En Gedi's Gate

Always Employing Biblical Truth and Discernment!


Ebed-Melech: A Profile in Courage

Ebed-Melech: A Profile in Courage


Posted By on Sep 10, 2020

Upon hearing the prophet Jeremiah’s pronouncement of God’s judgment, that was soon to fall on the city of Jerusalem [which at that time was under siege from Babylon]; the irate princes cried to King Zedekiah: “Please, let this man [Jeremiah ] be put to death, for thus he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but their harm.” (Jer. 38:4, cf. 26:11).  The pusillanimous King failed to protect Jeremiah and handed him over to the charge of the princes, thus consenting to their pernicious plot (Jer. 38:5).  With murder in their hearts the princes took Jeremiah and lowered him into a filthy, miry cistern whereby Jeremiah sank in the sludge. (Jer. 38:6).  Because Jerusalem was in the latter stages of the siege from Babylon, it was unlikely that Jeremiah would receive food or water.  Therefore, a slow agonizing death from deprivation appeared inevitable. That said, a most unlikely candidate came to Jeremiah’s rescue.  Ebed-Melech meaning servant of the king, an Ethiopian eunuch and perhaps the head of king Zedekiah’s harem.1  After hearing of Jeremiah’s dire predicament, he boldly approached the king and said: “My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet whom they have cast into the cistern; and he will die right where he is because of the famine, for there is no more bread in the city.” (Jer. 38:9).  What courage and bravery were demonstrated by Ebed-Melech!  Not only did he risk his life by approaching the king while he was conducting official business (v. 7), but he accused the king’s princes of evil-doing—for he was just a foreigner, a lowly slave.  It must be noted that Ebed-Melech displayed care and compassion for the Lord’s prophet, that no other person demonstrated.  By God’s providence King Zedekiah granted Ebed-Melech permission to free Jeremiah.  Immediately upon receiving royal permission, Ebed-Melech acted and cleverly devised a plan to rescue Jeremiah from his miry grave.  He lowered old clothes down by ropes, telling Jeremiah to put the clothes under his arms as he raised him up with the ropes. (Jer. 38:11-13).  Ebed-Melech’s self-sacrificing courage may have went unnoticed by the people at that time, even by King Zedekiah; but God who sees everything (Job 28:24), blessed the lowly slave.  When God’s judgment befell Jerusalem utterly destroying the city, in which very few people had survived and the rest were taken as Babylonian slaves; God remembered the kindness Ebed-Melech exhibited toward...

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Obadiah: A Profile of Courage

Obadiah: A Profile of Courage


Posted By on Aug 24, 2020

Ahab, the evil king of Israel had a servant named Obadiah (“servant of the LORD”), who was a steward of the king’s household and he “…feared the LORD greatly” (1 Kin. 18:3, 12).  There was a severe drought which plagued Israel for three and half years causing famine conditions.  The prophet Elijah had earnestly prayed to God to bring the drought to prove the impotency of Baal, the Canaanite god of the rain and fertility (1 Kin. 17:1, Jas. 5:17).  King Ahab’s wife Jezebel was also extremely wicked and even more nefarious than her husband, for she was executing Israel’s prophets. Knowing of Jezebel’s treachery, the brave Obadiah courageously hid one hundred prophets in two caves, and amazingly managed to feed them bread and water during the famine (1 Kin. 18:4, 13)!  Moreover, he accomplished this monumental task surreptitiously and without discovery from the murderous Ahab and Jezebel. Scripture does not indicate if Obadiah accomplished this feat by himself or how long he maintained his perilous rendezvous to minister to the prophets in the caves.  However, one could speculate by the drought’s three-and-a-half-year duration, that it was a lengthy undertaking.    Obadiah’s heroic demonstration of faith should be inspiring to Christians who are facing peril while serving the Lord.  This small yet powerful couplet of Scripture [1 Kin. 18:3-4], serves as a reminder for the less notable, but extremely faithful servants of the Lord.  It is not only the prominent servants of God, e.g. Moses or Elijah, that are pleasing to God; but all who follow God with fear, faithfulness, and with their whole heart, are pleasing to the Lord.  Obadiah, first and foremost “feared the Lord” (1 Kin. 18:3).  The Apostle Peter called those of the church to: “Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.” (1 Pet. 2:17).  Obadiah feared God and still honored the king, for he was head of Ahab’s household (v. 4). It is hard to imagine Obadiah getting such an exalted position in the royal house, without reverencing the king.  However, even though Obadiah honored Ahab, he “feared” and obeyed God by performing His will—Obadiah saved God’s prophets.  Therefore, a Christian can honor his earthly king, while still fearing and obeying his heavenly King.  Furthermore, despite the perilousness of being discovered by the murderous King Ahab and his wife Jezebel, Obadiah “risked his life” for the prophets of God. (1 Kings 18:4). Scripture calls all believers to make the ultimate sacrifice if necessary: “We know love by this, that He [Jesus Christ] laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1...

