“’For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me,’ says the Lord.”
This promise was first given to a man from North Africa named Ebed-Melech. He was told that his life was like a prize, because he had put his trust in the Lord. It is quite common in Scripture for our lives to be compared to a competition. The New Testament compares the Christian life to a walk, a run, a race, a fight and even a battle. Jeremiah reminds us of one key ingredient of our training, if we want to win; Ebed-Melech, the Ethiopian, trusted in the Lord.
Trusting the Lord suggests he did not buy into the popular teachings of the day. While the Word of God warned against sin, idolatry, and worldliness, the culture declared these things to be acceptable in the eyes of a loving God. While prosperity teaching filled the pulpits throughout Judah, the Word of God spoke of judgment coming upon His people, for abandoning the ways of God. Ebed-Melech chose to put his confidence in the Lord, rather than trusting in the popular teachings of his day.
While our lives are a competition, it is important to remember we do not compete against one another. I am not seeking to beat you to the finish line, storing up more eternal reward than you. We are competing together, and we must encourage one another. Just as Jeremiah shared the promises of God with Ebed-Melech, we should encourage each other with the written Word. As you pray for your friends and family, consider the Word of God; perhaps He would have you share a promise with them that would help them run in such a way as to win.