We are told of an incident that happened while the Prophet Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard at the king Palace. This is before Jerusalem was conquered and burned. In fact, this Babylonian attack is anticipated by this incident. Do you remember when Jeremiah was dropped into the cistern with the mud at the bottom? Jeremiah was bound to die there. At least that was the intentions of the religious and political leaders. However, one man who came to his rescue. Let me refresh your memory.
Here is what Jeremiah had said concerning invasion of the Babylonians:
This is what the Lord says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes over to the Babylonians will live. They will escape with their lives; they will live.’ And this is what the Lord says: ‘This city will certainly be given into the hands of the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.’” Jeremiah 38:2-3
And the response of the officials was:
Then the officials said to the king, “This man should be put to death. He is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, as well as all the people, by the things he is saying to them. This man is not seeking the good of these people but their ruin.” Jeremiah 39:4
After receiving permission from King Zedekiah, here is what these officials did to the prophet Jeremiah.
So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud. Jeremiah 38:6
But there was a Good Samaritan who came to the rescue of the Prophet:
But Ebed-Melek, a Cushier, an official in the royal palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. While the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate, Ebed-Melek went out of the palace and said to him, “My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all they have done to Jeremiah the prophet. They have thrown him into a cistern, where he will starve to death when there is no longer any bread in the city.” Jeremiah 38:7-9
The King granted the request of Ebed-Melek, a Cushier:
Then the king commanded Ebed-Melek the Cushite, “Take thirty men from here with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.” Jeremiah 38:10
Here is how Ebe-Melek and his team accomplished the rescue mission.
So Ebed-Melek took the men with him and went to a room under the treasury in the palace. He took some old rags and worn-out clothes from there and let them down with ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. Ebed-Melek the Cushite said to Jeremiah, “Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms to pad the ropes.” Jeremiah did so, and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard. Jeremiah 38:11-13
This is the act of mercy to rescue the Man of God that Ebed-Melek was greatly rewarded for by the Lord. It is the topic of the incident in our passage today. Before the Babylonians conquered the city of Jerusalem, God gave this promise to Ebed-Melek.
While Jeremiah had been confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him: “Go and tell Ebed-Melek the Cushite, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I am about to fulfill my words against this city—words concerning disaster, not prosperity. At that time they will be fulfilled before your eyes. But I will rescue you on that day, declares the Lord; you will not be given into the hands of those you fear. I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the Lord.’” Jeremiah 38:15-18
Notice that God is the one who remembered the kind act of Ebed-Melek. His life was spared for rescuing the man of God from the cistern. You could say the reward was life for life.
- I have always been fascinated by the lives of God’s servants and their relationship with God. This did not stop when I joined these men of the cloth, as they are called in other Christian circles. What continues to puzzle me is what Paul and Peter said:
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20
For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21
- In this endeavor, I have discovered that God is protective of His servants and rewards those who come to their aid when they are in need. Today’s story is a good example of what God can do those who protect, rescue, or help His servants in away that they need.
- Next time you see God’s servant in need and you have the ability to help, do not hesitate; you will never regret it. God will remember you in your times of need.
- Do you have any experience like that of Ebed-Melek, where God has rewarded you because of what you did to one or more of His servants?
- Do you remember any other Biblical stories of how someone helped God’s servant and God rewarded them? Name at least two.
“Go and tell Ebed-Melek the Cushite, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I am about to fulfill my words against this city—words concerning disaster, not prosperity. At that time they will be fulfilled before your eyes.
But I will rescue you on that day, declares the Lord;
You will not be given into the hands of those you fear.
I will save you; you will not fall by the sword
But will escape with your life, because you
Trust in me, declares the Lord.’”
Surely This Is
The One Act That Will Surely Reward You!
Read: Jeremiah 39:15-18
Marked: Jeremiah 39:17
By Pastor Shadrack [email protected]