Our study of Jeremiah continues, and covers a span of years from the reign of Jehoiakim (the third to the last king of Judah, Jeremiah 36), to the reign of Zedekiah (the last king of Judah, Jeremiah 37). Baruch, who acted as both Jeremiah’s assistant and scribe (Jeremiah 32:12), takes a central role in our Scripture reading.
God’s Inspired Word (36:1-2)
Remembering Jeremiah’s ministry spanned the reigns of five kings of Judah, the setting for events recorded in Jeremiah 36 were during the reign of Jehoiakim.
The LORD came to Jeremiah, and commanded, “Take a roll [scroll] of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations” (36:2). Notice the command was specific: “write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee” (36:2). In that statement, we find a brief definition of the doctrine of the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.
The Bible does not merely contain the Word of God, it is the very words of God, revealed, penned, and preserved by Him. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16, “16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Peter penned the same, stating, “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20-21).
The Purpose and Method for Writing God’s Word (36:3-4)
Ever longsuffering, the LORD declared His desire for “the house of Judah” to hear His words, and know the “evil” [the judgment] that would befall them as a people if they did not repent (36:3). Serving as Jeremiah’s scribe, “Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book” (36:4). As Jeremiah spoke the words the LORD put in his mouth, Baruch inscribed them upon a scroll (36:4).
The Public Reading of God’s Word (36:5-8)
Having penned “all the words” the LORD had spoken to Jeremiah (36:4), the prophet commanded Baruch to take the scroll to the Temple on a day of fasting (36:6) when all Judah would be in attendance. Again. We see the LORD longing for the people to repent of their sins when they hear they had provoked “the anger and the fury” of the LORD (33:7-8).
Baruch, A Faithful, Courageous Servant (36:9-19)
Faithful and obedient, Baruch made his way to the Temple on the day of fasting proclaimed by Jehoiakim (36:9). Standing in the Temple, he read “the words of Jeremiah…at the entry of the new gate of the LORD’s house, in the ears of all the people (36:10).
“When Michaiah the son of the scribe Gemariah” heard the “words of the LORD” read by Baruch (36:11), he went to the king’s palace, and told the officials all that he had heard (36:12-13). After hearing Michaiah’s report, they summoned Baruch to the palace with the scroll in hand (36:14). Deferring to Baruch, they requested he would read the words in the scroll (36:15). Hearing the judgment God had declared for Judah and Jerusalem, “they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth?” (36:17)
When Baruch declared the words penned in the scroll were from Jeremiah (36:18), the officials of Jehoiakim’s palace urged him and Jeremiah to hide, and “let no man know where ye be” (33:19), for the king was an enemy of the prophet.
King Jehoiakim Rejected God’s Word (36:20-26)
The king’s officials determined to convey the message in the scroll to the king; however, they secured the scroll “in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king” (36:20). The king, not content with merely hearing the message of the scroll, demanded it be brought to him, and commanded it be read aloud to him and his court (36:21).
Hearing the declaration of God’s judgment (36:24), the king slashed the leaves of the scroll with a knife, and threw it into a fire “until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth” (36:23). Some had besought the king to “not burn the roll: but he would not hear them” (36:25), and he demanded the arrest of Baruch and Jeremiah, “but the LORD hid them” (36:26).
God’s Word Preserved: The Second Writing (36:27-32)
Jehoiakim despised the words of the LORD, and destroyed the scroll; however, his actions did not silence the warning of God’s imminent judgment (36:27). The LORD then commanded his prophet to direct Baruch to write a second scroll, like the one destroyed by the king (36:28).
Closing thought – Jehoiakim destroyed the scroll bearing the word of the LORD; however, God’s Word would not be voided. He refused to accept the warnings of God’s judgment, and the LORD declared the king, and his household suffer for his sin and rebellion. No son of the king would suceed him on the throne, and when he died his body would be left exposed and unburied (36:30).
Because Jehoiakim rejected the Word of the LORD, the king’s family, servants, and the citizens of Jerusalem and Judah suffered the judgments God “pronounced against them” (36:31).
Isaiah 40:8 – 8The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
Reject God’s Word at your peril.
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith
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