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David and Saul; Contrasting Hearts

David and Saul; Contrasting Hearts


Posted By on Jul 27, 2020

“Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.  Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.”                                                                          1 Sam. 16:13-14 David and Saul were two men God had chosen to be kings of His chosen people Israel.   David was pleasing to God and He promised to establish from David’s descendants, One who would reign forever on the Davidic throne (2 Sam. 7:12-16).  Saul greatly displeased God and was permanently cut-off from having a relationship with Him (1 Sam. 13-14a, 15:23, 26, 28) –for these men possessed contrasting hearts.  David was “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14, 16:7, Ps. 89:20, Acts 13:22) and Saul was a man whose heart Satan was after (1 Sam. 16:14).  The contrast between the two is stark, and Scripture sheds much light on the many differences.  For instance, Scripture states King David had served God with honor: “…because David did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.” (1 Kin. 15:5b).  King Saul on the other hand, dishonored God in practically everything he had done: “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not carried out My commands…I have rejected him from being king over Israel” (1 Sam. 15:11a, 16b).     As the book of First Samuel progresses, it becomes more and more apparent of David’s ever-increasing rise to an exalted position as Israel’s leader and eventual king (2 Sam. 5:1-4), opposed to King Saul’s continual deterioration and demise (1 Sam. 15:23, 28, 1 Sam. 31).  David’s godly character is shown when he spared King Saul’s life for the second time (1 Sam. 26, cf. 1 Sam. 24), but afterward was still convinced Saul would seek to kill him (1 Sam. 27:1).   Rather than harming King Saul, God’s anointed, the honorable David fled from Saul’s presence.  This contrasts with the despicable character of King Saul, who would spend much of his reign seeking to murder David, God’s anointed.   David was terrified of Saul so he hastily fled to Israel’s enemy, the Philistines and to Achish the king of Gath to whom he quickly grew in favor with.  While David dwelt peaceably in Ziklag, the Philistine city King Achish gave him to reside in, the Philistines formulated...

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“…they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.”  Acts 14:19b The Apostle Paul having just healed a lame man, so captivated the people of Lystra they extolled him and Barnabas as incarnate gods (Acts 14:8-11).  But envious, wicked Jews came from Iconium and Antioch and persuaded the multitude to turn violently against Paul.  Poisoned by Satanic lies of the Jews, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead (Acts 14:19).  Scripture records moments later when his disciples gathered around him, he arose and entered the city.  Amazingly, the very next day he and Barnabas traveled approximately fifty miles to the city of Derbe and once arriving there, preached the gospel (Acts 14:20).  The Lord must have performed a supernatural healing of Paul, for he was most likely a bloody pulp and in a moribund state, if not dead.  What is even more amazing than Paul’s miraculous survival, was that from Derbe he returned to Lystra–the very city where his murderers resided (Acts 14:21).   So why did Paul return to such a hostile and pernicious venue?  Most believers, if not all, would have fled fast and far from such an inflammatory environment; but not Paul, he did not faint from valiantly risking his life.  Selflessly, he hoped to encourage the brethren, who may have witnessed firsthand or heard of the pandemonium which culminated with his stoning.  Paul exhorted them to abide in faith, declaring: “…Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22b).    Paul’s fearlessness was not foreign to him, it was the power of the Holy Spirit engrained within him (Jn. 14:17, 2 Tim. 1:7).  For example, when he had called the Ephesian elders together, to instruct them with a parting exhortation, he said: “And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there,  except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:22-24).   When Paul was departing Caesarea, he was warned by brethren there of the imminent danger awaiting him at Jerusalem: “…a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.  And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, ‘This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In...

