Jeremiah is Imprisoned (Day 59)

Read Jeremiah 38:1-13
   No wonder Judah was in turmoil: the king agreed with everyone. He listened to Jeremiah; then he agreed Jeremiah should be killed; and finally he rescued Jeremiah. Jeremiah was not popular; his words undermined the morale of the army and the people. Zedekiah couldn’t decide between public opinion and God’s will. What is most influential in your life; what others say and think or what God wants? 
   Officials put Jeremiah in a cistern to die. A cistern was a large hole in the ground lined with rocks to collect rainwater. The bottom would have been dark, damp, and in this case, full of mud. Jeremiah could drown, die of exposure, or starve to death in the cistern. 
Judah’s leaders persecuted Jeremiah repeatedly for faithfully proclaiming God’s messages. For 40 years of faithful ministry, he received no acclaim, no love, no popular following. He was beaten, jailed, threatened, and even forced to leave his homeland. Only the pagan Babylonians showed him any respect. God does not guarantee that His servants will escape persecution, even when they are faithful. But God does promise that He will be with them and will give them strength to endure (2 Corinthians 1). As you minister to others, recognize that your service is for God and not just for human approval. God rewards our faithfulness, but not always during our life time. 
   The Benjamin Gate was one of Jerusalem’s city gates where legal matters were handled. A palace official, Ebed-melech heard of Jeremiah’s plight, he went immediately to deal with the injustice. 
   Ebed-melech feared God more than man. He alone among the palace officials stood up against the murder plot. His obedience could have cost him his life. Because he obeyed, however, he was spared when Jerusalem fell. You can either go along with the crowd or speak up for God. When someone is treated unkindly or unjustly, for example, reach out to that person with God’s love. You may be the only one who does. And, when you are being treated unkindly yourself, be sure to thank God when He sends an Ebed-melech your way. 
   The officials wanted accurate information, but not God’s truth. They wanted to use this information against God, His prophet, and the king. But Jeremiah told the officials only what the king ordered him to say. We must not withhold God’s truth from others, but we should withhold information that will be used to bring evil to God’s people.