July 19, 2021
"Then they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Malkiah the king’s son, which was in the guard’s courtyard, lowering Jeremiah with ropes."
“Then they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Malkiah the king’s son, which was in the guard’s courtyard, lowering Jeremiah with ropes. There was no water in the cistern, only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud. Jeremiah 38:6
If the Lord asked today, “Do you want to be used by Me?” most of us would answer, “Yes, Lord!” We generally think of “blessings” when we think of people who are being used by the Lord. But what if the Lord wanted to use your suffering to send a poignant message to non-believers? Well, our answers may be different in that light. This is precisely Jeremiah’s situation in today’s chapter.
It is hard to be faithful when we are called to suffer. In such times, we must strongly rely on God’s promise of deliverance. Surely, down in that pit, Jeremiah was comforted by the words of David’s Psalm 40.
“I waited patiently for the Lord, and He turned to me and heard my cry for help. He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3
Perhaps, Jeremiah remembered the story of Joseph and how his similar circumstances led to his brothers’ deliverance.
“When Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped off his robe of many colors that he had on. They took him and threw him into the well. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.” Genesis 37:23-24
The point is, we need the truth of the Bible for strength through difficult circumstances: “Faith comes by hearing and hearing from the word of God.” (Romans 10:7) Jeremiah trusted the Lord, spoke the truth boldly, and the Lord eventually delivered him.
“Ebed-melech the Cushite (Ethiopian) cried out to Jeremiah, ‘Place these old rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes.’ Jeremiah did so, and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern, but he continued to stay in the guard’s courtyard.” Jeremiah 38:12-13
Later, we find that the Lord allowed Jeremiah’s whole episode of faithful suffering to contrast with Zedekiah’s lack of faith. Jeremiah was saved, but Zedekiah wouldn’t be.
“But if you refuse to surrender, then this is the word the Lord has shown me: All the women remaining in the king of Judah’s palace will be brought out to the king of Babylon’s officers, and those women will taunt you: ‘Your own close friends misled you and took advantage of you. Now that your feet are stuck in the mud, they have abandoned you.’” Jeremiah 38:21-22