Jeremiah and obedience to the Holy Spirit

September 12, 2023

By Editorial Team

Ebed-Melech Helps Jeremiah

Then the King commanded Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, saying, “Take from here thirty men with you, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon before he dies.” Jeremiah 38:10

Jeremiah is one of the Major prophets of the Old Testament. One of his famous legacies to us is the New Covenant or the New Agreement(Testament) which God gave Jeremiah (Jer 31:31-34). This was the agreement sealed in Blood at the Cross by the Lord Jesus Christ. As a commemoration we observe the communion/the Lord’s table. That’s how important this prophet is to our faith.

Jeremiah was called to the prophetic ministry at a young age and prophesied for over 40 years, spanning 5 kings, Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah. Finally the judgement he prophesied for years came to pass in 586 B.C when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians. Seeing the aftermath of the battle and deaths, out of his agony he wrote the lament or “Lamentations”. He also would have compiled parts of Kings and Chronicles which pertained to his times.

Jeremiah’s prophecies were asking the people to repent, do justice, not to oppress the poor and to turn away from the false gods of the surrounding nations and Worship Jehovah. But the people didn’t listen and they gave him the cold shrug and went on with their evil manners and proud attitude. They beat him up, arrested him, threatened him not to speak in public again, they burnt his scrolls in the fireplace, even threatened his writing assistant Baruch to flee for his life. They tried to take his life too, but God protected him time and again. If you are a true Voice for the Lord, you can expect this level of resistance, today’s prophets are actually celebrities which show that they are no prophets.

There’s much that can be written about Jeremiah and his life and his sermons but here I would like to just highlight one event where he was thrown into the dungeon and draw some lessons for us.

Towards the end of his ministry, months before the city was destroyed, the Chaldeans had surrounded Jerusalem. Jeremiah counselled the people to surrender to the Chaldeans and live, and warned them that to stay in the city would be to die of sword, famine and disease etc. So the princes were wroth with him, they spoke to the King Zedekiah and threw him into a dungeon filled with mire to kill him. Jeremiah landed into the mire and was sinking by the hour (Jer 38).

At that time Ebed-Melech an Ethiopian eunuch in the King’s house heard that Jeremiah was thrown unjustly into the miry pit and was about to die. He rushes into the King’s presence and pleads with him. And suddenly Zedekiah changes his mind, tells him to take 30 men immediately go to the dungeon and lift up Jeremiah before he dies. So these thirty men go, with rags, ropes, and lift up Jeremiah out of the dungeon.

Here are a few reminders

1. Never stop praying: Another half hour and the prophet would have died. Here he still prays (Lam 3:55-58), “I called upon Thy name O Lord out of the low dungeon, you have heard my voice: hide not your ear at my breathing at my cry. You drew near in the day that I called upon you, you said Fear not.”

2. Help can come from anywhere: In the nick of the moment, God sends help. The Holy Spirit stirs up Ebed-melech to go and intercede before Zedekiah. The king changes his mind instantly and sends help. God can raise up someone from somewhere, even an unlikely source to rescue you immediately.

3. Be obedient to the Holy Spirit: Ebed-melech is mentioned here for the first time in the book. He is not a Prince, not even a Jew, an Ethiopian eunuch in the king’s house. But the Holy Spirit stirs up his heart to go urgently and rescue Jeremiah. And he obeys it. If the Lord is stirring up your heart to do something, just do it. If a sense of urgency is there, then do it instantly. Don’t put it off. You may be the one to stand alongside someone and stop the panic or loneliness or even prevent a suicide or perhaps death. Go, make that phone call, meet that person.

Remember that little lad in the gospels, who gave up his lunch box of 5 loaves and 2 fishes, how many people were saved from hunger, fainting, perhaps even death enroute as they walked home hungry? that’s why Jesus had compassion on the people and multiplied the loaves. He cares for the whole man - spirit, mind and body.

4. God rewards the righteous: And a few months later, the Word of the Lord comes to Jeremiah. The city is surrounded by Nebuchadnezzar’s armies and everyone is in fear of being killed in the battle of being slaughtered after that. The Lord sends message to Ebed-melech, “I will destroy this city, but I will deliver you in that day, and you will not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me,” says the Lord (Jer 39:15-18).” What you are afraid will not happen, God’s word overrules all the fears and even what could possibly happen. Jesus Word comes as a canopy of safety to Ebed-melech. It saves his life now, from even what could happen in the battle to come. What an amazingly powerful God we serve! God saves Jeremiah’s life too and also keeps Baruch (his assistant) safe (chap 45).

Even today it is the Blood of Jesus that protects us, people may be falling left and right, but Jesus' hand is upon you to keep you safe in the midst of the things that are hemming you in.

Our God will go before us, Keith and Krystyn Getty, Matt Boswell, Matt Papa.

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