Summary: Standing for God reguardless
I preached this message on our special day, "HERO SUNDAY" on Sept. 09th. We honored our first responders.
The Bible too has its list of heroes, many of whom are preached about on any given Sunday. In this sermon, I would like to speak about one unseen hero. He was from an Ethiopian background and served in the palace of King Zedekiah, in the time of Jeremiah the prophet. In the story, found in Jeremiah chapter 38:4-13, Jeremiah is imprisoned in a cistern filled with mud by the cowardly King, Zedekiah, with the real possibility of having to face death .
The plot had been crisscrossed through the maneuvers of some powerful, but corrupt Government officials who hated Jeremiah’s prophecies. When the situation looked dangerous for Jeremiah, an unknown hero of the faith who trusted in God, stepped in, and what a difference it made, with Jeremiah’s life being eventually spared! The man’s name was Ebedmelech .
Today, you can be a hero for God (known or unknown)! I want to share the following 3 reasons why E-bed-Me-lec turned out to be a hero, and thereafter, speak about the reward he received.
1) He was a hero because he was courageous
E-bed-Me-lec decided that he would not sit back and watch the Prophet’s death. Instead, he had the courage to do something about it. He therefore went on a dangerous mission to the king, to intercede for Jeremiah’s life. Such a mission could have had serious consequences for him, considering that powerful men had been behind the plot.
To make matters more complicated, the king gave Ebedmelech 30 men as a possible security dependent. While this would have brought him protection for the moment, it also made him very visible to his enemies, therefore probably endangering his future even more! One thing was certain. He was not going on a SECRET mission anymore. He was willing to be identified!
The church of today needs men with the courage of Ebedmelech, who will stand up for the cause of Christ and be identified! Instead of withdrawing, we need to advance the Gospel no matter what opposition comes against us.
We need to speak up, when our voices need to be heard, specifically for the downtrodden and for those who are vulnerable. Being silent could well show a lack of courage. A man of God once said, “Courage is contagious; when brave men take a stand, the spines of others are stiffened”.
2) His name reflects a servant heart
The name Ebedmelech means, ‘The king’s servant’. It seems obvious that this Ethiopian man had served the king with that kind of a servant heart, because the king considered his appeal favorably. He clearly respected Ebedmelech’s judgement.
In the same way, the very actions he took to rescue Jeremiah, at great danger to himself, shows that his heart was in the right place. Friends, if we are to be heroes for God, we need to ask the Lord to help us have a servant’s heart.
3) He had the love and wisdom to do something special Ebedmelech felt Jeremiah’s pain. He knew that Jeremiah’s arm-pits would probably have been wounded when he was let down by ropes into the cistern. He also realized that those same wounds would be aggravated when Jeremiah was being pulled out of the cistern with ropes. What did he do?
he first went to a room under the treasury, where he could get some rags and worn out clothes.
Then, he led down the ropes, with the rags, advising Jeremiah to put the rags and worn out clothes under his arms to pad the ropes, so that his body would not get injured further!! Soon after, Jeremiah was hauled out of the cistern to safety.
A hero for God stands out not only because of what they do, but also because of how they do it. They stand out because of the love and wisdom that flows from them, to serve others.
4) He was rewarded by God
God never forgets us, nor does He forget what we do for Him. Humans often forget, but not our Lord!! Jesus told the lady that anointed Him, that what she did, would be always spoken of, which is exactly what happens whenever that story is preached from. It was the same for Ebedmelech God rewarded him for what he did When you honor God, your reward is assured.
I would like to take a moment to encourage all the first responders and other servants of God, who have been ministering faithfully in difficult situations. You may feel that you are unseen or unknown. You may wonder what effect your ministry is having. Well, the same God who worked in this story, sees everything you do for Him and He will surely reward you.