A few years ago when I still lived in Cloverdale, CA, I received a call one rainy night that the daughter of one of our church members was in the ER. It was about 20 minutes away and I arrived there in the pouring rain. I discovered she had already came and went. Leaving the parking lot of the hospital I went over a low curb and got the tires of my Nissan stuck in a ditch. For about 45 minutes I tried everything to get myself free. I was soaked and tired and thinking that the old adage was true: “No good deed goes unpunished.”
In today’s passage Jeremiah may have thought the same thing. Falsely accused of dissertion to Babylon, his enemies finally get the okay from the king to finish him off. They throw him in a well… and though there was no water in it… his feet sink deep into the mud. Not a high point in his prophetic career! I think we have all been there a time or two.
If it were not for a friend, Ebed-melech, Jeremiah would have perished in that pit. But Ebed-melech petitioned the king and then organized a rescue operation. He went so far as to provide rags so that Jeremiah’s arm would not receive robe burns as he was lifted out. Ever have a friend lift you out of a pit?
Two insights today: 1) Just because you are doing God’s will doesn’t mean you won’t get stuck in the mud occasionally. 2) Sometimes God allows people to grow spiritually by helping you out of your mud. This requires humility and patience.
Now listen to the words God had for King Zedekiah:
“‘They misled you and overcame you— those trusted friends of yours. Your feet are sunk in the mud; your friends have deserted you.’ ” Only when one is without friends is one truly stuck.
As for me, I finally swallowed my pride that rainy night and call a good friend, Bob Arthur. He arrived with a tow rope and within an hour I was back home and dry. Praise God for friends. Any friend you need to call and thank today?