A LIVING FAITH COURAGEOUSLY SEEKS JUSTICE
“We can be in our day what the heroes of faith were in their day – but remember at the time they didn’t know they were heroes.” – A.W. Tozer –
Scripture abounds with heroes… great heroes of faith. Some are prominent kings, leaders and prophets… while some are ordinary men and women who exhibit a living faith in the One True God. They boldly step out in faith and act on behalf of His kingdom and His people. Their part may seem small, yet they are mentioned in Scripture for a reason. Their minor role had great impact in turning a situation around for God’s glory.
“You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.”– Jeremiah 1:8
God sets apart the prophet Jeremiah to be His spokesman to the people of Judah. If Jeremiah is faithful to God’s call, He promises to rescue him in times of trouble. The prophet endures many trials during his ministry. Yet he believes his Jehovah God’s promise and becomes a mighty man of faith. It is during one such time of trouble when Jeremiah desperately needs to be rescued. God brings this rescue from an unlikely source.
King Zedekiah of Judah is wavering between believing Jeremiah’s prophecies… and following the wishes of his officials who want the prophet silenced. The people are not happy with his prophecies of doom for Judah if they do not repent of their ways. Yet Jeremiah is not deserving of punishment, and certainly not death. The king finally gives in to the requests of his officials and allows them to do with the prophet as they desire…
“So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son… it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.” – Jeremiah 38:6
In biblical times, cisterns were pits dug deep in the ground to collect and store rainwater. In rainless seasons, the cisterns would dry up. Yet they were dark, muddy and cold. Nobody could see or hear Jeremiah deep at the bottom of the cistern. He is essentially left to die.
Yet not all is lost. For God is at work in the heart of a Cushite, an official in the royal palace with access to the king. Unlike King Zedekiah, Ebed-Melek fears God more than man. He recognizes the injustice of this act perpetrated upon Jeremiah… an affront to his Jehovah God. The Lord lays it on Ebed-Melek’s heart to reach out to His prophet in an act of love and kindness to rescue him.
Sometimes following God requires courage and faith. Ebed-Melek steps out with a living faith and approaches the king at the city gate. He reveals the murderous plot in order to save the life of Jeremiah. This Cushite understands he is risking his career and perhaps his own life. Yet he knows what is right and just in God’s eyes. …
“My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all they have done to Jeremiah the prophet. They have thrown him into a cistern, where he will starve to death.” – Jeremiah 38:9
The king immediately orders that the prophet be pulled from the depths of the cistern. Ebed-Melek gathers together the necessary gear and manpower. They let down ropes and padding for Jeremiah… then lift him to safety.
Through the unsung hero, Ebed-Melek, God fulfills His promise to rescue Jeremiah. This Cushite lives out his courageous faith for all to see… and is rewarded with a prophecy from the Lord…
“I will rescue you on that day… you will not be given into the hands of those you fear. I will save you… because you trust in Me.” – Jeremiah 39:17-18
God commends Ebed-Melek for his living faith by protecting him during the fall and destruction of Jerusalem. This Cushite will not be harmed by the Babylonians for he will be rescued by his Jehovah God. What an honor for this unsung hero for his act of justice and kindness.
“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8
We can be heroes of faith like Ebed-Melek. When we see unkindness and injustice… and there is some way we can help… the Holy Spirit will prompt us to act. For in Scripture, we are reminded that if we know the right thing to do, yet fail to do it, for us it is sin (James 4:17). God may have placed us in just such a place for a reason… to be an “Ebed-Melek” in someone’s life.
With a living faith, we seek to alleviate the wrongs we see. As we step out in courage and faith to do what is just and caring, we are showing the compassion of Christ. When we follow the leading of the Spirit of Christ within us, we are following Jesus. We become the unsung heroes of faith in our time.