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Archive for January 20th, 2019


Jeremiah 38The Miry Cistern

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Written on January 21, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

This chapter describes the place we often find ourselves – up to our knees in mud for speaking truth.  The prophet is delivered from his miry cistern to be kept in the guardhouse, but still he is persecuted.  King Zedekiah asks his advice, and then chooses to not listen to the prophet out of fear.  How does Zedekiah find himself in such a predicament?  What happens to him in the end?

Read article # 3 at http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=73&letter=Z  for some quick details.  It is an unhappy and gruesome story.

Zedekiah relies on his ability to finagle diplomatic alliances with two giant nations which are growing in power just as Judah finds itself in decline.  The Judahite king becomes a vassal first to the Babylonians; later he bargains with the Egyptians.  In the end, he is caught in the pincers of the struggle for supremacy between two super powers.  Zedekiah loses all and is blinded by the conquerors.  His life ends in an unknown prison; his legacy becomes the story of a king who lost a nation because he will not listen to his own prophet.

We have reflected on other occasions about the strangeness of God telling his faithful to save their lives by submitted to the Babylonian princes.

We have also reflected on Jeremiah’s dilemma of knowing that the truth he is asked to speak will bring pain to himself and others.

The lives of these two men are intertwined with the theme of a choice which presents truth as imprisonment and freedom as fear.  What are our dungeons today?  What miry cisterns suck us into their muddy depths?  What unnamed prisons await us?  When we are full of fear, do we – like Zedekiah, – hear the voice of the psalmist and not understand that the words of this twenty seventh psalm speak to us today?

There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long, to live in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life, to savor the sweetness of the Lord, to behold his temple. 

We know that God provides safe harbor in all circumstances.  Even when we find ourselves in greatest danger.  Yet how do we act?

For there he keeps me safe in his tent in the day of evil.  He hides me in the shelter of his tent, on a rock he sets me safe.  O Lord, hear my voice when I call; have mercy and answer.  Of you my heart has spoken: “Seek his face”.

And when the word of the Lord comes to us, do we look past this face to hear different words?  Words that suit our wants rather than our needs?  Words that suit us rather than God?

It is your face, O Lord, that I seek; hide not your face.

We always know when we have heard good counsel . . . because it bears good fruit despite any pain.

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.

And this is the land of the living when we act to make it so.

Hope in him, hold firm and take heart.  Hope in the Lord!

When we find ourselves at the bottom of the miry cistern up to our knees in mud, rather than rely on our own resources, let us long for God, let us seek God, let us be open to his words . . . and when we hear them amid the clamor and din . . . let us believe the message.


A re-post from January 20, 2019.

Image from: http://www.biblesearchers.com/yahshua/davidian/dynasty8.shtml

For more on Jeremiah the Prophet see the page on this blog: Jeremiah – Person and Message

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