Jeremiah has been sharing what God has given him concerning Judah. It got him thrown in a cistern to die. But today he is lifted up. God didn’t forget him!
Jeremiah is pulling no punches. God is calling for Judah to repent or face the consequences. Yes, He has been making that call for some time. But God told Jeremiah that He would call Judah to account before Jeremiah dies. And the people don’t like what Jeremiah is saying.
One group is so upset by what God is saying through Jeremiah that they want him dead. Shoot the messenger. In this case though, they threw the ‘messenger’ down into an empty cistern. They expected him to die there. King Zedekiah had given Jeremiah’s life into their hands and sat back while they did whatever they wished with him.
I don’t think Zedekiah was comfortable with this act. He sat outside in the Benjamin Gate, silent and sullen. Zedekiah actually wished for a good word from the Lord through Jeremiah but he was not willing to stand up for Jeremiah. He left his life in the hands of those who hated him.
There was another who wasn’t willing to sit by and watch. This man was a foreigner, a slave, and a mutilated man. Yet he KNEW the God that Judah served would NOT like what they were doing. He KNEW Jeremiah was a man of God. And he pleaded for Jeremiah’s life.
I don’t know why King Zedekiah waffled back and forth. One minute he is turning Jeremiah over to those who want him dead. Next minute, he is giving Jeremiah’s care back into the hands of those who love him. Or at least into the hands of those who knew better than to mess with a man of God.
Ebed-melech is the name of the one man who was willing to stand up for Jeremiah. We aren’t told how he heard about Jeremiah’s situation. He was a servant of the king but he felt so strongly about rescuing Jeremiah that he went to address the king himself. He didn’t stand on ceremony. He located the king in the Benjamin Gate and spoke directly to him. “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” (verse 9).
I have NO DOUBT that God worked through Ebed-melech to save Jeremiah’s life. Ebed-melech did more than just save Jeremiah’s life. He cared about his comfort. He scrounged around for worn out clothes and rags to protect Jeremiah from the ropes that were going to be needed to pull him out.
At first, I wondered about this because nothing was said about this when letting him down. Honestly, letting him down, they wouldn’t have cared about his comfort. But Jeremiah sank into the muck at the bottom of the cistern. More force would be needed to pull him out of it. This added pulling would mean added stress on Jeremiah’s body from the ropes. And Jeremiah is not a young man.
Something else I thought interesting is that there were four men who put Jeremiah into the pit and 30 who pulled him out. King Zedekiah made CERTAIN there would be enough man power to bring him up the first time.
We are not told how long Jeremiah stayed in the pit. It could have been minutes, hours, days, or even a week. However long it was, God sustained him. When he came out he was just as committed to sharing what the Lord gave to him. He didn’t waste away or become afraid to speak out.
I was thinking about this ordeal and God’s hand in it. Jeremiah knew from the beginning of his calling that this was NOT going to be an easy road. Satan rose up in those around him at every turn but God watched over Jeremiah’s life. Satan would throw up a road block and God would plow right through it with even greater force. Four to put him down and thirty to raise him up. Rough handling and careless hearts hurled him in but gentle and loving hearts pulled him out.
I’ve seen God do this in my life and the lives of others. One example in my life involved a transmission on my car, a warranty, and people who went to bat for me.
I had been trying for months to diagnose a sound my car was making. I finally took it to a transmission shop and they said it was my transmission and would need replaced. When I pulled out my warranty papers, we saw that I was 50+ miles out of warranty. I didn’t have the money for this repair. I didn’t know what to do, so I drove home in tears and in prayer. When I got home, I felt led to call the warranty company and explain the situation. To my utter dismay, they listened! They told me they would cover the repair. PRAISE GOD was all I could say!!!
It took some time, but I finally got my car back with a new transmission. On the way back to the repair shop to drop off the person who came to pick me up, I heard the noise again and asked about it. I was told that it was normal after this type of repair but should stop in a day or two. It didn’t. I took it back to the shop after a few days because the noise was getting worse and they diagnosed it as a wheel bearing, which is what I originally believed it to be.
I called the warranty company immediately to discuss the situation. They stated they would cover this repair too and I wouldn’t even need to pay another deductible. I’m not 100% certain, but I think they made the transmission shop repair it for free as it was obviously NOT what they had originally diagnosed. Satan tried to take me down in one way and God raised me up again in MULTIPLE ways as my car was now FULLY fixed!
I want to share one more example of God overflowing in restoring what Satan stole. This one involves my parents and a storage shed they had rented.
My parents were in church one morning as a prophecy was spoken over them saying that God was going to restore what Satan had stolen. They were confused as to what this meant but took it and tucked it away in their hearts. A few days later, they went to their storage shed to gather their camping equipment for a trip they were going to take. When they got there, they noticed that the lock was different. They called the manager over and had the lock cut off. When the door opened, they found many of their belongings stacked near the door as if ready to be removed. The police were called and a report was made identifying what was stolen.
Over the next couple of days, they found their equipment on the shelves of various stores where the thieves had brought them to ‘return’ them for ‘their’ money back. My dad identified these items, spoke with the stores and law enforcement. The even came across the thieves in the process of returning another piece of their stolen equipment.
My parents had two people rob them and MANY people help return what was taken. God also restored MORE than what was stolen.
God cares about His children and we are NEVER out of His sight! No matter what we are facing, God is BIGGER than it is and HE will see us through it. It is AMAZING to see Him work!!!
Thank You Father God for watching over me. I know, not everything turns out so triumphant but when I leave my life in Your hands, You bring about good for me. I LOVE watching You work. I also LOVE looking back and realizing what You were doing behind the scenes! I think those are my FAVORITE times! They show me how You were right there, even when I didn’t see it at the time. I am NEVER alone; even in the DARKEST places.