MANNA FROM MY FATHER’S HAND # 11
(Originally posted on 7/14/2023)
Link to Part 1
STONE OF HELP (Part 2)
As I said in my last post, we have (in so many ways) become corrupted. We need HELP from above. We need His grace in order to stand firm on the Rock of our Salvation.
THE FOUNT OF EVERY BLESSING
Getting back to the reason I began searching this out in the first place … to prepare for introducing the hymn “Come, Thou Fount” to our congregation….
That hymn uses many big words that are rarely used in our current culture, yet their meaning is profound. A few definitions that help to understand the deeper meaning of the lyrics:
Interpose–To insert between parts. (He “interposed” His precious blood, to “rescue me” from the danger that was going to be caused by my sin. His blood came between me and my impending judgment.)
Fetter–A chain or shackle for the ankles or feet. The hymn writer is asking Jesus to have His “grace” bind his heart to Him like a fetter.
The reason this hymn rose to our attention recently was during a discussion in which my sister Jenny was saying (in essence) that some Christian songs discuss breaking “every” chain, and that there is ONE chain she DOESN’T want broken–the one that binds our hearts to Him. That reminded me of that “fetter” line in this song. The Sunday after we spoke of this, our worship leader (who was in the discussion) had me begin to introduce that hymn to the congregation.
HERE I RAISE MY EBINEZER
The main mysterious word used in this hymn is “Ebenezer”, which means “Stone of help”. So, I took the opportunity to study out this word a bit. And the story behind this word is VERY profound.
It’s addressed in 1 Samuel. It’s really worth reading if you haven’t done so in while. Israel, even the priesthood, had become corrupted during this time.
As a result, in chapter 4, the Israelites lost two battles with the Philistines, and the Ark of the Covenant was even captured. In Chapter 5, having the Ark in their presence caused so much grief for the Philistines that they wanted to send it back to its home! In chapter 6, they sent it back by way of those two cows mentioned in my prior post.
“Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. Take the ark of the LORD and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the LORD has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that stuck us and that it happened to us by chance.”
(1 Samuel 6:7-9 NIV)
After the cows brought back the Ark to Beth Shemesh they were later offered up as a sacrifice (in 6:14), with the wood from the cart being used for the fire.
In the next chapter, Samuel cried out (and offered a burnt offering) to the Lord for Israel, as the Philistines again came to attack them.
“While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the LORD thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites.”
(1 Samuel 7: 10 NIV)
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebinezer, saying ‘Thus far has the LORD helped us.'”
(1 Samuel 7: 12 NIV)
Even though this particular word may seem archaic, what it symbolizes remains so very appropriate for today, when we, as a nation, Church and in some of our private lives have in many ways been corrupted. We NEED the true Stone of Help, the Rock of our Salvation to come to our aid, and bring our hearts back to Him.
“Here I raise my Ebenezer; hither by Thy help I 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.”
(Come, Thou Fount, verse 2)
Dear Lord, Jesus, help us to offer our very selves to You as a sacrifice, carrying Your holy presence within during that process, like those cows, willingly giving our lives for You as we do so. May we raise up that Ebenezer, our Stone of Help, remembering all the help you have given to us, and standing firm on You, the Rock of our Salvation.