Part of the fun of being young was the secrets I could share with my best friends, knowing that they would never share them with anyone else. I would do the same for them and we could have special times of giggling over things that no one else knew. When my father had his special visitations from heaven, God shared some secrets with him about different events that were going to happen, and God knew that his servant would not share them before God allowed them to be shared. This impressed me so much to know that God could trust my dad that way.
In our reading this week, we see Jeremiah going through some real trials. He is first imprisoned in a dungeon and then put down an empty well. First of all, however, King Zedekiah sent a message to Jeremiah, "Please pray to the Lord God for us."
Jeremiah told the king exactly what the Lord told him to share with him, he did not keep it a secret. He told them that the Egyptian army will not support them in the war against the Babylonians, but were going back home. The Babylonians would leave for now, but in the famous words of Arnold Schwartzenegger, "They'll be back!"
Jeremiah started to leave Jerusalem, but was arrested, beaten and put into a vaulted cell in a dungeon where he remained for a long time. But King Zedekiah sent for him and brought him to the palace, and asked him privately "Is there any word from the Lord?"
Jeremiah told him the truth that he would be delivered into the hands of Babylon. He asked the king not to put him back in prison and the king listened to him and put him in the courtyard of the guard and fed him.
But then Jeremiah had to say what God told him to say again, and this time he told people to leave the city and go to the Babylonians and they would live, otherwise they would die. but again the people wouldn't listen, and put Jeremiah in a cistern. "He's demoralizing the troops by his words from God!" They thought he would die and they wouldn't have to worry about him any more.
My commentary describes the cistern. It had no water sufficient for drinking. Only mire of muddy lime clay. It had a narrow opening and could be entered and exited by ropes. Ebeed-Melech, an Ethiopian whose name means, "servant of the king" got ropes and even padded the ropes to pull Jeremiah out of the cistern.
When Zedekiah asked Jeremiah again to tell him the truth about what would happen, Jeremiah said he knew the king would kill him if he told him the truth, but the King said this would be a secret and he would swear before God that he would not kill Jeremiah.
So Jeremiah told the king again that the king would be spared if he would go to the Babylonians, but again the king was too afraid. But he did spare Jeremiah's life. Jeremiah kept the secret about what he told the king.
I was thinking about secrets and it occured to me that we as Christians should not keep our lives a secret, but this is the best kept secret in the universe for people who do not know Christ. Let's take every opportunity to let out the secret of what God can do to change any life and make us whole.
Shout it out!