“So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the king’s son, which was in the court of the prison, and they let Jeremiah down with ropes. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire. So Jeremiah sank in the mire.” (Jeremiah 38:6)
Have you ever spent time in the mire? The first thing to learn about mire is the more struggle the more sink. That leads to the second fact about mire: help is needed to escape. Lastly, mire is not always made of mud – life itself can be the bog. The Psalmist rejoiced: “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.” (40:1-2)
The Lord can certainly reach right down and remove us from any sinking condition, but the norm is He sends human arms and hands and/or words and wisdom to the rescue. As described above, the prophet Jeremiah needed all four. They came from an unlikely source: Ebed-Melech an Ethiopian eunuch in the king’s house. The same king that was responsible for the prophet’s mud bath.
When Ebed-Melech found out about the prophet’s plight he went right to the king and pleaded for Jeremiah’s life. The eunuch’s words and wisdom and perhaps a king’s guilty conscience provoked permission for deliverance. Then with arms and hands “Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, ‘Please put these old clothes and rags under your armpits, under the ropes.’ And Jeremiah did so. So they pulled Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the dungeon.” (Jeremiah 38:12,13)
There are times we are in the mire and need help. Let’s take hold of the extended arm and hand; the words and wisdom sent to the rescue. Other times we are the help for someone else; perhaps even an unlikely source like Ebed-Melech.
Years later as the besieged city of Jerusalem was about to fall to the Babylonians (the prophecy that got Jeremiah thrown into that miry pit), a certain man in the city felt his own life sinking into the mire. God summoned Jeremiah: “Go and speak to Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will bring My words upon this city for adversity and not for good, and they shall be performed in that day before you. But I will deliver you in that day,” says the Lord, “and you shall not be given into the hand of the men whom you are afraid. For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me,” says the Lord.’” (Jeremiah 39:15-18)
Ebed-Melech was lifted out of the mire.