Saturday, March 11
In between the battle, the fall of a city, and betrayal I think I managed to find something slightly more positive within these stories to make into a life applicable lesson! A little rose among the thorns if you will…
If you read carefully, these chapters in Jeremiah actually speak a lot on friendship.
In chapter 38, we see a man named Ebed-Melek who managed to convince a king to let him save Jeremiah. This didn’t seem like a big deal to me until I did a little more research on who Ebed-Melek was. From the text we know that he was a Cushite and an official (or eunuch, according to the notes in my Bible) in the royal palace. I really didn’t understand what the significance of this meant at first. I won’t take up most of the devotional explaining* but from the information I read, Ebed-Melek was not high up on the chain of command AT ALL. Why does this matter? Because he went to see the king…someone with as little “importance” as himself went up to the highest ruler in his city to ask to save Jeremiah. And he did! “Ebed-Melek the Cushite said to Jeremiah, “Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms to pad the ropes.” And Jeremiah did so, and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern…” (Jeremiah 38:12-13)
Because of this, God promised that Ebed-Melek would be saved from the destruction of the city. “But I will rescue you on that day, declares the LORD; you will not be given into the hands of those you fear. I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 39:17-18)
In chapters 40 and 41 we see how Johanan tried desperately to be a good friend to Gedaliah. He warned Gedaliah about Ishmael’s plan to kill him, and even offered to “take care” of the problem. “But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, ‘Don’t do such a thing! What you are saying about Ishmael is not true.'” (Jeremiah 40:16) Have you ever disregarded a friend’s advice because it wasn’t what you wanted to hear? Unfortunately for Gedaliah, this ended up costing him his life. He trusted Ishmael, he invited him to eat with him on the same day that Ishmael struck him down. Even after Gedaliah was assassinated, Johanan was still loyal to him and went out to do what he could to save the rest of the people.
Just in these four chapters we see two amazing stories of friends. The people we spend our daily lives with, our friends, make a huge impact in our lives. When you look around at your friends, do you see people like Ebed-Melek and Johanan who are willing to take risks and will stay by your side no matter what? Or do you see people like Ishmael who you want to trust but may not be the best to have around? If you see some Ishmael’s… do you need to make a change before it’s too late for you?
“Friends are the roses of life, pick them carefully to avoid the thorns!” -Unknown
*You should do your own research, it makes the whole story a lot more impressive if you ask me!
(Photo Credit: http://www.alittleperspective.com/jeremiah-39-and-52/)