Good Words for Today: January 1

January 1, 2017

“Here I raise my Ebenezer,
Hither by Thy help I’ve come.”

When Robert Robinson wrote those words in 1748, he could be reasonably confident that most of people would know what he was talking about. But when we sing those words today, as the second verse of  “Come, Thou Fount,” we generally have no idea what they mean.

The word Ebenezer in the hymn has nothing to do with Ebenezer Scrooge, which is probably the only other time we see it. Ebenezer literally means “stone of help” and refers to a monument the Jews raised after a great victory over the Philistines in 1 Samuel 7. The monument served as a public reminder of God’s deliverance in the time of trouble.

To “raise an Ebenezer” means to publicly recall the blessings of God, to give the Lord credit for what he has done for you.

I can’t think of a better day to “raise an Ebenezer” than New Year’s Day.

Has God been good to you? Raise an Ebenezer!
Has God delivered you from trouble? Raise an Ebenezer!
Has God helped you survive a crisis? Raise an Ebenezer!

The next line of the hymn reminds us that we will need God just as much in the coming year as we did in the last year:

“And I hope, by thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.”

We will never make it without the Lord, but with him above us, beneath us, in front of us, and behind us, we can face whatever comes in 2017.

Start the year right by remembering what God has done for you. If you do that, you will have many more reasons to “raise an Ebenezer” one year from now.

To help get you started, here’s a newer version of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Page CXVI:


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Ray Pritchard
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