Summary: A thanksgiving sermon
Thank God for faithful men like Ebed Melech
In Matthew 5:10-12 Jesus says “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Throughout his ministry the prophet Jeremiah was often persecuted.
At his calling God told Jeremiah that this would be the case, much like Jesus tells us that persecution is part of following him.
While God told Jeremiah that he would experience much persecution, the Lord also told him that He would help Jeremiah through it.
In Jeremiah 38 God delivers Jeremiah from his oppressors in a most amazing way.
The scene is such that the armies of Babylon are outside the gates and walls of Jerusalem. The city is under siege and the people are stressed are fearful. Jeremiah’s message to the people is this: Open the gates, go out to the Babylonians and surrender to them. All who do so will escape with their lives. Jerusalem is going to be destroyed and all who resist are going to be to die.
As you might expect Jeremiah’s message was not well received. The officials who heard him believed that Jeremiah was being a traitor to his people. They wanted Jeremiah put to death. The king handed Jeremiah over and instead of executing him right away they lowered him into an empty cistern. Into the cistern and the mud went Jeremiah- the idea being that he would die a slow and agonizing death.
While Jeremiah was in the muddy pit, Ebed Melech, one of the men who was in the kings employ, a follower of God from the land of Ethiopia, boldly approached the king and spoke up for righteous Jeremiah. The king, being a flip flopper, gave this man permission to go and rescue Jeremiah.
As the passage tells us, Ebed Melech went and got some rags and rope. To Jeremiah he went, instructing him to put the rags under his arms before the ropes—so that he wouldn’t be hurt by all the pulling. Jeremiah was rescued, once again delivered by God.
Something neat to note about Ebed Melech’s name:
His name meant: The servant of the King.
Sure he was the servant of Zedekiah but even more so he was the servant of the great King: God.
To Jeremiah, God once again kept his promise: helping him through persecution by sending one of his servants to the rescue.
Regardless of the fact that it’s Thanksgiving Sunday, I’m so thankful for godly men like Jeremiah and Ebed Melech.
I’m thankful for their conviction and courage that saw them speak out for God and do the right thing regardless of the opposition they faced.
When I ponder the actions of Ebed Melech, I find myself drawn to him. In my heart there is a Christian love for him because of his faithfulness and devotion to the Lord.
How to apply this text what Ebed Melech did to our lives
1. We need to pray for the same measure of courage that he had.
In 2 Timothy 3:12 it says “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”
In John 15:20 Jesus says “Remember the words I spoke to you: `No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”
Given the teachings of these passages we need courage.
It’s so easy to give in to fear as Christians. Yet, we are not to be afraid of those around us. We are not to be afraid of being persecuted for Christ and righteousness sake.
For example: We need to be bold in our witness for Christ.
I was watching a video the other day on evangelism. One of the stats that was given was that only 2% of Christians talk to non Christians about Jesus. This ought not to be. We all must be telling others about Jesus and calling people to repentance. We must not let fear keep us from speaking the truth about Jesus.
As the believers of Acts 4 prayed for boldness in the face of opposition, we too must utter the same prayer. (recount event)
2. We need to commit to doing the right thing and saying the right thing regardless of the opposition we will face—just like Ebed Melech did.
When those around you talk about living together before marriage and expect you to chime in your support- don’t give it.
When someone tells a dirty joke- don’t laugh at it
When topic of homosexuality or abortion or euthanasia comes up and everyone is having their say, make sure you tell them what God says in a proper and respectful way.