Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Raise Your Ebenezer

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. Psalm 77:11-12

The Philistines had been oppressing the Israelites for decades. Then God raised up a new leader—Samuel. In 1 Samuel 7, he gathers the whole nation together, probably to celebrate the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles.

Because the people repented of their sins, God allowed them to defeat the Philistines. To commemorate the victory, Samuel set up a massive boulder as a monument. He named it Ebenezer, a compound Hebrew word that means “stone of help.” Samuel said, “Thus far has the LORD helped us,” implying that not only had God helped them in that particular battle, but that God would continue to give them victory over their enemies as long as they obeyed Him (7:12).

“Commit yourselves to the LORD with all your hearts” Samuel advised (7:3). The Hebrew word translated “commit” means “to be fixed, established, or founded.” A variation of this word was used for the foundation of a city. Samuel knew that the Israelites needed to build their lives on a foundation of obedience to God’s laws and a remembrance of all God had done for them.

When Robert Robinson composed “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” he referred to this Old Testament incident:

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Robinson also described the difficulty of consistent obedience: “Prone to wander Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.” What will keep us from straying? Robinson’s advice is similar to Samuel’s. He said, “Let Thy goodness like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to thee.” Meditating on the magnitude of God’s goodness to us and on the many occasions that He has helped us should motivate us to obey His Word so we can enjoy His blessings.

DIG DEEPER:

The Israelites set up many monuments throughout their history to celebrate God’s goodness to them. (Examples: Genesis 28:18, Exodus 24:4, Joshua 4:20-24) How do you commemorate God’s goodness? Do you keep some kind of written record?

To learn more about the Day of Atonement and The Feast of Tabernacles, read Leviticus 23:23-44.  What were the Israelites remembering during The Feast of Tabernacles? Why was that important?

As Christians we do not normally celebrate the Jewish feasts, but we do commemorate what God has done for us. In what ways is a communion service similar to the Jewish Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles? How is it different? (Read 1 Corinthians 11:21-32.)

Many modern hymnals change the wording of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and omit the phrase “Here I raise my Ebenezer.” To read Robinson’s original lyrics go http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/c/o/comethou.htm

Denise K. Loock

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