by Roger Thomas

Here We Raise Our Ebenezer (3 of 11)
Series: Patriotic and Special Occasions
Roger Thomas
1 Samuel 7:12

Introduction: I recently saw a production of Charles Dickens's ''A Christmas Carol.'' The play reminded me how much of an impression the classic Christmas tale has had on all of us. The very name of the chief character has become a part of our vocabulary. Anyone who is a stingy, sour-puss at Christmas is known as a ''scrooge.'' On the other hand, how many boys do you know named Ebenezer?

Despite the Scrooge legacy, the name Ebenezer has a glorious legacy. In fact, one of my favorite hymns uses that term in a strange line that practically nobody understands. Perhaps, you have sung the song ''Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing'' and wondered about the line. The first verse reads, ''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. Praise the mount--I'm fixed upon it--Mount of thy redeeming love. Here I raise mine Ebenezer; Hither by thy help I'm come. And I hope by thy good pleasure Safely to arrive at home.''

That line from the hymn, the name Ebenezer, and the lesson we need today all come from a single Old Testament verse. I hope that after today, whenever you are overwhelmed by life or tempted to give up in discouragement, you will repeat this strange word to yourself-Ebenezer! People may think you are crazy, but I guarantee if you can say Ebenezer with meaning you will never be the same.
Let me read the Old Testament verse, explain a bit of the story behind it, and then show what it so important about it for us today. 1 Samuel 7:12, ''Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ''Thus far has the LORD helped us.''

It was over eleven hundred years before the time of Jesus. The people of Israel had conquered much of the Promised Land, but it hadn't bee ...

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