I thought that they were the most hideous people I had ever met.
Reference: v.11 So Ebed-Melech took the men with him and went to a room under the treasury in the palace. He took some old rags and worn-out clothes from there and let them down with ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. (NIV Bible)
Explore: In secondary school everyone tends to walk around in packs. No one wants to be seen alone as people would think that they had no friends. At boarding school, my friends and I would often sit on the edge of the Courtyard where we could watch people come and go. I remember regularly watching a group of guys who acted like they ruled the school. They would often make fun of the younger students, they always pushed in front of people in the canteen line and they felt it was their right – if not their obligation – to make comments about any of the girls that crossed their path. I thought that they were the most hideous people I had ever met. One weekend I found myself arriving early at the dining hall and the only other person who was already there was Archie. He was one of the boys in this hideous group and I almost kept walking, willing to forfeit my meal rather than be in the presence of someone so rude. However, my stomach won over my head and I sat on the steps waiting for the dining hall to be open. To my great surprise Archie acknowledged my presence and said g’day. A few cordial greetings lead to a short conversation and soon enough we were discussing what we had been doing over the weekend. I was truly amazed that a member of this pack of boys would even notice me let alone open themselves up to some dialogue. Soon enough a few other people came to wait at the dining hall door and our conversation was interrupted, but I was intrigued by the whole encounter as I had briefly witnessed the real person behind this pack of boys.
Application: When someone becomes a part of a group they will often do things that they would never do on their own. When Archie was on his own he would never pick on the younger boys or push in front of people or say demeaning things to the girls. In fact, he would often become polite, intelligent and pleasant. However, when he found himself surrounded by other lads he would take on the characteristics of the pack. The ‘packs’ we find ourselves in may not be as hideous as this group of boys, but we may find ourselves changing slightly depending on the people we are around. In Jeremiah chapter 38 we see two different ‘packs’ of men. The first pack takes it upon themselves to throw Jeremiah the prophet in to a cistern where he is left to starve to death. The other pack works together to get Jeremiah out and save his life. The people we surround ourselves with can lead us down a path of destruction or a path of positivity. Either way, it is always our choice as to what we are willing to do and who we associate with. It’s sometimes important to stop, reflect on our lives and ask, ‘Is the ‘pack’ I am associated with making me a better person?’
Prayer: Lord, the people around us can be so influential. Help us to be aware of those who influence us and may we be wise and courageous with the decisions that we make. Amen.
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This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.