November 4 | Daily Devotion

November 4 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had given these orders about Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard: ‘Take him and look after him; don’t harm him but do for him whatever he asks.’” ~Jeremiah 39:11-12

The king’s officials grow weary of Jeremiah’s preaching yet again. Rather than calling on the people to take up arms against Babylon, the prophet insists upon calling the people to turn from their sins, surrender to God, and give in to the enemy. To shut him up, the officials have Jeremiah tossed in a cistern, a deep well now full of mud. Let him die out of sight and out of mind. However, one of the king’s officials pleads with the king on Jeremiah’s behalf. Ebed-Melech was a Cushite (from Africa), no doubt a respected official who has considerable influence with the king and quite a following in court (he had 30 men with him). His wish is granted.

Not only does the king spare Jeremiah, he also sends for him in secret to get his advice. Jeremiah was respected because he spoke the truth, even when the truth was unpleasant to hear. His message for the king does not change. Jeremiah encourages him to surrender to Babylon and find the mercy of God, but he does not listen. As the city falls, the king flees. He is overtaken and witnesses the murder of his sons before his eyes are put out and he is dragged off to Babylon in shackles. In contrast, Jeremiah’s life is spared by the Babylonians, and he is allowed to remain in Judah, a minister to the small population of people left behind to work the land.

The Lord also rewarded Ebed-Melech for his act of faith in believing Jeremiah’s message and pleading for the prophet’s life. He treated the Lord’s prophet with kindness, even taking care how he lifted him from the muddy cistern so as not to harm him. Faith is believing God’s word and acting upon it. Ebed-Melech trusted in the Lord and so he worked to save Jeremiah’s life (Jer. 39:18). True faith takes action, and faithful action is rewarded by God.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.