Seek God’s Favor, Not Man’s

from Lynda Lindsey

Thus says the Lord: He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out to the Chaldeans shall live. He shall have his life as a prize of war, and live… This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken. Jeremiah 38:2-3

Ebed-melech, the Ethiopian servant to the king of Judah: “My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Jeremiah the prophet by casting him into the cistern, and he will die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.” Jeremiah 38:9

God’s word to the Ethiopian servant through Jeremiah: Behold, I will fulfill My words against this city for harm and not for good, and they shall be accomplished before you on that day. But I will deliver you on that day, declares the Lord, and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have put your trust in Me, declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 39:16-18

Jeremiah, refusing to compromise God’s word, was often out of favor with his countrymen, his king, and the king’s advisors. Jeremiah’s words were thought to undermine the country’s war effort to resist the Babylonians, an effort God, through Jeremiah, counseled against. Jeremiah faithfully preached God’s word: death by sword, famine, or pestilence was a certainty to anyone attempting to resist the Babylonian invasion by staying in Jerusalem. Those who allowed themselves to be taken into exile would live, their life being returned to them as a war-prize.

Jeremiah, released from prison in the palace dungeon only to be later left for dead in a muddy cistern, was rescued by a bold Ethiopian eunuch serving in the king’s household; the eunuch risked his life to address the wrong-doing of Judah’s king. The eunuch petitioned for Jeremiah’s life, even while calling attention to the evil injustice committed against Jeremiah by the king’s own allowance! Jeremiah’s life was spared due to the courageous actions of the Ethiopian; the Lord protected and saved both men, granting each of them their life as a prize of war. 

The Lord sent Jeremiah to the Ethiopian with words of deliverance, “I will deliver you…and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword…because you have put your trust in Me.” Jeremiah, regardless of his circumstances, put his trust in God and proclaimed God’s truth. Even when speaking the truth could have rendered Jeremiah and the eunuch a death verdict, the men spoke truth. We are saved by trusting God, not man, seeking God’s favor, not man’s. Whose favor is it you seek?