The prophet Jeremiah foretold disaster for his countrymen and they felt he was a traitor. Powerful officials talked King Zedekiah into having him killed because his words weakened the resolve of their soldiers. So they took the old man and threw him into a cistern where he sank into the mud. Ironically, Ebed-melech, an Ethiopian eunuch who served the king, interceded on his behalf. The king had a change of heart and ordered Ebed to take thirty men and rescue Jeremiah before he died. The wise eunuch threw rags down to him to put under his armpits and then with ropes pulled him out. God was so pleased with the Ethiopian that through Jeremiah He promised to preserve his life.
Jeremiah 39:18—Indeed, I will certainly deliver you so that you do not fall by the sword. Because you have trusted in Me, you will keep your life like the spoils of war." This is the LORD's declaration.
Isn’t it interesting that God commends Ebed-melech’s trust in Him when the context would clearly suggest it was his kindness to Jeremiah that was significant? Could it be that true kindness finds its essence in faith? The Ethiopian went against the crowd and put his foreign life on the line to save the man who spoke doom when his fellow prophets promised deliverance. Kindness was important but God recognized a deeper quality—courageous trust. Ebed-melech believed God spoke through Jeremiah and it was that belief that fueled his conviction to save the seer.
Kindness that flows from our own strength is unlikely to rise to the occasion of unpopular need. It is when we look to God, relying on Him that we find the ability to render help that goes against the very roar and vanity of society. A crowd ready to stone an adulteress woman missed compassion by trusting the law. Jesus refused to condemn her and by His empathy showed a deeper truth—trust in the will of His Father’s forgiveness. A crowd cried “crucify” defying consideration because their trust was in power. God let His Son die because His trust was in Himself and kindness was the natural expression of divine love.
The fact that our Creator offers eternal kindness to a species seeded with rebellion reveals a power far beyond our comprehension. Knowing this ought to fill us with joy and fortify us with a potent resolve to help those in need even when doing so puts us at risk. It took an Ethiopian to free a holy prophet. What will it take for us to trust our Lord enough to be His thoughtful instruments?
These revolutionary attitudes of compassion and selflessness bear the stamp of genuine discipleship.—Brennan Manning in The Ragamuffin Gospel
©2011 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)