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Discerning Between Public Opinion And God’s Will

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“Our values determine our evaluations. If we value comfort more than character, then trials will upset us. If we value the material and physical more than the spiritual, we will not be able to count it all joy! If we live only for the present and forget about the future, … More

Trials

The princes became angry, because Jeremiah continually counseled surrender to the Babylonians (vv. 1-3). Then the princes said to the king, “Let this man be put to death,"  because he is undermining the morale of the few fighting men we have left (v. 4). They even accused him of being a traitor. The king agreed and told them to do with him whatever they wanted to and he would not stop them (v. 5). So the officials took Jeremiah from his cell and lowered him with ropes into an empty cistern with a thick layer of mud at the bottom (v. 6). This was the low point in Jeremiah’s career! Down in the mud and gloom of that damp, dark cistern, with no food and no water, no adequate clothing, he was covered over and left alone to die. But God had not forgotten his prophet.

Jeremiah thought it was all over for him, but God had in the court of the king an Ethiopian eunuch, a black servant, whose name is given here as Ebed-melech (v. 7). God sent him to seek deliverance for Jeremiah (vv. 8-9). He went before the king, and said, “My lord the king, these men have done evil by casting Jeremiah into the cistern; and he will die.” Then the king commanded Ebed-melech, the Ethiopian, “Take three men with you from here, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies” (v. 10). So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to the king’s storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which they let down to Jeremiah in the cistern on a rope (v. 11). Then Ebed-melech said to Jeremiah, “Put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes (v. 12).” Then they drew Jeremiah from  the cistern where he spent the rest of his time in the court of the guard, until Jerusalem was taken (v.. 13).

Application

This is an illustration of how foolish I can be if I think that being faithful to the ministry God has given to me will guarantee that I will be delivered from all trials. Here was a man who was faithful to do what God had said, but God allowed him to be put into the cistern.

Jeremiah 38:1-13 (English Standard Version)

Now Shephatiah the son of Mattan, Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah was saying to all the people, "Thus says the LORD: He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out to the Chaldeans shall live. He shall have his life as a prize of war, and live. Thus says the LORD: This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken." Then the officials said to the king, "Let this man be put to death, for he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm." King Zedekiah said, "Behold, he is in your hands, for the king can do nothing against you." So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king's son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. And there was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud. When Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch who was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern--the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate-- Ebed-melech went from the king's house and said to the king, "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." Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, "Take thirty men with you from here, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies." So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe in the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn- out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern by ropes. Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, "Put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes." Jeremiah did so. Then they drew Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.

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