V 7 But Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, an important court official, heard that Jeremiah was in the cistern.
If you read these notes regularly you might just have got the idea that Jeremiah is one of my favourite characters in the Bible! Persecuted by the ruling class in Jerusalem, misunderstood by the religious leaders of his time, here we find him flung down an old well, full of mud, and left to rot. Enter Ebed-Melech, an Ethiopian serving in the highest political circles in Jerusalem, and a man of mercy. To suggest the rescue of an enemy of the state could have been political suicide – but,hey, what did he care, mercy was the order of the day, and he was prepared to take that risk. The King proved amenable, and E-M got a team of 30 people to help with the rescue. He even found a way to make it easier and less painful for Jeremiah. The picture of gentleness and kindness could not be clearer! ‘So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to a room in the palace beneath the treasury, where he found some old rags and discarded clothing. He carried these to the cistern and lowered them to Jeremiah on a rope. Ebed-melech called down to Jeremiah, “Put these rags under your armpits to protect you from the ropes.” Then when Jeremiah was ready, they pulled him out. ‘
Showing mercy and kindness might just come with a price. E-M could have faced all kinds of difficulties with the Temple authorities as a result of what he did, but ignoring possible consequences is an inherent part of showing kindness and mercy.
Jesus paid the ultimate price of mercy when he followed the Father’s will and went to the cross to rescue us. Will you too love mercy and be prepared to act whatever the cost?
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