I am thrilled that the Bible speaks of two foreigners, who were also eunuchs, who trusted in the God of Israel. As foreigners, they could go no further than the Court of the Gentiles in the temple grounds, a noisy place, hardly suited for the kind of worship a true believer would want to offer. Even if they had not been foreigners, as eunuchs, they could not have congregated with the people of God. All these ceremonial restrictions changed when God established the new covenant through Jesus Christ.
Ebedmelech the Ethiopian eunuch [Approx 588 B.C.] recorded in Jeremiah 38,39
Jeremiah proclaimed, “Thus says the Lord: This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken.” In obedience to God, he also encouraged the people to surrender to the Chaldeans. Officials of King Zedekiah had strong objections against the words of Jeremiah, and the king gave let them do whatever they wished with him. They threw him into a cistern that had wet mud at the bottom into which Jeremiah gradually sank.
A godly eunuch Ebedmelech, an Ethiopian, who lived in the king’s house, trusted the Lord and bravely confronted the king. The king then commanded him to take 30 men with him and lift Jeremiah out before he died. The mud must have had a strong hold on Jeremiah for Ebedmelech thoughtfully gave Jeremiah old rags and used-clothes to place under his armpits so that the ropes did not cut him when he was being pulled up.
God punished the city but this godly man’s life was preserved because he trusted in the Lord with a living faith that was accompanied by good works.
The Ethiopian eunuch, official of Queen Candace [Approx 33 A.D.] recorded in Acts 8
Philip was sent by an angel to intercept this high official who was returning to his country after worshiping God in Jerusalem. Philip found him seated in his chariot and reading from the book of Isaiah.
Philip enquired, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
The official replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?”
He invited Philip to come up and sit with him. The Bible tells us that the passage he was reading was Isaiah 53, the passage about the suffering Saviour. But the official did not know about whom the passage spoke. Philip began with this Scripture and proceeded to tell him the good news about Jesus.
On the way, they came to some water and the official wanted to be baptised. When he had confessed his faith in the Lord Jesus, Philip baptised him. The Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away from that place. The Bible records that the eunuch went on his way rejoicing.
And why not? He had much to rejoice about.
for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Gal 3:26-29)
Jeremiah’s release reminds me of Psalm 40:1,2:
I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
This and your last blog inspired me to read on from this part of the book of Jeremiah through Lamentations. It is so clear how time and time again when people rejected the plain word of God through this prophet, their punishment was as certain as its proclamation (e.g Johanan’s disobedience and its consequence seen in chapters 42-44). I guess we are often not much different – when we think we are wiser than God and disobey the plain instructions in His Word!
I have also learned a lot from the man Jeremiah. It is amazing how Jeremiah was able to keep on continually proclaiming God’s Word while seeing it being rejected every single time. Yet when the punishment came he never gloated, but wept. His secret appears to have been an unwavering faith in God and His mercy – best seen in Lamentations 3:21-23, in the midst of total hopelessness (humanly speaking), when lesser men would have crumbled long before!
Thank you for your thought-provoking blogs.
Thanks for your kind words. Your comments add much value to my posts.