Today’s readings.. (1 Kings 12), (Jeremiah 38), (Mark 12)
    Jeremiah’s tests of faith now reached new heights, but God had prepared him for this – just as he did with Abraham, for we recall his increasing tests of faith.  The king’s officials had pressured the king, they said to him, “Let this man be put to death, for he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city.” [38 v.4] And the king said, “Behold he is in your hands, for the king can do nothing against you.” [v.5]  Sounds rather similar to the power of the people today, Govts do what the masses want.
    “So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern … letting Jeremiah down by ropes.  And there was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.” [v.6] Help came from an unexpected quarter and undoubtedly it was the LORD’S doing.  The Almighty had indicated to Jeremiah that he would be preserved when he caused him to buy the “field that is at Anathoth” [32 v.7] so he knew there was a future for him. At that time Jeremiah prayed, “O great and mighty God, whose name is the LORD of hosts, great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of men, rewarding each according to his ways …” [v.18,19]
    The unexpected source of help for Jeremiah, was an Ethiopian!  Ebed-melech by name, he “said to the king, these men have done evil in all they did to Jeremiah …” [38 v.8] and as a result he “took …old rags and worn out clothes which he let down to the cistern by ropes” [v.11] and with the help of 3 others Ebed-melech pulled him out, possibly at some personal risk.  The chapter ends by telling us ‘Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken.”    These events compare with the parable we read today in Mark 12 about the tenants in the vineyard and how they mistreated the owner’s servants.  For example, “they struck one on the head …some they beat and some they killed” [v.4,5]. We wonder if some remembered the life of Jeremiah as Jesus told this Parable. So “what will the owner of the vineyard do?” [v.9]  We know the answers!  After that he “will give the vineyard to others.” [v.9]  May we be among the others; let us daily seek his “counsel” and appreciate his grace and blessings.