Are you Raising Your Ebenezer?
(Sing 226 “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” before lesson)
Have you ever wondered what the phrase “here I raise my Ebenezer” means?
We want to look at its origin this morning and see how it applies to our lives today.
Our main text for today will be 1 Samuel 7:1-13, but before we read it we need to look at some background to this text.
1 Samuel 4:1 And the
word of Samuel came to all
Please keep in mind that this place where this bloody battle went down was called Ebenezer. At first, the Israelites went out and battled against the Philistines, but they lost 4000 men. So, they figured they needed to bring out their secret weapon, the ark of the covenant.
The ark of the covenant had a strong history behind of it of
caused those who possessed to accomplish great things. Originally, God
commanded Moses to have the ark built. We see interesting things about it such
as the priest caring it during the days Joshua when the crossed the
The ark was used at the fall of
In the minds of the Israelites, the ark had become force that could not be overcome. They knew that God’s presence was with the ark and they thought all they had to do was bring out the ark of covenant and all their enemies would be destroyed.
We can see that the Philistines were aware of the ark and of their God because they were afraid at first, but the mustered up their courage and their faith in themselves was apparently greater then the Israelites faith in God, because not only were they slaughtered they lost the ark of God.
1 Samuel 5:1 Then
the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to
Though the Israelites faith was weak, we can see that God’s was presence was with the ark and the Philistines would pay high price for taking it with them. First God showed His power over their man made God Dagon as God caused it to fall apart twice. No matter where they took the ark, destruction and devastation followed it.
1 Samuel 5:11 So they
sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said,
"Send away the ark of the God of
The ark finally came to Beth mesh, but they looked in the ark which was against the commandments of God and over 50,000 men were struck dead. From there they sent the ark to Kirath Jeraim (1 Samuel 6:19-21), and it stayed there for 20 years.
Now that we have examined the background behind our text, let’s now take a look at our text in 1 Samuel 7. As we examine our text I want you to notice the following 3 things:
1. Samuel called for repentance
3. Samuel set up a memorial
1 Samuel 7:1 Then
the men of Kirjath Jearim came and took the ark of the LORD, and brought it
into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep
the ark of the LORD. 2 So it
was that the ark remained in Kirjath Jearim a long time; it was there twenty
years. And all the house of
The ark had been in Kirath Jeraim for 20 years but the people were still worshipping idols. So, Samuel commanded them to repent and promised them victory if they would put away their false gods and return to the Lord. Notice, Samuel didn’t beat around the bush. He told them exactly what they need to do to get right with God, which is exactly how we should be today. We should always be clear when telling people what they need to do to be right with God.
The people at Kirath Jeraim were on the right path to getting right with God because verse two says they lamented after the Lord and longed for Him. They were upset with their present condition. The same thing happens to us we find ourselves convicted of sin.
As Paul said:
2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Samuel told them to put away their false gods and prepare their hearts to serve the Lord only. James says we should do the same:
James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up
The children of
Colossians 3:5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,
If there is one think that people in the
So many people are oppressed by sin because they are putting other things before God. This is no different than the Israelites being oppressed by the Philistines for putting other gods before our God.
1 Samuel 7:5 And
Samuel said, "Gather all
The name Mizpeh means watchtower. Samuel prayed for God to
watch over the children of
Lamentations 2:19 … Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord…
At the moment the
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
These Israelites were probably somewhat afraid because they had not done well against the Philistines the last time. Samuel had prayed for them, and as James teaches us:
James 5:16 … The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Of course God heard Samuel’s prayer and saw His repented people before Him.
1 Samuel 7:7 Now
when the Philistines heard that the children of
The Philistines had moved in for the kill, but God was with His people. When Samuel offered the burnt offering to God He thundered down on the Philistines and they became confused. As Hezekiah said:
2 Chronicles 32:8
"With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our
God, to help us and to fight our battles." And the people were
strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of
Just as God was with His people, God is with us today. As Paul wrote:
Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us?
When we put our faith and trust in God, we can know that He will help give us strength and help us fight off the devil and his ways so that we can stand victorious before our God in the end.
1 Samuel 7:12 Then
Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called
its name Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us." 13 So the Philistines were
subdued, and they did not come anymore into the
Samuel set up a memorial. He raised up this great stone and called it Ebenezer; which means “the stone of help”. Back in Samuel Chapter 4 Israel was defeated at Ebenezer and the ark was taken, but now Samuel is raising up this stone is the same place the ark was taken from them. At first, this was a place of defeat, but not it would serve as memorial of how the Israelites turned their hearts back to God by putting away their idols and trusting in the Lord, which allowed their enemy to be defeated because God was now with them because their faith was intact.
Now that we have a deeper understanding of what “raise my Ebenezer” means listen to words of 2nd line of our song as I read them and see how more meaning the words have:
Here I raise my Ebenezer; Hither by thy help I’ve come;
And I hope by Thy good pleasure Safely to arrive at home;
Jesus Sought me when a stranger, Wand’ring from the fold of God;
He to rescue me from danger Interposed His precious blood.
God was with
Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
However, we must have lives right with God and our faith intact. As:
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
God will be with us just as He was with
Psalm 121:1 From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.
Are you raising your Ebenezer?
Is Christ your stone of help?
If not, I hope you will repent of whatever you are allowing to come between you and God so that you can get right with Him and receive the help that you need in your life. If you are hear and you have never become a child of God, why not make today the day you become victorious over the devil by obeying God plan of salvation..etc…
Adapted from Greg Dial’s sermon Are you raising your Ebenezer.