Daily Devotional

Jeremiah: Stuck in the Mud

by Simon Whitton

4 Then the officials said to the king, "This man should be put to death. He is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, as well as all the people, by the things he is saying to them. This man is not seeking the good of these people but their ruin."
5 "He is in your hands," King Zedekiah answered. "The king can do nothing to oppose you."
6 So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king's son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.

Jeremiah 38:4-6 (NIV)

Jeremiah was set apart and appointed by God as a prophet. God's hand and anointing were on his life.  This didn't result in a trouble-free life of prosperity but a life of adversity.

Biblical law required cisterns to have stone or wood covers,[1] which would have isolated Jeremiah in the dark.  Cut off from the world and sunk into the mud, he was powerless to help himself and in great peril.  This must have been one of the low points of his life; and he may have felt like God had abandoned him.

But Jeremiah was not cut off from God.  There is always a glimmer of hope. Perhaps Jeremiah would peer upwards at a glint of light coming through the cover, reminding him of the immense and sustaining power of the sun just beyond his view.

God is the sustaining power in the universe, and He permitted this situation just as He permitted Job's trials.  Jeremiah's enemies had to get permission from the King; and by seeking out the King, Jeremiah's situation would again be changed.

7 But Ebed-Melech, a Cushite, an official in the royal palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. While the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate,
8 Ebed-Melech went out of the palace and said to him,
9 "My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all they have done to Jeremiah the prophet. They have thrown him into a cistern, where he will starve to death when there is no longer any bread in the city."
10 Then the king commanded Ebed-Melech the Cushite, "Take thirty men from here with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies."
11 So Ebed-Melech took the men with him and went to a room under the treasury in the palace. He took some old rags and worn-out clothes from there and let them down with ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern.
12 Ebed-Melech the Cushite said to Jeremiah, "Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms to pad the ropes." Jeremiah did so,
13 and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern.

Jeremiah 38:7-13a (NIV)

Ebed-Melech understood that we have a God-given responsibility to help those in trouble, and he went about it with kindness and compassion.

Perhaps you're in trouble.  You may feel like a prisoner in your situation, or maybe you're even stuck in sin.  Don't despair, look up to God.  Even if you see only a glimmer of Him, trust in the Lord who has all authority.

Spend some time in prayer and cry out to God.  If you're aware of someone 'stuck in the mud', intercede for them, go to the King and request they be lifted out.

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust

Psalms 40:1-2, 4a (NIV)

[1] Exodus 21:33

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