Now Yahweh’s word came to Jeremiah while he was shut up in the court of the guard, saying, “Go, and speak to Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Behold, I will bring my words on this city for evil, and not for good; and they will be accomplished before you in that day. But I will deliver you in that day,” says Yahweh; “and you will not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. For I will surely save you. You won’t fall by the sword, but you will escape with your life, because you have put your trust in me,” says Yahweh.’ ”
Now we know why Ebedmelech the Ethiopian tried to save Jeremiah. He did it because he actually believed that what Jeremiah was saying was coming from God Himself. God makes it clear that Ebedmelech had put his trust in God. As I mentioned before, Ebedmelech’s life was crumbling around him as Jerusalem was under attack.
God makes it clear that because Ebedmelech trusted in God, he would not die like the others. This is God’s pattern and it is obvious by how He has dealt with us. Because we have believed in God’s message and put our trust in Him, we have been given life too.
I believe that it’s important to for us to take note of the fact that Ebedmelech’s faith wasn’t merely an internal affair. He didn’t privately believe on the inside and pretend to not believe on the outside. His faith in the inside turned into action as he did all he could to save Jeremiah from dying in the well. Even though it was his faith that saved him, his faith was real and it eventually became obvious by the good works that he did. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have faith if we sin, but it does mean that our faith will be made evident by what we do eventually. That’s because we act on what we actually believe in. It’s important to understand, however, that it wasn’t Ebedmelech’s good works that saved him. It was his trust in God.
Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon commanded Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard concerning Jeremiah, saying, “Take him and take care of him. Do him no harm; but do to him even as he tells you.”
So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, Nebushazban, Rabsaris, and Nergal Sharezer, Rabmag, and all the chief officers of the king of Babylon sent and took Jeremiah out of the court of the guard, and committed him to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, that he should bring him home. So he lived among the people.
In American business today, there is a special position that is occasionally granted to certain employees. This position is called: “Fellow.” I understand that this can mean different things depending on the business, but in the technology world, it has often meant that a person in this position tells the business what to do, not the other way around. I see a parallel with what happened to Jeremiah once he was taken “captive” by Nebuchadnezzar and this position as “Fellow.” Nebuchadnezzar commanded his men to not harm Jeremiah but, instead, “do to him even has he tells you.” So, Jeremiah was taken out of custody and allowed to live “among the people.”
It’s wonderful that God allowed Jeremiah to have such a high level of freedom once he was taken captive by Babylon and to you and I it seems only right, but what does this say to us in our lives today? What we witness here is a situation in which Jeremiah’s own people treated him worse than their enemies! Israel’s enemies had to “save” Jeremiah from his own people. Is it possible that we might mistreat people like this today? Could it be that we may be doing wrong to fellow Christians in a way non-believers wouldn’t? Now, I’m not saying that we should tolerate sin. It’s actually the other way around. Jeremiah wasn’t tolerating sin and because he didn’t, he was being mistreated by his fellow “believers.” Notice that this mistreatment was promoted by the leadership. It’s important for the common people to take action in spite of the bad leadership even if we become poor. If we don’t, we also know what the end will likely be.
Notice that for many years, the way that God felt about things was invisible. It appeared that Jeremiah was wrong and the people of Israel were right. In the end, however, God revealed that Jeremiah was right and that the destitute in the land were being mistreated. God promoted the destitute and Jeremiah and destroyed everyone else. We can often get the wrong idea about what is right by making the wrong assumption about when the end is. The end of the matter was not during the reign of king Zedekiah. The end of the matter was after Nebuchadnezzar brought judgment. Even this is not the very end as we read back in the history books. God intended to bring Israel back after their hearts were softened.