Often times, when there are tasks ahead that seem impossible to accomplish, I grit my teeth, weigh the pros and cons and still find myself in two minds. While I try to strategize to manage the situation, part of me also feels like avoiding it. My internal dialogue can, at different times, sway between self-demeaning and self-motivating.
However, when I am able to catch myself and ask the question, “What is God teaching me?”, it enables me to channel my thoughts and emotions towards God. When this is done, I find my will aligned to His. Only then, by faith, can I continue the journey on which He has called me to.
During my Devotional time, I came across an interesting character named Ebed-Melech (Jeremiah 38-39) who was an important court official in Jerusalem. He was a foreigner, an Ethiopian.
In Jeremiah 38, four court officials obtained the king’s permission to kill Jeremiah by casting him into a cistern because Jeremiah kept prophesying that Jerusalem would fall into the hands of the Babylonians. Upon hearing this, Ebed-melech, rushed to the palace to speak to the king about saving Jeremiah. The king agreed to Ebed-melech’s request and Jeremiah’s life was spared. By going against the decision of the other four officials, Ebed-melech was actually defying them and because of that, he and his family’s life would be in danger and possibly be the next target for these court officials.
Even though the odds were against Ebed-melech, he chose to believe that whatever God said through Jeremiah would come true. By saving Jeremiah, he was also stating that he was on Jeremiah’s side. So God promised Ebed-melech, “…but I will rescue you from those you fear so much. Because you trusted me, I will give you your life as a reward. I will rescue you and keep you safe. I, the LORD, have spoken!” (Jer 39:17-18 NLT)
It is worth nothing though that these words of assurance only came a few years after Jeremiah was cast into the cistern; with Jerusalem falling under the siege of the cruel Babylonians (Jer 39:1-19). Ebed-melech’s belief that God would work for the betterment of those who trusted in Him held fast, even when the situation seemed impossible.
As I consider Ebed-melech’s life, I find myself asking if there are situations in my life where I can respond in similar ways – believing that God is in control, no matter how impossible the situation seems to be. I pray that all of us would be able to have a faith like that of Ebed-melech.
Habakkuk (a contemporary of Jeremiah who also foretold the impending Babylonian invasion) wrote, “but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness” (Hab 2:4b). “Faithfulness” can also mean firmness, steadfastness, fidelity — to keep faith.
It meant that that people of Jerusalem would live if they continued to keep their faith in God, even though God’s judgement was going to be carried out through the Babylonians (David Pawson’s exposition of Habakkuk).
May all of us continue persevering in our faith journey as we keep our eyes on Christ to see the impossible become a possibility.
By Elder Joey Hong