Archive for October 7th, 2013

Jeremiah 36

Jeremiah 36 has our prophet waking up to a different kind of instruction this day – God wants him to write down and record everything that He has told the prophet from the past.  Can you imagine that request?  “Take a scroll and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel and Judah and all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah until today”.  Not a summary, not just some of the key things, but God asks Jeremiah to write down all the words that He has spoken.  That is a tall order indeed.

The first question would be why, so God answers that up front.  “It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the disaster that I intend to do to them, so that every one may turn from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin”.  God’s Word is given to help us understand the past, and God’s very nature.  History is our best teacher in many ways.  It shows us the consistency of who God is and how He does things.  It demonstrates the reality of what is to come if we don’t live in obedience.  “It may be that their plea for mercy will come before the Lord, and that every one will turn from his evil way, for great is the anger and wrath that the Lord has pronounced against this people”.  God is hopeful this scroll will lead the people to repent and turn from their wicked ways.

So Jeremiah sends Baruch, who was the scribe who wrote his words, to the house of the Lord to read them in hopes that people would respond.  And the initial response seemed positive: “all the people who came from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem proclaimed a fast before the Lord”.  He got their attention and they were impacted.  But of course, the people don’t really set their own course and the scroll had to go to the leadership and the king for his response.  “As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the fire pot….neither the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words was afraid”.

So while the common people understood the reality of their future, the king wasn’t buying in at all.  He was, after all, the king.  And so he listened and then burned the words.  And then sent his thugs to go find Jeremiah and Baruch so they could be punished for writing it.  They had left earlier and gone into hiding, so we not to be found anywhere.  And while there, God came to Jeremiah again and told him “take another scroll and write on it all the former words that were in the first scroll”.  His life is in danger from the first time he wrote things down, and now God wants him to do it all over again. I can only imagine his excitement.  But you know what he did?  “Jeremiah took another scroll….Baruch….wrote on it all the dictation of Jeremiah”.  Obedience – it is what God demands.  Jeremiah shows us how even in the face of punishment from the leaders of the day.

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