Daily Scripture and Prayer: Jeremiah 38
Ebed-melek the Ethiopian heard that they had thrown Jeremiah into the cistern.
He went to the king and said, “These men are committing a great crime in what they’re doing, throwing Jeremiah the prophet into the cistern and leaving him there to starve. He’s as good as dead. There isn’t a scrap of bread left in the city.”
So the king ordered Ebed-melek the Ethiopian, “Get three men and pull Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.”
Ebed-melek got three men and got some scraps of old clothing, which they tied together and lowered down with ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern.
He called down to Jeremiah, “Put these scraps of old clothing under your armpits and around the ropes.” Jeremiah did what he said.
And so they pulled Jeremiah up out of the cistern by the ropes.
Jeremiah’s friends got tired of hearing him talk.
They got so sick of it, they chucked him into a well.
But Jeremiah was blessed.
He had a friend–a foreigner on a work visa, named Ebed.
He was not just a foreigner–he was Ethiopian–a black man who knew what was right when the moral compass of others had gone awry.
When Jeremiah disappeared, Ebed went looking for him.
He got others to help lift Jeremiah up.
But he realized that when someone is stuck in the mud, efforts to lift them up can do more harm than good.
We may not be in a well, but lots of us are stuck in the mire these days.
When you’re depressed it feels like you have disappeared from view.
You’re MIA, and people don’t even realize.
And their efforts to life you up can do more harm than good.
“Cheer up! Let’s see a smile! What do you have to be sad about? Have a nice day!”
Ebed realized he needed to lift Jeremiah out of the mire, but he needed to do it gently.
He sent down padding to lift him without inflicting damage.
Take time to look for your friends who have fallen from view.
They need someone to lift them up.
But they need more than that.
They need a friend who will lift gently, and cushion the ropes.
Today, pray for those who are stuck in the mire.
Pray that God will given them a friend like Ebed.
Pray that the strangers in our midst will speak for what is right, even when the crowd is too angry to listen.
Pray that God will send you.
Lord, lift me up, and let me stand
By faith on Canaan’s tableland;
A higher plane than I have found,
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.