My Ebenezer project was named after I became fascinated a few years ago with the hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, sung by the BYU Choir during the time I was at BYU. Many of the singers in this choir were classmates and members of my ward during that time. This is my all time favorite performance of this hymn, but I never understood the line:
“Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I’m come”
until I read about it in Samuel.
1 Samuel 4-7
The Israelites went against the Philistines in battle, but because some of the Israelites had fallen into wickedness and begun following false gods, the Lord was not with them. With only their own strength, the battle was sorely lost. Thirty thousand Israelites were slaughtered and the Philistines took their land and many cities as well as the ark of the covenant.
Twenty years later with the prophet Samuel, the Israelites were once again fully repentant and ready to come again against the Philistines, this time in the strength of the Lord. The Israelites were victorious over the Philistines with the miraculous help of the Lord, and won back their lands and cities in the same place they had lost them twenty years earlier. As a reminder of the great victory God gave to Israel, Samuel took a great stone and raised it as a memorial “between Mizpeh and Shen.” As he raised it he “called the name of it Ebenezer [or stone of help], saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12). Whenever the Israelites looked at the stone, they would remember that strength of the Lord in their lives. (for more, see Music and the Spoken Word,)
In my life, I traveled a similar road as Samuel and his people, only I wasn’t going to war, I was building my family. Like Samuel, I came upon a difficult place, and lost, tragically. This time, as I’ve come upon the same place, I have the strength of the Lord, helping me through. What better name for lace, symbolic of such great blessings? I put my faith, my trust, my all, on that altar. This gift of the heart is a monument to remember His help in my life.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
I’ll praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
Mount of thy redeeming love
Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by thy help I’m come
And I hope by thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wondering 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