Saturday, November 7, 2009


1 Sam. 7:1-13

When you hear the name Ebenezer, what do you think of? Ebenezer Scrooge, of course, the greedy, mean, miserly villain of Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol.
The name Ebenezar is also part of a lyric in the second stanza of the hymn, “Come, Thou Fount
Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I’ve come;
And I trust by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home.

Some modern hymnbooks omit that verse from the song because too many Christians are clueless to what “Ebenezer” is a reference to.

In the Bible, Ebenezer is not a person but a place; not a miser but a marker; not a verse but a victory; not a song but a stone—a stone that marked victory and revival. 1 Sam. 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.

It was a traumatic time in Hebrew history. In 1 Samuel 4, Israel was beaten—beaten badly by the Philistines. Thousands of Israelites lay dead on the battlefield at “Ebenezer” (4:1-2). The Philistines stole the most sacred object that the Israelites possessed, the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark finally wound up in Kiriath-Jearim where it remained for 20 years (7:2).

During that 20 years the people began to examine themselves. Defeat should lead to self-examination. This marked the first step in revival. God stands ready to help when we meet His conditions.

1. Contrition—“…Israel lamented after the LORD” (v. 2).

2. Confession—“We have sinned against the LORD” (v. 6).

3. Conversion—“Return unto the LORD...put away the strange gods…” (v. 3) Samuel insisted they needed to do more than have good intentions.

4. Consecration—“Prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only…” (v. 3)

5. Compliance—“Then the children of Israel DID put away Baalim…”

Samuel called them all together at Mizpah (v. 6): They drew water and poured it out. It was an expression of pouring out their hearts to God in prayer (v. 6; Job 3:24; Ps. 42:4; 62:8; Isa. 26:16; Lam. 2:19).