Jeremiah 38:1-13 – Now That’s the Pits!

Read Jeremiah 38:1-13

abandoned cistern made out of brick and rock

The life of the prophet Jeremiah has had some very unpleasant moments. Of course, we are privy to only a portion of what he experienced. But today’s circumstance was certainly the “pits.” I recall using that word regularly to describe all the unpleasant things a teenager might encounter. It’s been decades since I used that little phrase. Certainly, Jeremiah had to be glad that his time in the “pits” didn’t end in death!

This was an interesting interlude of the unfolding drama of Jeremiah’s imprisonment. Jeremiah has had a rough road. Now the king’s officials want him dead because his message hurts the morale of the fighting men and people left behind. Heaven forbid! It’s one thing if morale is being affected by negative talk, but Jeremiah’s prophecies, while not at all “pleasant,” sounded God’s warning and promise of hope for the redeemed.

People didn’t want to hear the doom side of things. They turned off their listening ears before they could hear what the path of redemption would promise. Do we do the same thing and want to discount God’s presence in the Old Testament?

We’ve read in another passage recently how God hid Jeremiah to keep him out of harm’s way. This time it appears God used another resource to rescue Jeremiah. While some of the king’s officials were out to let Jeremiah die a slow death in the cistern, another official, Ebed-melech, helped orchestrate Jeremiah’s release.

I was a little disappointed that Jeremiah didn’t get to go completely free. He was taken instead back to the palace prison. I’m sure Jeremiah was wondering about his own fate. Would he die in that prison? Would the Babylonians take him? He was obviously very in tune with God’s promises for those who surrendered to Babylon.

What does this text say to you? Are you feeling like you’re a bit stuck in a “pit” right now and your faith is wavering? Maybe your “pit” is simply being so busy you can barely breathe at times. Do you ever get to the end of the day and look back wondering if you accomplished anything at all?

God can send a rescue for you in your pit. In fact, he did already. He sent his son, Jesus. We know that our salvation rests in him. Jeremiah didn’t have that same knowledge to rely on. He trusted God and was obedient. God rescued his obedient servant this time.

The psalmist writes of the redeemed in Psalm 107:19, “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.” We simply need to cry out when we need rescue. God is there. He will save you. And, if you don’t need rescue today, that’s great! You will at some point in your life.

Pray for those you encounter today. They could be in their “pit” and be grateful for your prayers.

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray … Lord, you are so good at orchestrating solutions to life’s circumstances that try to get me off course. Thank you for always rescuing me. Forgive me for not always reaching for your hand as soon as I should. Help me be mindful of the people I meet. May they sense your presence through me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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