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Eomer: The Treacherous Loyalty

     "'I serve only the Lord of the Mark, Theoden King son of Thengel,' answered Eomer. 'We do not serve the Power of the Black Land far away, but neither are we yet at open war with him; and if you are fleeing from him, then you had best leave this land. There is trouble on all our borders, and we are threatened; but we desire only to be free, and to live as we have lived, keeping our own, and serving no foreign lord, good or evil.'" (The Lord of the Ring)

Eomer: The Treacherous Loyalty

When I think of Eomer, I am reminded of the legends of the knights in many books, of Lancelot, Gawain and King Arthur. The statement above shows part of who he is, another he keeps secret. While bravely disobeying King Theoden's edict about patrolling the lands for Orcs, he says his only desire is to be free, not choosing any "foreign lord, good or evil". He is bound, however, by his own contempt and even loyalty, to an end that cannot see freedom. Yet secretly he desires to side with that which is good. If that were not the case he would not disobey his king in order to protect him and his people. His boasting coupled with belief in gossip, almost caused a fatal end for himself and Gimli, and probably others. Legalos was ready to strike the first blow against any who harmed Gimli.

What we see here is someone trying to balance upon a fence, yet at the same time trying to be loyal to one side. You simply cannot do both. You must choose, one side or the other, good or evil. You cannot stand by and be neutral. Eomer knew this, and for that reason he took the Riders of the Third Riddermark out on patrol of the lands of Rohan. He made a conscious decision to side with good, wherever that may be found; and to oppose evil wherever that may be found.

There was a man like that who came to speak with Jesus by night. His name was Nicodemus, a ruler of the Pharisees. He came by night because he didn't want the other Pharisees to know what he was doing. He was trying to be impartial, not to take sides, but in his heart he had already sided with his Messiah. In John chapter three we have an account of that marvelous encounter. Jesus did not ridicule him, or get angry with him, as He had with other Pharisees. The reason is simple. Jesus saw the heart of Nicodemus, and it was bent towards God. So Jesus teaches him. He takes time out to instruct this teacher of the Law about the Law he teaches. It is the only recorded time that Jesus does so.

Nicodemus, like Eomer, were brash and proud, but their loyalty brought them into conflict with themselves, and eventually others. For a time Eomer was disfavored by Theoden King, and for a time Nicodemus was disfavored by the other Pharisees. Yet Eomer is listed as one of the valiant who fought on the Pelennor Fields. So also is Nicodemus mentioned with reverence as one of the two men who retrieved our Lord's body from the cross. (The other being Joseph of Arimathea).

What we can learn from Eomer is that it is dangerous to try to sit on the fence. Sooner or later we must choose a side. May we strive to keep our hearts soft before God that our choice will always be for Him. For you see, it isn't just a one time thing. Salvation is, but working out that salvation is a moment by moment affair. We can easily be swayed to compromise our belief and even our love for Jesus if we do not constantly keep choosing for Him, as did Nicodemus, as did Eomer, as did Mary of Magdalene, as did Arwen.

     "And after this Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. (John 19:38-41)