Editor's Note: This post is Part 2 of a 3-part series. You can read Part 1 here.
Here I raise my Ebenezer; hither by thy help I've 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.
"Here I Raise my Ebenezer; hither by thy help I've come..."
At the beginning of verse two in "Come Thou Fount," the modern reader needs some assistance. As a young person, I always thought the word "Ebenezer" was a little strange, because I had no idea what it meant. Very simply, it means "stone of help." In 1 Samuel, Samuel raises a "stone of help" in thanksgiving to God for giving the Israelites victory in battle. This "stone of help" recognizes Christ as our stone of help. The Lord wasn't a "stone of help" to the Israelites in battle in the sense that He assisted their efforts; He was their "stone of help" in the sense that He rescued them from imminent peril. This is an adequate description of our coming to Christ. We have arrived where we are with Christ because Christ has helped us in the sense that He has rescued us. We have arrived with Christ because Christ has brought us thus far.
"...and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home."
Upon recognizing that it is Christ who has brought us thus far, it is our hope that the Lord will find it His good pleasure to carry us all the way. This is the humble recognition that while we walk the walk of faith, it is Christ who causes our foot to land. "Our God is in the Heavens, He does all that He pleases" (Psalm 115v3). The author appropriately recognizes that God is not subject to man; He does all that pleases. For the Christian, this is not a doctrine to be feared, but an attribute to rejoice in. Because the Lord does all that He pleases, we can have a confident expectation that Christ, who loved us with a great love and gave Himself up for us, will be pleased to complete the work He has begun in us.
"Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God..."
This lyric is an illustration of the mercy of God. It is a beautiful thing. This lyric is a also a succinct summation of the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15. I'm sure the hymn writer had that parable on his mind while penning these words. While sinful man pridefully walks his own way apart from Christ, he is brought to humble adoration at the mercy of God that sought him out in his wandering. We do not, fundamentally, seek God; He seeks us. That should blow your pride to smithereens. What a joy to sing that Jesus sought us out while we were strangers to the fold of God!
"...he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood."
In the previous lyric, we saw that God is the initiator of the gospel. In this next lyric, we see that God is the worker of the gospel. As we wandered from the fold of God, stumbling into thorns and briers, nearly tumbling over the edge of cliffs and falling into the teeth of hungry wolves, Jesus sought us out there and rescued us from imminent peril. We were in danger of far more than hungry wolves; we were in danger of the wrath of God. It was there that Jesus saw us, helpless. It was there that Jesus interposed His precious blood for us. Because He took the thorns and the wrath, we are rescued from danger. Oh, what mercy there is in the gospel to sing of!