Jeremiah 36 has some very direct words from God to the prophet. “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”. That’s a tall order – to write down all the words that Jeremiah has spoken to the people during his time as prophet. God has a reason – He is hoping that His people will actually listen if it gets put down on a scroll. “It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the disaster that I intend to do to them, so that everyone may turn from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.”
The message is pretty direct. Jeremiah calls Baruch to be his assistant and do the writing. After some time they got things recorded and Jeremiah sends Baruch to the temple to read. Jeremiah was confined – not imprisoned, but likely banned from the temple area so he sent Baruch to read the written Word of God to the people of Jerusalem at the temple. It wasn’t pretty stuff. As Baruch read, it was obvious that “great is the anger and wrath that the Lord has pronounced against this people”. God was not happy with His people.
Lots of people heard these words that Jeremiah had written. And they weren’t happy about it. So they decide they need to let the king in on what what happening. “We must report all these words to the king.” This was the first time the entirety of what God had to say about the future of His people was written in one place. So the kings asks that the scroll be brought to him and read. “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”. Obviously he wasn’t buying it.
In fact, the king sends some of his goons to “seize Baruch the secretary and Jeremiah the prophet, but the Lord hid them”. That’s what you do when you don’t like what you are hearing – you work to silence the writers and speakers. Not the response God was looking for from Jehoiakim the king of Judah or His people. His intent was for them to be moved to change their wicked ways. Instead they merely want to silence the messenger. So God makes it clear. “I will punish him and his offspring and his servants for their iniquity. I will bring upon them and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem and upon the people of Judah all the disaster that I have pronounced against them, but they would not hear”. Ignoring God doesn’t work. There is a day when the price of sin will be paid. That day is coming soon for Jehoiakim and Judah!