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Monday, April 20, 2015

Jeremiah 38:7-13   Thought/Prayer:  Royally Practical.  Topics:  2 at end.

“Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon (the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin), Ebedmelech went forth out of the king’s house, and spoke to the king, saying, My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is likely to die in the place where he is, because of the famine; for there is no more bread in the city. Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from here thirty men with you, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he dies. So Ebedmelech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took there rags and worn-out garments, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, Put now these rags and worn-out garments under your armpits under the cords. Jeremiah did so.  So they drew up Jeremiah with the cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.”WEB (Read these scriptures and more at
Some versions say “wardrobe,” and the keeper was Hasrah (2 Chron. 34).  (Dungeon also translated as cistern.)

The prophet Jeremiah had been thrown into a cistern because of his prophesies against Jerusalem and its citizens’ wicked behavior.  There was no water in the cistern, only mud; and Jeremiah sank into it.  And he would have died if it had not been for the Cushite, Ebedmelech, an official in the palace.  He went to the king and pled for Jeremiah to be removed from the cistern.  And the king had Jeremiah pulled up.

There is a little reference in this story that is homey and also reveals the practical aspect of a king’s life:  Jeremiah is rescued using rags from the king’s wardrobe in a storehouse.  Who would think of their being rags and worn-out garments in a king’s closet?  As we say, here in the Bible we have basic “life.”  Even kings’ closet may look just like our messy ones!

Could we take the liberty of bringing this scripture alongside one about the potter and the clay? (Romans 9:21).  “Or has not the potter rightful power over the clay to make out of the same lump one vessel for more honourable and another for less honourable uses?”  (WEY) – or special or common uses.  Of course, kings had the finest of garb – robes, hats, crowns made of the finest materials.  These, of course, as worn for the honorable occasions of kingship – ceremonies, galas, rituals, and just for sitting on a fancy throne.

But in this king’s closet, we find old garments and rags.  Not good for anything?  Well, consider that we do not grab our best shirt from out closet to clean the spills from a toddler’s high chair.  No, we grab a rag or old shirt.  Really, old worn-out clothes and rags have their place.  They accomplish basic stuff that always needs to be done.

So in this king’s closet we find rags and old clothes – put to a very good use, a Godly use.  They are strung together with cords, into a cistern, to rescue the prophet Jeremiah.

How kingly; how practical.

This just shows that in the Bible, God includes the royal and the utilitarian.  In our lives, we live “utilitarian” most of the time.  But more than that, God can take the worn-out seemingly useless stuff in our lives and transform it for His purposes.  Lord, may we help others to see this, when they view their lives as hopelessly old, ragged, and useless.  Help those who are dealing with approaching death, or whether to wait out natural death, to see this as hopeful.  And thank You that You include such little lessons in Your Word.

Topics:  Pray for the ability to see the practical in God’s word and to pass on to others in crises.
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Posted by Gail Richardson on 04/20 at 10:32 AM
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