God Strategically Placed Ebed-Melech

As I awoke this morning my clock radio had gone off and a radio Bible teacher was teaching from the book of the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah 38 chronicles a time during the reign of King Zedekiah of the nation of Judah. There was a grave threat from the Babylonians led by King Nebuchadnezzar whereby the Babylonian army was preparing to take Jerusalem. During this time the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah that he should warn the nation that if they surrender to the Babylonians that God will spare them; after all it was because of their sin that God was bringing this judgment via Nebuchadnezzar army. This idea was despicable to the people of Judah and they attempted to do harm to Jeremiah.

jeremiahSome men of Judah hated this message so much that they took Jeremiah and threw him into a cistern (basically, a well). The king was aware that they were going to do something but he stated to them that he would not hinder whatever they did (I suppose, he had bigger Babylonian fish to fry) There was no more water in the well but there was a great deal of mud and so Jeremiah sank down into the mud. At this time an official of the royal palace named Ebed-Melech told the king of the wicked thing the men of Judah had done in throwing Jeremiah, a prophet, into the cistern. With the king’s blessing Ebed-Melech took some rope, some clothing for padding, and some other men and went to the cistern. He threw down the clothing and instructed Jeremiah to put the clothes under his arms as padding against the rope. Then he lowered the ropes, Jeremiah wrapped them under his arm and Ebed-Melech and his team pulled the prophet out.

The Bible teacher who was relating this on the radio (I believe it was Woodrow Croll) made an interesting statement that made me think that, since I just awakened, that I was hearing him incorrectly. But no, sure enough he said “God has His Ebed-Melechs strategically placed.” He went on to explain that for those God intends to rescue, He strategically places the right people and the right circumstances to accomplish His good and perfect ends. He is able to move all of the right pawns into place for His predetermined check mate.

God once check mated me with the use of one of His servants. In my second year of college I had made a wreck of things. I was performing poorly in my classes, I hadn’t been to church months and months, I was dating a worldly girl who had rubbed off on me considerably (not that I was any sort of angel before we met) and who I had just caught cheating on me, and I was questioning why I was doing any of it. That is to say, I wondered why I bothered with school, with getting out of bed, with anything since nothing went right for me. This was not because I was under some sort of conviction, but because I was so depressed and dejected as I sat in front of the college library.

A young man approached me and began talking to me. We didn’t know each other. He was there to meet his girlfriend. As we talked I discovered he was a Christian. I thought I was. I had been baptized once. That’s about as far as it went. The young man’s name was Jeremy Knighton. He offered a simple invitation to me to attend the evening worship service of the Baptist Student Union that nigt. I said I would try to be there if I could (not that I had anything else to do). His girlfriend arrived and they departed. It was so refreshing to meet someone who was so kind.

I did go that evening. Then I went to several more weekly meetings thereafter. At one particular meeting during a time of worship and personal prayer in which the band was playing in the background and folks all around me were praying, I began talking to God. That evening he brought me face to face with what I had become. The only way I was going to find my way out of that darkness was to follow the one who is the light of men (John 1:4-5). The one “who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.” That night I met God again for the first time. I turned my life over to him and I was changed from that moment forward. The direction of my thoughts changed, the direction of my musical aspirations changed, the desires of my heart changed.

It began when God, before all time, preordained that a modern day Ebed-Melech named Jeremy would be in front of that library on that particular day to say the things he said to me and extend that invitation. God changed my life from that moment forward. Perhaps you have come to the end of yourself and you stand face to face with your sin. You see that you have walked contrary to God and have acted according to the course of this world and you have reaped the rotten vile fruit of sin. Repent and live. As I learned, God is calling all men everywhere to repent. He strategically places His Ebed-Melechs (heck! Maybe in your case this article is an Ebed-Melech for you). Just take the rope.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.

Josh H.

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