Day 158: Ebedmelech the Ethiopian

Jeremiah 38:7-13

Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon (the king was then sitting in Benjamin’s gate), Ebedmelech went out of the king’s house, and spoke to the king, saying, “My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon. He is likely to die in the place where he is, because of the famine; for there is no more bread in the city.”

Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, “Take from here thirty men with you, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he dies.”

So Ebedmelech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took from there rags and worn-out garments, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Now put these rags and worn-out garments under your armpits under the cords.”

Jeremiah did so. So they lifted Jeremiah up with the cords, and took him up out of the dungeon; and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.

My guess is that there were quite a few Israelis who knew what was done to Jeremiah, but none of them had the nerve to talk to the king about it. This is one of those places in history where God used a foreigner, who also happened to be a servant, to change history by doing something of obvious good. When he saw that Jeremiah had been put in the well and left to die, he took a risk and went to the king. He obviously knew the king pretty well because he appears to have had a sneaking suspicion that the king would not approve of the situation. He turned out to be right and the king ordered Ebedmelech to take 30 men and get Jeremiah out of the well.

Getting Jeremiah out was not an easy operation. Ebedmeleck had to head up an actual project, which included the engineering of a system to successfully extract Jeremiah safely from the mud. Ebedmelech was successful and now his name is forever recorded in God’s word for all eternity. Ebedmeleck the Ethiopian will always be recognized as the man who used his abilities to save God’s servant Jeremiah at the lowest point in his life. It would be safe to assume that Ebedmelech is quite rich in heaven now.

There are many people around us who are experiencing the lowest times in their lives. If we are in a place in which we can help them in some way, it’s in our best interest to do it. One of the most wonderful things about modern technology is that it allows us to access so many people in need. When you couple that with the ability we have in the United States to earn money in a capitalist economy, it gives us an unparalleled opportunity to give directly to those in need. Socialists just don’t have that opportunity and many of the world’s Christians are trapped in socialist countries. Now Ebedmeleck was probably in a pretty nice position if he had access to the king. Even so, it’s hard to imagine a person more trapped than Ebedmeleck the Ethiopian. He was trapped as a servant in a city without bread under siege. The idea of having money was probably laughable, let alone having a good future in this world. I am guessing that Ebedmeleck was given the wisdom to see that what he needed was for God to come through for Him in the future, whatever that might be, and Jeremiah’s words brought that hope to him.

Day 36: The Evangelism Diet

John 4:27-42 : At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, “What are you looking for?” or, “Why do you speak with her?” So the woman left her water pot, and went away into the city, and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the city, and were coming to him. In the meanwhile, the disciples urged him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.” The disciples therefore said one to another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work. Don’t you say, ‘There are yet four months until the harvest?’ Behold, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest already. He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to eternal life; that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true, ‘One sows, and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you haven’t labored. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” From that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman, who testified, “He told me everything that I did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

Here we find out more about what Jesus thinks about doing God’s will. He didn’t eat when His disciples brought food back from the city. Then He compared doing God’s will to eating food. The thing I love about this is that it shows that Jesus was not doing God’s will out of duty. He wanted to do it just like a person wants to eat when they are hungry.

Let’s look at this situation through Jesus’ eyes. He was sent from God to save a people that were desperately in need of saving. I would guess He can see the people coming toward Him from the city and, I believe, He was excited and could hardly focus on anything else. Eating food probably didn’t seem very important from His standpoint. Where the disciples may have seen a lost eating opportunity, Jesus was overjoyed at the feast of saved people that was coming His direction.

Jesus sowed the seed into the heart of the woman who immediately spread it in the city. They immediately came out to see Jesus and believed. What an effective form of evangelism! Jesus and His disciples ended up not having to worry about food or travel because for the next two days they would be staying there with people from the city.

The Bible says that when we serve God as believers we earn rewards in Heaven. We don’t earn the ability to go to Heaven, it’s just that we are rewarded for our work for God here. Jesus had sown the seed and the disciples were going to get to join in on the work of helping these Samaritans, and workers get paid.

May God help us to see the world through Jesus’ eyes and have a hunger to obey His will.