Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Tune my heart to sing thy praise
From the 2nd verse:-
"Here I raise mine 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,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood"
I wondered what Ebenezer meant and looked it up:-
Meaning: Stone of Help
Etymology: Combination of the Hebrew word for stone is “even” and the Hebrew word for help “Haazer”
"And when the children of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. So the children of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the LORD our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.”
And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the LORD. Then Samuel cried out to the LORD for Israel, and the LORD answered him. Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the LORD thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and drove them back as far as below Beth Car. Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer,[c] saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” (1 Sam 7:7-12)
This was during and/or just after (not sure which) a time when the Israelites had strayed from God, paying homage to other gods such as Baal and Ashtoreth (god of storm/lightning and goddess of fertility). (Cf Numbers 24 and 25)
Israel (the nation state) had suffered a crushing defeat in the hands of the Philistines. (1 Samuel 4:1). After the Israelites repented before God for their straying, God granted them victory over the Philistines, Samuel set up a stone as a marker and named it the stone of help.
The site then became called “Ebenezer”.
(Disclaimer: this is totally the cliff notes version of the context,historically and geographically but all I really set out to do was look up the meaning of the word.)