When my church congregation would sing the old hymn Come Thou Fount when I was a kid, I was always puzzled by the line “Here I raise my Ebenezer.” What in the world was an Ebenezer? My only form of reference was Ebenezer Scrooge and somehow it didn’t seem right to be raising up a grouchy old man in some sort of worship.
Later I learned that an Ebenezer was actually a stone. The Hebrew word ebhen hā-ʽezer actually means stone of help. Samuel raised an ebenezer to memorialize God’s help in a battle against the Philistines. What I didn’t realize then was that part of that word, ezer, has a lot to say about who I am as a woman.
In the creation account in Genesis, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” The word he uses to describe woman is ezer–often translated as helper or help meet. I believe over time we’ve come to view that word as subordinate somehow. As if God was saying man would do all the hard stuff and woman would hold his flashlight or hand him tools. That’s not what the word means at all.
Did you know that ezer is used 21 times in the Old Testament? Twice it is used to refer to woman. Sixteen times it is used to refer to God!
Deuteronomy 33:26-29 provides a great example of God as our ezer:
“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
who rides across the heavens to help you
and on the clouds in his majesty.
The eternal God is your refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
He will drive out your enemies before you,
saying, ‘Destroy them!’
So Israel will live in safety;
Jacob will dwell secure
in a land of grain and new wine,
where the heavens drop dew.
Blessed are you, Israel!
Who is like you,
a people saved by the Lord?
He is your shield and helper
and your glorious sword.
Your enemies will cower before you,
and you will tread on their heights.”
There is nothing subordinate in that description at all. So, when God said he would create an ezer for man, He was creating something that was by nature essential to man’s survival. A rescuer, a savior, a warrior helper. As woman, I am an image-bearer of my Creator God. I am an ezer.
One Reply to “Woman as Ezer”
I loved our first class
I left singing Come Thou Fount also thinking about those words !!
Yet another treasure from God’s Word!!