Wednesday, February 13, 2013

a friend with a rope

"My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Jeremiah the prophet by casting him into the cistern, and he will die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city."
Jeremiah 38:9

A gentile eunuch in the service of Judah's king has more righteous indignation and a sense of respect for God's prophet than all the other leaders of the Jews. He petitions king Zedekiah to save the life of Jeremiah. Ebed-melech was used to rescue Jeremiah from the muddy cistern into which he had been lowered to die from starvation.

Somehow the pleadings of an Ethiopian eunuch reversed Zedekiah's executive order. The king had allowed the officials to seize Jeremiah as a military necessity. The case was made that Jeremiah's message of judgment was demoralizing the already struggling troops in Jerusalem. But somehow the pleadings of a trusted court servant over rode the previous concerns and the king reversed direction. The rescue of Jeremiah was affected by God who controls the outcomes beyond the thoughts of kings.

The text is silent as to just how long Jeremiah sank into the mud of the cistern. The eunuch took action as soon as the news reached him, so I am assuming it ended just a few hours after it began. Still, those must have been lonely hours for Jeremiah since he knew he had been put there to die. God's rescue was amazing to him. It changed his perspective immediately. The ropes were lowered and he was lifted from the despair and mud of the pit.

There are moments in life that are marked by sheer personal suffering. I have known a few. And I think all people get there sooner or later. Powerless to change, dark feelings can overwhelm us, drawing us down into the mud of depression. But God can bring the friends with the ropes if we just wait patiently on Him. We still have to endure the darkness. We still have to take the rope when it is offered. But what joy arrives when others care to help lift us from our sorrows and despair!

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