God’s Undercover Agent

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), August 26

Just as governments place operatives undercover, so the Lord places His operatives undercover to work on His behalf.
Ebed-Melech is an unlikely candidate, from man’s point of view, but not from God’s. The king’s irate officials had thrown Jeremiah into a deep well that was mostly mud because they had rejected God’s word through him. He was rescued by Ebed-Melech.
Ebed-Melech is a Cushite, a North African. His name is not given, only his ethnicity. He is a foreigner living and working in Jerusalem.

Ebed-Melech is an official in King Zedekiah’s household. He is no more than a servant to others. He has no authority; he carries out the bidding of others.

Ebed-Melech is a eunuch. Typically, men brought to serve within the king’s household were made eunuchs to prevent them from sexual engagement with those in the king’s household. He is unable to have a relationship with a woman or to reproduce.
Instead of copping an attitude, Ebed-Melech makes the best of his position. Like Joseph of old, Ebed-Melech serves faithfully; therefore, he is in a position to intercede for Jeremiah to the king.

Ebed-Melech’s rescue of Jeremiah does not go unrewarded. After Jerusalem falls into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, he appoints Nebuzaradan to look after Jeremiah. The word of the LORD comes to Jeremiah while he waits for his release,

“Go and speak to Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will bring My words upon this city for adversity and not for good, and they shall be performed in that day before you.’ But I will deliver you in that day,” says the LORD, “and you shall 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. 39:16-18).

Ebed-Melech has been singled out by God for blessing! God addresses his fears and assures him of deliverance.

Four truths gleaned from Ebed-Melech’s life:

  • Ethnicity, lowly position, and social condition do not prevent usefulness to God; they often enhance usefulness. Ebed-Melech is simply a part of the palace scenery and machinery—not on anyone’s radar but God’s.

  • Those who have the most to lose (vulnerable) are often the first to take a stand for others who are in the right. Ebed-Melech’s service position gives him access to the king; he uses that position to intercede for Jeremiah.

  • The LORD sees the plight of those who trust Him, even though they are invisible to the wealthy and powerful.

  • The LORD rewards those who trust in Him and speaks on behalf of the righteous.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Jer. 39:11-18; 40:1-6; 52:12-27; 2 Kings 25:8-21; Lamentations 1:1-1:22):
Where was Jeremiah when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians? Describe Nebuchadnezzar’s treatment of Jeremiah. What do the Babylonians recognize about Jeremiah?
Describe the extent of Jerusalem’s destruction.
What reason does the writer of 2 Chronicles 36:15-21 provide for Jerusalem’s destruction?