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Why it is Imperative to Read Scripture “I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name.”   Ps. 138:2—NKJ According to the Scriptures Christians are living in the “last days” (2 Tim. 3:1).  Sadly, in this bleak American culture that was once greatly influenced by the words of God, is now having all identifiers of Him tragically removed.  Truth as we know it, and as clearly presented in the Bible, is either being compromised, twisted, or denied altogether to accommodate the wickedness and perversity of this nation.  Furthermore, most all genres of history are being rewritten, so that our children and our children’s children, are receiving a multiplicity of erroneous information.  The altering of history will indeed have a tragic result, because those generations will not even know the historical truth, to which they are being defrauded.  Additionally, Christians who linger as spectators of social media, specifically the news, are subjecting themselves to a repository of hatred, violence, and deception—unedifying to the Christian walk.  So, how can Christians both endure and prosper in this nefarious and morally deteriorating society?  Answer: by reading the only source of truth, the Bible, God’s Word–by feasting daily on the pure milk of the Word (1 Pet. 2:2).  Reading and ruminating on Scripture is the remedy in this evil day.  It is the balm that mollifies the pain and suffering and puts into perspective, the injustices the sinful world inflicts. Unfortunately, there are many professing Christians who say, “I don’t have time to read the Bible.”  This is a troubling and dangerous statement!  C. H. Spurgeon known for his convicting words, said: “There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write the word ‘damnation’ with your fingers.” 1   That said, it is difficult to believe the Holy Spirit would take up residence in the heart of a “new creation” in Christ [2 Cor. 5:17] and fail to implant a desire to know God through reading His Word.   Rather, it seems likely to believe the indwelt Holy Spirit, would stir-up a believer’s desire to find time to readtheirBibles and implant a deep desire to know God’s “special” revelation.  The Psalmist wrote: “Thy word is very pure, therefore Thy servant loves it.”  (Ps. 119:140).  “Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105).  “Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.” (Ps. 119:11). Additionally, the writer of Hebrews reminds us that we possess the eternal words of Jesus (in the Gospels), the greatest...

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Enduring The Fiery Trial

Enduring The Fiery Trial


Posted By on Jun 27, 2020

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.”  1 Pet. 4:12  The scattered believers in Christ to whom the Apostle Peter wrote his First epistle, were undergoing tremendous persecution from the tyrannical empire of Rome.  Since Peter was their shepherd, it was incumbent upon him to strengthen, comfort and give hope to them amid those turbulent times.  The Lord Jesus Christ had commanded Peter to be strong and encourage his brethren: “but I [Jesus] have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:32).  After God allowed Satan to “sift Peter like wheat” (Luke 22:31), and thus denied Jesus three times (Luke 22:55-62); the merciful Jesus restored the fallen Peter (John 21:15-17).  A revitalized Apostle Peter remembered the words of Jesus “strengthen your brothers” and “fed His sheep”, by writing two encouraging and instructive letters (1 and 2 Peter).  In those letters the Peter knowing the power of Jesus’ restoration, encouraged the scattered, persecuted and downcast Christians to set their minds on things above, rather than earthly things (Col. 3:2)–especially the inevitable suffering they would endure (cf. 1 Pet. 1:6).  In one of the most hopeful and powerful passages in all of Scripture, Peter reminds them of their secure salvation in Christ.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,  obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” (1 Pet. 1:1-9). With the letters opening hope-filled encouragement, Peter instructs the scattered believers to prepare their minds for the challenges, hardships, and persecution, they would face...

