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August 11 Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 36-38
Three Black Men
The Lord God raises the question, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin?” (Jeremiah 13:23) to show us the utter futility of all human efforts by fallen man to save himself and make himself a new creature. How unspeakably blessed it is to every redeemed sinner to know that what we could never do Christ has done for us! He has made us clean by his blood’s cleansing power and his omnipotent mercy, by the washing of regeneration by the Word and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.
Reading the book of Jeremiah, we run across the name of “Ebedmelech the Ethiopian,” who helped God’s prophet Jeremiah. There are three black men held before us in Holy Scripture, by whom God the Spirit teaches us much. May he give us grace to learn from the things recorded in the Book of God about these three Ethiopians.
Ebedmelech the Ethiopian
Like Cyrus, this man, “Ebedmelech the Ethiopian,” reminds us of the Lord’s goodness and grace in raising instruments, from the most unexpected places and among the most unexpected people, for the deliverance of his people. Here was a stranger, a Gentile, an Ethiopian raised up by God to rescue one of his faithful prophets when all others sought his death.
Precious Lord Jesus, how can I read about this man, without being led instantly to You, blessed Redeemer and Savior? Coming to us in our own nature, as the Divine Samaritan, the Son of God delivered us from thieves, when neither the religious priest nor the legal Levite would look upon us with mercy.
Simon the Cyrenian
Three times in the Word of God we are told that Simon the Cyrenian was compelled to take up the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and follow him (Matthew 27:32; Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26). How I thank God for that sweet, omnipotent, irresistible, effectual grace of his Spirit by which he graciously compels sinners to take up the cross of Christ and follow him! Did he not compel us to do so, none would ever come to Christ. Did he not sweetly force us to do so, none would follow his dear Son. But by omnipotent mercy, God the Holy Spirit makes all Christ’s chosen, blood bought ones willing in the day of his power
The Ethiopian Eunuch
The Ethiopian Eunuch to whom Philip was sent of God to preach the Gospel (Acts 8) is held before us in Holy Scripture as an example to teach us the necessity and blessedness of Gospel preaching and Gospel preachers. The Eunuch was reading Isaiah 53, reading what God caused his prophet Isaiah to write about the sin-atoning, substitutionary sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. When Philip heard him reading that magnificent chapter, he asked, “Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man show me?”
Let us never forget the great goodness of God in sending a faithful man to our souls to tell us about our blessed Savior and the redemption he accomplished at Calvary on our behalf. — “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”