From the frying pan to the fire! Jeremiah continues to share God’s words no matter how ‘hot’ it gets. Today he is sinking in muck because he won’t stay quiet.
Jeremiah will NOT be deterred. He has gone from freedom, to banned from the Temple, to imprisoned in the house of the secretary, to confined to the court of the guards. NONE of these places silenced his tongue or changed his message.
King Zedekiah is still hoping for a good word from Jeremiah but he is unwilling to protect him from those who seek his life. In fact, Zedekiah relieves himself of the burden of worrying about Jeremiah when four of the leaders approach him. “Behold, he is in your hands, for the king can do nothing against you” (verse 5b).
I’m curious as to who these men really are. What sway do they hold over the king? Does he answer to them? Are they his advisors? Do they have power from Nebuchadnezzar? Are they city leaders? WHY does Zedekiah turn Jeremiah over to these men? Whatever their power or position, Zedekiah bowed out of caring for Jeremiah’s life.
These men want Jeremiah dead. Not for deeds he has done but for words he has spoken in God’s name. “His speech in influencing the people in a negative way. He needs to be silenced; permanently.” They want him dead but are not willing to get his blood on their hands. They won’t kill him; they will put him in circumstances that will kill him instead.
They could have dragged Jeremiah up to a high place and pushed him off. But they would have had to clean up the mess. They could have put him in a full cistern and tossed him in. But then their drinking water would have been fouled. They could even have pushed him into the cistern they chose. But instead, they lower him down with ropes into an empty cistern.
This cistern had previously held water but it didn’t have any at the time. It wasn’t dry though. It was wet enough that Jeremiah sank as they lowered him down. We are not told how deep he was in the mud and muck but his detractors were satisfied that he would no longer be a problem.
Did King Zedekiah watch as Jeremiah was lowered down into the cistern? Did he learn about it later? Was he relieved that Jeremiah wasn’t killed immediately? Was he hoping for a last-minute rescue? Did he hope that God would give him a new word in the place where they put him?
Do you remember when God first called Jeremiah? God told Jeremiah that his road would be hard but that He would protect his life. This is certainly one of those moments. GOD kept these men from finding a way to truly dispatch Jeremaih. He didn’t let them think about the ways I spoke of earlier, or maybe He made them think of the same reasons to reject those ideas. God wouldn’t let them kill him but that didn’t prevent them from tormenting Jeremiah. Besides all that, God told Jeremiah he would see Judah and Jerusalem fall in his lifetime. So, there was more life left for Jeremiah.
Jesus was protected several times in His life from death. The first was when he was a young boy of no more than two. God called on Joseph to get Him and Mary out of Harod’s reach. Another time was when the crowd wanted to stone Him to death. He walked right through them without them even seeing Him. Only when HE was ready for death did He allow it to happen.
Jeremiah didn’t wield the power to prevent them from taking his life but he served the God who DID wield it! Do your worst devil. God’s got him in His hands and you can’t have him!
This same thing holds true for us too. Satan cannot touch God’s children. That doesn’t mean he can’t hurt this external shell but he CANNOT touch the part that belongs to God. Our spirit is SAFE with Him FOREVER. And Satan can’t take this physical body until God is finished with His work for it. We may be mired in muck but He will watch over us and make a way for us out of that place WHEN we put our trust in Him.
Jeremiah didn’t start yelling for the people to help him. He waited to see what God would do. We will see that tomorrow.
Father God, I KNOW that I am safe in Your arms. NOTHING Satan can do will EVER touch my spirit. I’ve had times when he hung clouds of depression over me but You reached through that fog and pulled me from it. Some days I would slip back under but You ALWAYS held me up until I was ready to climb out again. And You NEVER judged me weak! You held me and let me cry. THANK YOU for NEVER letting go!