Convictions Can Be Costly

MEMORY VERSE: “They shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.” —Jeremiah 1:19

JEREMIAH 38:2-13

IT WAS inevitable that Jeremiah and the leaders of the Israelites who were endeavoring to hold Jerusalem against the invading hordes of the Chaldeans, or Babylonians, must eventually come to grips, for Jeremiah was following the word of the Lord and informing the people that in order to save their lives they must abandon the city and submit to being taken captive into Babylon. The Lord had said, “This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it.”

The “princes,” or leaders of Israel, appealed to King Zedekiah to permit them to put Jeremiah to death. Their claim was that Jeremiah’s message weakened the morale of the people, hence their will to resist. Under the circumstances Zedekiah could do nothing against these princes. He said, “Behold, he is in your hand: for the king is not he that can do anything against you.”

Then they took Jeremiah and “cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison.” The Revised Standard Version gives the word “cistern” instead of “dungeon.” It is believed that this cistern was used to collect rain water, but at the time of this incident it was empty except for the mud in the bottom into which Jeremiah sank when he was cast into it.

Had nothing been done, Jeremiah would doubtless have perished in this cistern. But there was a eunuch, apparently highly placed in the king’s house, who reported to the king what had happened. Then the king commanded the eunuch to take thirty men to help him get Jeremiah out of the cistern. Rags were put under his arms so that the rope used to lift him out would not injure him. Obviously, thirty men were not needed to hoist the prophet out of the cistern, but apparently the king was providing this extra help in case the eunuch encountered opposition from the princes.

Our memory verse reminds us of God’s ability to care for his people. The Lord knew that Jeremiah would encounter opposition from the leaders of Israel as he continued to prophesy against them, and to advise the people to take a course which they did not approve. But he assured the prophet that his enemies would not prevail against him, “for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.” Jeremiah was delivered from the cistern, and remained in the court of the prison, where apparently he had protection.

God loved all his ancient people, even as he loves his people of today, but he did not always deliver them from their persecutors, permitting many of them to be slain. The New Testament calls our attention to this fact in the 11th chapter of Hebrews, verses 33.40. In this chapter Paul gives us brief accounts of many of God’s ancient servants, prophets and others, naming many of them. But in the verses cited he does not give names, but simply explains how God dealt with his ancient people. We quote:

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” In this grouping we note that the Lord gave them deliverance from their enemies, and the mastery over them. But then Paul continues:

“Others had trials of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented … and these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” The important deliverance for all God’s ancient people will be in the resurrection.


What will be the important deliverance of all God’s ancient people?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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