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The Lord is my [Good] Shepherd

The Lord is my [Good] Shepherd


Posted By on Jun 26, 2020

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (Jn. 10:11). There has been much debate regarding the deity of Jesus Christ.  Did He in fact claim to be God?  The consensus among anti-Christian sects and liberal theologians is one of denial, that Jesus cannot be divine.  However, this observation is absolutely erroneous and completely “misses the mark”, for on many occasions Jesus claimed deity.  In the Gospel of John, Jesus made twenty-three “I Am” statements—those statements alone are clear and convincing evidence that ought to quash the debate (Jn. 4:26; 6:20, 35, 41, 48, 51; 8:12, 18, 24, 28, 58; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 13:19; 14:6; 15:1, 5; 18:5, 6, 8).  In fact, even the Pharisees and Sadducees understood that Jesus claimed to be God.  For example, when Jesus made the powerful declaration: ‘“I and the Father are one.’  The Jews took up stones again to stone Him.  Jesus answered them, ‘I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?’  The Jews answered Him, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.’” (Jn. 10:30-33).  However, like all unbelievers, the Pharisees and Sadducees could not accept the truth of Jesus’ claim.  The spiritually blind will not and cannot acknowledge truth, even if it is dangled before their eyes or trumpeted in their ears (1 Cor. 2:14).   In John 10:11, Jesus declared: “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. (John 10:11—emphasis added).  Jesus’ “I Am” declaration in this verse, transports the reader back to Exodus 3:14, when God first appeared to Moses in the burning bush: “And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”  When God sent Moses to deliver His chosen people from Egyptian slavery (Ex. 3:10), Moses was commanded to say to them, “I AM” (YHWH), sent him.  Israel would have understood from ancient time past that the God of Israel’s name was “I AM”.  So, when Jesus repeatedly applied “I Am” to Himself, the people of Israel most likely knew He was claiming to be God. The twenty-third Psalm is perhaps the most well-known of the Psalms among Christians and even known among unbelievers [who often reciting it at funerals].  In the first verse of the Psalm a case can be made for Christ’s deity: “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.” (Ps. 23:1); King...

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God Requires Contrition of the Heart

God Requires Contrition of the Heart


Posted By on May 17, 2020

“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.”                  1 Sam. 15:22b Although King David was exceedingly great, he was fallen just like every human being; sinful and in need of God’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness (1 Kin. 8:46, Eccl. 7:20, Rom. 3:23).  God was incredibly merciful to David, for David wrote in Psalm eighteen: “Great deliverance He gives to His king, and shows mercy to His anointed, to David and his descendants forevermore.” (Ps. 18:50–NKJ).  For example, God’s law [the Mosaic Law] condemned anyone to death if caught in the act of adultery as well as the sin of intentional murder. (Lev. 20:10, 24:7).  King David was guilty of committing both offenses, adultery with Bathsheba and the murder her husband Uriah (2 Sam. 11:4, 24).  He deserved to be put to death on two counts, yet God mercifully spared his life: “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ and Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.’” (2 Sam. 12:13).  What incredible lovingkindness God extended to David!  Moreover, God who sees the heart (1 Chr. 28:9, 2 Chr. 6:30), was pleased at what He saw in David’s heart (1 Sam. 16:7, cf. 1 Kin. 14:8), and mercifully forgave him.  David did however pay a dear price for his acts of adultery and plotted homicide.  God, in perfect justice would take the life of David’s newborn son born of Bathsheba. (2 Sam. 12:13-19).   Every believer will receive God’s merciful forgiveness, if confession of sin is contritely made: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn. 1:9).  However, as David experienced, although believers will be forgiven, they may receive God’s loving, yet heavy hand of discipline: “…My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.’” (Heb. 12:5-6, cf. Prov. 3:11-12).  Therefore, it is far better to be loved and experience God’s heavy hand of discipline, than to be unloved and eternally rejected by...

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