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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

God's Sleeper Agent (Jeremiah 38:7)

 "But Ebed-Melech, a Cushite, an official in the royal palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. While the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate, Ebed-Melech went out of the palace and said to him, "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 when there is no longer any bread in the city."

Unknown to Jeremiah, God has a "sleeper agent" in the royal palace. Can you imagine how hopeless Jeremiah must have felt as his legs bogged down in the muddy bottom of a deep cistern? Alone, forgotten? Jeremiah didn't know what Ebed-Melech was up to. But God did.

God places His people in pivotal places. Ebed-Melech, an unlikely intercessor and eunuch from N. Africa has access to the king and he uses his access wisely. God always has his "sleeper agents" in high places and He alerts them to activity as they are needed. God later rewards Ebed-Melech for his intercession on Jeremiah's behalf (Jeremiah 39:16-18).
What does this story teach us about God?
  • God works on parallel fronts simultaneously (While Jeremiah sank, Ebed-Melech spoke to the king)
  • God has advocates, unknown to us, positioned to act on our behalf (Ebed-Melech, a Cushite eunuch empathized with Jeremiah in his troubles and was uniquely positioned to do something about it)
  • God has unusual and unlikely people placed in positions of usefulness and influence (God uses, of all people, a foreign eunuch to speak out on Jeremiah's behalf and King Zedekiah listens to him)
  • Our situation is never as it seems (Jeremiah may have thought that his life was over as he sank in the mire. Little did he know that God was working on His behalf through an unlikely individual)
  • God blesses those who risk their all on behalf of His prophets (Ebed-Melech had no idea how his intervention on Jeremiah's behalf would be so rewarded)
Smelly, muddy cisterns are God's opportunities to "show off" His amazing abilities and His intricate work in the lives of those around us. Things are never as they appear. So, what are you doing as your knees sink in the mire of your life? Complaining or trusting the heart of God?


Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Ezekiel 25:1-17
  • Why does God punish the Ammonites? What does this tell you about God?
  • Why does God punish Moab, Seir, Edom, Philistia? What will the punishment of God teach them about God?
  • It is important to understand that God never condones the evil that men do. He may use them to accomplish His purpose but He will punish them for being so willing to be used.
Jeremiah 37, 38
  • What is Zedekiah's attitude toward God? towards His prophet Jeremiah?
  • Why does Zedekiah request prayer and what does God do in response to his prayer? What does this tell you about God?
  • What does God promise the Babylonians will do in the future?
  • Why was Jeremiah detained and beaten?
  • What brings about Jeremiah's release from prison?
  • What does Jeremiah tell the people will happen to those who remain in the city? How do the officials respond?
  • Who is Ebed-Melech and what does he do for Jeremiah?
  • What is Zedekiah afraid of? What is Zedekiah's view of God?
Ezekiel 29
  • Why does God rebuke Pharaoh king of Egypt?
  • For how long will the land of Egypt remain uninhabited? Who will bring back the scattered Egyptians? What kind of nation will they then become? What does this tell you about God?
  • Read Isaiah 46:9-11. What does this verse tell you about God's work?
Ezekiel 30:20-26
  • How much time has passed since the last time the word of the Lord had come to Ezekiel?
  • What does God promise will happen to the Egyptians? What does this tell you about God?
Turning truth into prayer:
Thank the Lord that He gives ample time to repent. Ask the Lord to help you respond instantly to His prompting. Pray about the situations brewing between Israel/Iran, America/Iran/N. Korea. Pray that the Word of God would be released in power in the Muslim world.