Praising: John 3-4

By Jaime Sherman

Come, Thou Fount of Ever Blessing is a familiar hymn at UFC. We sing it often, but do you know the story behind the lyrics penned in 1758 by Robert Robinson? His story of faith may mirror yours in many ways.

Robinson’s childhood wasn’t a happy one as his father died when he was young, and his mother found it difficult to control her wayward son. She sent the teen to London to train as a barber, but he learned much more about life on the streets than about cutting hair. One night when he was 17, Robinson and his intoxicated friends had an encounter with a fortune teller, a visit that rattled Robinson and led him to attend an evening service in which George Whitefield, one of the greatest preachers of all time, was preaching from Matthew 3:7 on the “wrath to come.” God used the message to soften Robinson’s heart toward the way of Jesus, and three years later on December 10, 1755, the young man gave his life to Christ, dedicating the rest of his life to preaching the gospel. He died in 1790 at the age of 54.

When he was just 23 years old, Robinson wrote Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing for a Pentecost Sunday service in Norfolk, England. The hymn celebrates the overflow of God’s grace to His children. We are sharing the lyrics and two vocal performances of the song below.

The hymn has a phrase that deserves a little attention, for it is rich with meaning — raise my Ebenezer. The Hebrew name Ebenezer (eben=stone, ezer=help) comes from I Samuel 7:12 — “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Till now the LORD has helped us.'” As Robinson wrote his lyrics, he celebrated that Jesus is the greatest help for wandering humanity, the One who in love came to rescue His people while they were still strangers. The phrase wandering from the fold of God reminds us of John 10 and the story of the Good Shepherd, which we will get to soon in our Come and See journey!

The composer of the melody as it is now sung is unknown and is typically attributed to various hymnal compilers or listed as a traditional American melody. Today we’re sharing a beautiful piano arrangement by local artist David Nevue.

COME, THOU FOUNT OF EVERY BLESSING

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
   Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
 Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
   Call for songs of loudest praise.
 Teach me some melodious sonnet,
   Sung by flaming tongues above.
 Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it,
   Mount of Thy redeeming love.
 
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;
 
O to grace how great a debtor
   Daily I’m constrained to be!
 Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
   Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
 Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
   Prone to leave the God I love;
 Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
   Seal it for Thy courts above.

David Nevue’s Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing is used with permission. Check out more of his music at www.davidnevue.com.
Vocal versions
Caleb Grimm of Anthem Lights with wife Kelsey sing Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.
Shane & Shane performs the hymn on the group’s Hymns Live album.

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