Jeremiah 37:2 “Neither he nor the officials who served him nor the people of Judah paid any attention to what the LORD said through the prophet Jeremiah. 16 So Jeremiah was put in prison in a cell in the dungeon in Jonathan’s house. He was kept there a long time.
Jeremiah 38:6 “So the officials took Jeremiah and put him in the cistern . . . there was no water in the cistern, only mud. So when they lowered Jeremiah into the cistern with ropes he sank into the mud.
Jeremiah 38:9 “Your Royal Majesty, those men have been very wicked in all they have done to the prophet Jeremiah. They have thrown him into a cistern and he is sure to die of starvation there because there is no food left in the city.
Jeremiah 39:12 “Find Jeremiah and look out for him.”
Jeremiah 40:4 “But now, Jeremiah, today I will set you free from the chains on your wrists. If you would like to come to Babylon with me, come along and I will take care of you . . . go wherever you choose. 5 Then the captain of the guard gave Jeremiah some food and a present and let him go.”
Life has many twists and turns, most of them unforeseen. In the middle of chaos, we can begin to wonder if God is aware, but once we are on the other side of turmoil, the treasure gained from the ordeal far surpasses any temporary hardship. Of course if the trial is severe, one shudders at the thought of having to journey that path ever again. The doubt of God’s enablement prior to hardship, though, has been changed forever in the presence of a Sovereign God Who was truly sufficient to meet our every need.
The story of an individual who was noticed, rescued and provided for by the King evokes respect and a sense of awe. But when one contemplates what came before the honor, I wonder if anyone would want to go through all they have to in order to receive the blessing on the other side. We cannot see in the future, though, which is where faith comes in.
Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet, and after reading once again from the book of Jeremiah, I can surely understand why. Imagine hearing from God and being His mouthpiece, only to be rejected for your obedience and thrust into imprisonment continually and a deep pit of mud. Was that a part of God’s plan? He allowed it in – but why? How could He receive glory for the torture of His chosen servant?
We have seen this before by those chosen to serve God. Joseph saw a vision and ended up being sold into slavery – God kept him from being murdered and eventually elevated him to second in command of the land. Wow. Even though we delight in the end of the story, we often do not understand the middle of the story, but God does. I love how the Lord ensures that someone was looking out for Jeremiah. Imagine getting the mud cleaned off and then going before the king and the Captain of the Guard, who gives you a present and more importantly, your freedom. Israel was under siege and all the Israelites were being captured or murdered. But Jeremiah was set free.
God knows our suffering and all of the inner workings of our lives have a very specific end which He already knows completely. When we read all of the accounts of faithful followers of God and see how God always kept His covenant promises, we should never be given to doubt. But life’s pain creates a raw sense of reality that causes us in our flesh to wonder if we have been a fool to trust in the One who would permit such atrocities.
Just like the individual who was late on 9/11 and whose life was spared, I have to wonder if Jeremiah’s life was spared as he sat in the mud and wondered. Israel was under attack – Jeremiah had foretold it and even told the king how he could avoid Babylon’s punishment. It might have seemed like God was not in control when His servant was dying in mud. Not so. Not exactly a glorious picture of how one would want to die, though, and I am sure fear gripped his heart. Kind of reminds me of a story I heard of someone who suffered a humiliating death when they were hit by a potato chip truck. Tragic. We don’t want to see such an end for a man of God. Not suffocating in mud. Not Jeremiah.
Are you in the mud of life right now? Feeling forgotten and beginning to wonder if your Deliverer will ever come? He hears. He sees. He is weaving something beautiful out of that pain. He promises.
Lord, when we do not understand, help us to place our faith in you. In our fragile humanity, help us to rise above our circumstances and abide in You.