“So Ebedmelech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took thence old cast clouts and old rotten rags, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah” (Jeremiah 38:11).
While many people flood the shopping malls looking for fancy new clothes, probably no one went searching for old rags to wear to church last Sunday. Some bargain hunters will pay a dollar or even less when they find a piece of good used clothing, but you never give even a cent for shredded clothes or discarded rags. Yet maybe we misunderstand the value of rags.
Ebed-Melech, a court official, found out that conspirators had thrown the prophet Jeremiah into a slime pit. Fearing for the man’s life, Ebed went to the basement under the king’s treasury. He dug his way past cobwebs and old newspapers into the room where all the unimportant things were kept. He burrowed around until he found discarded clothing that even Goodwill couldn’t use. He carried this pile along with some old rags and threw them down to Jeremiah: Sending down rescue ropes, Ebed told Jeremiah to stuff these rags into his armpits and then put the rope loops under each arm (38:12-13). The softness of the useless clothing and forgotten rags prevented the harsh ropes from cutting into Jeremiah’s arm.
No one is useless to God. The world might say you are a worthless outcast, but God uses what the world discards. Feel like just an old rag? God can use you to lift someone out of the pits. Think you are too torn and misshapen to be useful again? The Lord Jesus has a special place you will fit perfectly.
When Jesus came into the world, His mother wrapped him in rags. Our Lord got a comfortable entrance because of something thought worthless and discarded. God needs old rags like you and me.
When Jesus left this world, they wrapped His body in old rags. When Peter and John arrived at the tomb, the first witness they saw to Jesus’ resurrection was these empty strips of ripped-up cloth. No matter your stains and tears, you can witness to the new life. Regardless of your past, you can bring Jesus to someone.