Do You Want to Make a Difference?

Joseph Esposito
Jeremiah 38:4-13 Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city… Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand…. Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon… Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon… Ebed-melech went forth out of the king's house, and spake to the king, saying, My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is like to die for hunger in the place where he is… Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die. So Ebed-melech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took thence old cast clouts and old rotten rags, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these old cast clouts and rotten rags under thine armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so. So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.


I want to make a difference. I’m sure you do too. I like to read of no-name men, or men who may have served in obscurity, who made a difference. As I read my devotions in the book of Jeremiah a couple weeks ago, I read such a story. Most of us would not recognize the name of the man Ebed-Melech. In fact, even in this passage, he’s referred to as “the Ethiopian”, and just “one of the eunuchs.” He was an outsider. He was just one among many. But he made a difference.

Because of Israel’s sins, God pronounced judgment on them, and it was coming fast. The king of Babylon would come and destroy the city, and take the people captive.  The Lord had Jeremiah preach a very unpopular message. His message was a “Fight, and you’ll be killed. Surrender, and you’ll be well.” The princes thought that this kind of message would weaken the hands of the men of war, and it would be better to kill Jeremiah than to have him continue preaching. So, they asked the king for permission to have the preacher put to death.


With leave from the king, they took Jeremiah, and threw him into a miry pit, without water and food, left to die. But a man, Ebed-melech, would not sit by and let the prophet die. He did something about it, and saved Jeremiah’s life. We have the rest of the book of Jeremiah because an obscure man made a difference. What qualities did this Ethiopian have that caused him to make a difference, that we can too?

1. Attentiveness

Jeremiah 38:7 Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon;

The other eunuchs heard what Ebed-melech did. But he was attentive, and when he heard, he realized something must be done. Many will pass by a need without noticing, seeing, hearing, or realizing it. Many will pass by a person that is hurting without batting an eye. But if we are spiritually alert and attentive to the needs around us, we’ll see many areas where we can make a difference. If we will make a difference, we must be attentive to the needs all around us.

2. Initiative

Jeremiah 38:8-9 Ebed-melech went forth out of the king's house, and spake to the king, saying, My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon;


No one asked Ebed-melech to do this. In fact, it wasn’t even in his job description. He could have done what all the others did, and “let it be”. But he took initiative to make a difference. If we’re attentive, we’ll begin to see needs all around us. Maybe a bus kid that needs some shoes. Maybe some volunteer work around the church. Maybe a couple is struggling and we can take them out and offer some encouragement. Someone once said, “a need seen is a task given.” We don’t need pastor to ask us to take out the full trash, share a word of encouragement, or meet a need of a fellow brother or sister! All it takes is a little initiative many times to make a difference.

3. Availability

Jeremiah 38:10 Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die.


Many are good at identifying a need or problem, sending it to the leader, with no intention of meeting that need or getting their hands dirty or their schedule inconvenienced. Ebed-melech was available to meet the need he brought to the king. In order to make a difference, many times the best ability is availability.

4. Creativity

Jeremiah 38:11-13 So Ebed-melech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took thence old cast clouts and old rotten rags, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these old cast clouts and rotten rags under thine armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so. So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon…
Here, there was no way to get Jeremiah out of the dungeon. But this didn’t stop Ebed-melech. He found old clothes and rotten rags, tied them together, and made a rope

with which to pull Jeremiah up and save his life. Ebed-melech was creative. Making a difference isn’t always easy. It isn’t cut and dry. Many times, it takes thinking outside the box, and getting creative with our time, our resources, our schedule, and our problem solving skills. God is a creative God, and with His help, we can get creative in ways to meet needs that otherwise wouldn’t be met.

This obscure man made a big difference because he was attentive, took initiative, was available, and was creative. If we have these qualities and are willing to apply them, we, too, can make a big difference.

Joseph Esposito

Bro Esposito serves as the vice president of our Bible college, teaches the Cross Point Adult Bible Class, and heads up our children and teen Sunday school ministry. He and his wife Jennifer have five wonderful children.

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