Wednesday, April 27, 2016

disaster and deliverance

(by Pastor Joe)
The Word for today: Jeremiah 39- 41
mark this: Jeremiah 39:18
"I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the LORD."
"This is the end, my only friend, the end..."
That's how things certainly seemed.
- The end of the siege of Jerusalem (39:2)
- The end of Zedekiah's reign (39:6-7)
- The end for Jerusalem's Walls (39:8)
- The end of Solomon's Temple (2 Kings 25:9)
It was the end of the world as Israel knew it.
But in this time of chaos and turmoil, in the midst of destruction (ch. 39), political intrigue (ch. 40) and assassination (Ch. 41), one story of salvation emerges. It's the end of the story for Ebed-melech, and it's the only thing positive in these three chapters.
We know from Jeremiah 37:7-13 that Ebed-melech was the Ethiopian eunuch that rescued Jeremiah from certain death in the cistern. In a time of mass cowardice, this faithful servant risked his own life by boldly going before the king and personally seeing that Jeremiah escaped death inside the well.
Here in today's reading, Jeremiah is given a special message for Ebed-melech. In the midst of the total collapse of Jerusalem, this one man is spared and promised deliverance, protection, and salvation. He is not the first outsider redeemed by God, nor will he be the last. Ebed-melech joins a long list of Gentiles who placed their trust in the God of Israel and therefore were rescued.
- Rahab (Joshua 6:25)
- Ruth (Ruth 1:16, 2:12)
- Naaman (2 Kings 5:15)
- 2nd Ethopian Eunuch (Acts 3:36)
- Philippian Jailer (Acts 16:34)
Ebed-melech, along with the rest of those on the list above, typify Christians.
Consider the facts:
1. Ebed-melech was nameless.
We don't know his name, as Ebed-melech is not even a name, but a title that meant "servant of the king."
2. Ebed-melech had no hope of a future
That's where the whole eunuch thing comes in, enough said.
3. Eden-melech was a foreigner.
That's where the whole Ethiopian thing comes in.
What does the New Testament say? The same exact thing about us!
Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:12)
We had no family lineage, we had no rights as citizens, we had no hope- just like Ebed-melech. But don't stop there- go on to Ephesians 2:13--
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
That is the Good News. That is our story.
Just like Rahab, we have been spared from destruction.
Just like Ruth, we go from strangers to part of the family of God.
Just like Namaan, we go from covered in uncleanness to whole in Christ.
Just like the 2nd Ethiopian eunuch, we go from spiritual darkness to the light of Jesus.
Just like the Philippian jailer, we go from death, because of our transgressions, to new life in Christ.
And just like Ebed-melech, we find deliverance and salvation in the Living God.
Praise God for this story. At the darkest hour in the history of Israel, we see a tiny glimpse of hope and know that Ebed-melech's journey can be our own as well.

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