. These battles took place, however, before the site was actually named Ebenezer. It was like someone saying that Dinosaurs once lived in Dallas county -- they did, but not when this area was called "Dallas." Likewise, the two battles mentioned in 1 Samuel 4 and 5 took place at Ebenezer, but some time before it was so-named.

The site wasn’t named Ebenezer until after the Israelites finally defeated the Philistines, and took back the Ark of the Covenant. To commemorate the victorious battle, Samuel set up a marker-stone, named it "Stone of Help," and thereby the site became identified with the stone and with the place where God’s miraculous help aided them in their victory over the Philistines. The stone, standing up-right, was called "Ebenezer," and the site naturally took on that name as well.

Literally speaking, an Ebenezer is a "stone of help," or a reminder of God’s Real, Holy Presence and Divine aid. Spiritually and theologically speaking, an Ebenezer can be nearly anything that reminds us of God’s presence and help: the Bible, the Sacramental Elements, a cross, a picture, a fellow believer, a hymn – those things which serve as reminders of God’s love, God’s Real Presence, and God’s assistance are "Ebenezers."
Thought provoking, right? Or, you all probably already knew this and I'm just behind the curve. Anyway, there's my midweek spiritual thought for you, but mainly for me. 


Can do mom said...

Have you ever seen the Janette Oke movies, taken from her series of books "Love Comes Softly"? My daughters really enjoy watching them. In the first movie, Clark, Marty's husband sings that song. It's a wonderful hymn.

I love the idea that a person can be an Ebenezer. Let's make that our goal, to be Ebenezers to those whose lives intersect ours. (Even in Blog-land!)

Thank you for reminding me about that important truth. We kid ourselves if we think God cannot use today's means of communication to speak His truths to us. He just did, through your post!

kbax said...

my favorite.