Raising Ebenezers


1.       The hymn, “O Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” # 420 raises curiosity

2.       second verse, which begins,      “Here I raise my Ebenezer.”

3.       What in the world is an Ebenezer

          Why am I raising it?

          What is it?


 I.      What is it?        

          A.      In the time of Samuel

                   1.       Israel had already been through quite an ordeal

                             a.       Exodus from Egypt through the Canaan Conquests

                             b.       All the while, God had watched over her and given her victories over enemies

                             c.       For all this help, God had been repaid with grumbling and complaining, and an                                                                   unwillingness to exterminate the heathen nations and their idols       

                             d.       For 20 years during Samuel’s life, the ark of the covenant was not even in Israel

                                      but was exiled to Beth Shemesh and Kirjath   Jearim,

                                      The nation was continually threatened by the Philistines

                                      Weakened Israel remained terrified

Read - 1 Samuel 7:1-14

          B.      “Ebenezer” is Hebrew for “Stone of Help,”

                    1.       Significance for Samuel:

                             “Thus far the Lord has helped us”

                    2.       He raised up that stone, not as an idol,

                             a.       memorial to God’s supernatural care                   

                             b.       gratitude

                   3.       Following the raising of the Ebenezer:

                             a.       Because of the nation’s penitence; and that gratitude the Ebenezer stone expressed

                             b.       the enemy was subdued

                             c.       further skirmishes were prevented

          B.      Interesting that all this happened near Mizpah

                   1.       Jacob had set up one of his own Ebenezers there long ago (called Bethel) – show map….

                   2.       Jacob’s Stones of Help - Gen. 28:10-22

                   3.       Jacob had not shown much interest in God but the Lord

                   4.       Jacob awakes - his attitude toward God is changed                   

                   5.       Sets up his stone pillow

                             a.       as a memorial to this night and the “house of God”

                             b.       this stone signifies a covenant between man and God

                             c.       God and Jacob renewed this covenant in Gen. 35

          C.      Joshua’s Stepping Stones: Joshua 4:1-7, 19-24

                   1.       In their journey into Canaan, Israel

                             a.       had come to a great boundary   (river Jordan)        

                             b.       God helped them to cross

                                      stopping up the river miraculously

                    2.       When they reached the other side, the Lord sent them back into the river to collect some stones that would                               serve as an Ebenezer to this great event and the one that preceded it, the parting and crossing of the Red Sea

                   3.       These stepping stones of Israel were set up as a monument with future generations in mind, to be a cause                                    for reflection upon Israel’s history

 II.     Practical Applications     

          A.      Raising Ebenezers

                   1.       I am not suggesting we build rock garden monuments –

                             to raise up stone pillars literally

                   2.       I will encourage you to do so figuratively today

                             a.       raise up memorials to the providential care of God

                             b.       ever be reminded of all he has done for you           

                             c.       to instruct your children & grandchildren     

          B.      HOW?? --- We can raise up “stones of help”

                   1.       like Samuel when we stop to reflect on how God has preserved us

                   2.       When we tell our children, grandchildren, each others children

                   3.       We can build up Bethel, the house of God, when we show our gratitude by doing God’s service, building up                                     the church

                   4.       we can assemble our stepping stones for future generations to study, to show how God has led us to                                 where we are today

                   5.       If we don’t, these lessons will be lost on them and us

          B.      “Here I raise MY Ebenezer”

                   1.       What should YOUR Ebenezer show?

                   2.       Count Your Blessings

                             a.       Samuel raised that Ebenezer because he saw how richly God had blessed him and the people of                                            Israel

                             b.       How hard is it for the people of spiritual Israel today to find reason to count their blessings?

Paul preached that God “did not leave himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts

 James wrote that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (1:17).


Even the poorest person among us is physically blessed beyond the dreams of any of the early Christians

Spiritually, we have a greater blessing also in that the entire Bible has been collected for our age……….

………….. they were receiving it only a piece at a time

We have an opportunity to raise our Ebenezer every time the weekly offering is made…..it is the divinely appointed time for each saint to count his blessings: 1 Cor. 16:1-2

                             a.       how will you know what to give to the collection   unless you first take time to assess how God has                                            prospered you that week?

                             b.       This act of worship should broaden our inventory of all the ways the Lord has prospered                                               us

                             c.       Counting your blessings in this way gives you one more blessing: a grateful heart ready to share

          C.      Gratitude Is An Anchor

                   1.       After Samuel set up his Ebenezer

                             a.       he found the Philistines defeated,

                             b.       peace on the horizon

                             c.       a restoration of what Israel had lost to them

                   2.       Gratitude is an anchor that assures future blessing

                             a.       gives birth to a sense of contentment rather than anxiety (Col. 3:15)

                             Col. 3:15, And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

                   3.       God does not bless us just to hear a “thank-you,”           

                             a.       an expression of gratitude goes a long way in showing him that  you are deserving and                                                        capable of receiving future blessings

                             b.       we have much for which to be thankful: 1 Thess. 5:16-18

                             1 Thess. 5:16-18,   Rejoice always; (17) pray without ceasing; (18) in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

                             Philip’ns 4:6, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your        requests be made known to God.

          D.      Build The House of the Lord

                   1.       Jacob promised to build the house of the Lord when he set up his pillar of stones,

                             a.       reference to the nation of Israel

                   2.       One way that we show our reverence for God is to build up his house today: READ 1 Peter 2:1-5

                             a.       like the living sacrifices of Romans 12:1-2,

                                      1)       be an integral part of the church                   

                                      2)       not a spare brick

                             b.       we must build up the church on the foundation of the apostles and prophets

                                      1)       on their inspired words and records

                                      2)       not on our own traditions

                                      3)       READ Eph. 2:19-22


                   3.       Build for the future: READ Matt. 7:24-27

                             a.       making applications of Christ’s doctrine                

                             b.       Speaking of those who have already become Christians

                             c.       Denominations – anyone building by their own plans -  are building on the sand

                             d.       storms of trial will afflict both

                                      1)       but the one who has on the rock will be able to withstand

                    4.       Building plans always plan for expansion

                             a.       Instruct Future Generations

                             b.       We are encouraged to raise our young in the nurture and admonition of God (Eph. 6:4),

                             c.       we must look to concrete reference points to show them how God has blessed us

                                       1)       if we moan and complain about the Christian life - they will not choose it

                                       2)       if we circumvent the word and go our own way, they, too, will rebel against God

                             d.       Teach our children to look around them when they pray and praise God for all they have!

                                      1) physically and spiritually

                             e.       we must use the language of gratitude

                                      1)       as a stepping stone through the Jordan and a memorial
Be sure to raise an Ebenezer today and every day.