Jeremiah 37:16–17: “When Jeremiah entered the dungeon and the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days, then Zedekiah the king sent and took him out. The king asked him secretly in his house, and said, “Is there any word from the LORD?” And Jeremiah said, “There is.” Then he said, “You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon!”January 31st, 2015 by Pastor Ed in devotional
Translators disagree on the interpretation of dungeon and cells here, as they are unusual Hebrew words to refer to a prison. They are probably describing a large, underground, muddy-water cistern that was converted into a jail by simply pulling the ladder out of the opening. It was such a vile place that we find the prophet, in verse 20, literally fearing for his life if he is returned there. Many men and women of God down through the ages have found themselves imprisoned for nothing more than their faithfulness to serve God. Jeremiah was in jail for faithfully delivering God’s message to the king and the people of Judah. Joseph and David were incarcerated for trying to be obedient to God’s call on their lives. In the New Testament, Paul and Silas were thrown in jail for preaching the gospel.
But as God so often does, He used for good what others meant for evil (Gen. 50:20). These prisons served a different purpose in the lives of God’s people than what they were originally intended for. Jeremiah, when finally rescued and brought before the king, used it as an opportunity to faithfully bring him the word of God once more. Joseph was able to save his people from famine because of his place in Pharaoh’s court. And Paul and Silas found that their prison doors were supernaturally opened not simply to let them out, but to let the jailer and his family in—to the Kingdom of God (Acts 16:16–33).
The determination to continue to faithfully serve God in the face of difficulties is repeated throughout God’s word. An unknown believer authored these powerful words on the subject years ago:
It costs to be faithful. It cost Abraham the yielding up of his only son. It cost Esther the risk of her life. It cost Daniel being cast into the den of lions. It cost Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being put in a fiery furnace. It cost Stephen death by stoning. It cost Peter a martyr’s death. It cost Paul his life. Should we be surprised that it costs us something to be faithful to our Lord and King?
“LORD, please give us more grace today so that at the end of this day, we might be found to have been faithful to serve You.”