A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
You Can’t Destroy the Word of God
GODS WORD WRITTEN AND REVEALED MUST BE HEARD SO TO TURN FROM EVIL
Verse 1-3 These events began in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah (605- 604) v 1. God commanded Jeremiah take a scroll and write on it all the words which I have spoken to you concerning Israel and concerning Judah, and concerning all the nations from the day I first spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, even to this day v 2. With the Babylonians in power Judah was one giant step closer to invasion. Why write this down? Perhaps the house of Judah will hear all the calamity which I plan to bring on them, in order that every man will turn from his evil way; then I will forgive their...sin v 3. If the people repented the Lord would forgive them. Forgiveness is still available.
Verse 4-7 Jeremiah called for Baruch his scribe (32:12-16; 36:26) and Baruch wrote at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which He had spoken to him, on a scroll v 4. Jeremiah then instructed Baruch to read the scroll in the Temple because Jeremiah was restricted, or barred, from there, in the presence of the people v 5. He was to do it on a fast day v 6. Before the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., fast days were not specified but were called in times of emergency (36:9; 2 Chronicles 20:3). After the fall of Jerusalem, regular fast days were instituted.
Jeremiah’s purpose was that Perhaps their supplication will come before the Lord, and everyone will turn from his evil way, for great is the anger and the wrath that the Lord has pronounced against this people v 7. Jeremiah hoped that the reading of the scroll would move the people to repent and pray, since the Lord was very angry with His people. Baruch did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading from the book the words of the Lord in the Lord’s house v 8.
Application: Repenting is a xians full time job. Notice in both ‘perhaps’ statements v 3 and 7, the consistent message is that every man will turn from his evil way. Repenting is a change of mind that results in a change of direction. Its agreement with God about violating his character. Even at this late date God longs that His people come around and see things His way. Steadily, they have been diminished. You can’t get ahead by sinning
PT: We also don’t know whether Jeremiah dictated from memory or from notes he had made. We do know that what was written was superintended (controlled and directed) by God Himself (John 14:25). These are the words of God and no one is to add to them or take away from them (Rev 22:18f).
THE WORD OF GOD EXPOSES AND CONVICTS CAUSING CHOICES TO BE MADE
On this particular fast day when all the people came from the cities into Jerusalem and to the Temple v 9, Baruch read from the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the Lord...to all the people v 10. The occasion for the fast may have been the arrival of Babylonian armies on the Philistine plain or the Babylonians' defeat of Ashkelon then. When Micaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan had heard all the words of the Lord from the book v 11. Why all these names? These are men who had supported Jeremiah 26:24. When the priests discovered the scroll of the law in the temple during Josiah's reign, it was Shaphan, Gemariah's father, who had read it to the people. Micaiah went to the officials (including his father Gemariah and the “bad guy” Elnathan see 26:22) and reported Baruch’s words v 12-13. Achbor, the father of Elnathan, had been present at the reading of the law scroll in Josiah's day. The parallels between Josiah's reform and Jeremiah's desire for national revival were included by Baruch deliberately, to remind the people of the earlier event.
They sent for Baruch and asked him to read the scroll to them v 14-15. Jehudi must have been an important person, since the writer mentioned three generations of his ancestors. When they heard the words of the scroll, they became afraid v 16 and asked if these words were at the dictation of Jeremiah v 17. They asked Baruch how he wrote the scroll, and Baruch replied that he had written it as Jeremiah dictated the prophecies to him v 18. They evidently wanted to make sure that Jeremiah was the source of the prophecies, and not Baruch. The officials said, Go, hide yourself, you and Jeremiah, and do not let anyone know where you are v 19. They expected the king to react negatively and violently when he heard the news. Earlier, Jehoiakim had extradited from Egypt and murdered the prophet Uriah, who had also prophesied against Judah and Jerusalem 26:22.
Application: Don’t expect the Word of God to be received kindly by those who are in rebellion to it. Gods Word is not just edifying it is also cutting. The truth not only unites, it divides. The Word nourishes but it also convicts. That’s why people ignore it. Marginalize it. Hate it. Gods Word is alive and as such penetrates the soul and spirit, the bone and marrow.
GODS WORD STANDS NO MATTER HOW A PERSON ATTEMPTS TO DESTROY IT
Baruch’s scroll was placed in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, for sake keeping, and they reported all the words to the king v 20. Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. He read it to the king while the officials watched v 21. The king was in his winter apartment and he had a fire burning in the firepot to provide warmth v 22. The writing was in vertical columns. After Jehudi would read 3 or 4 columns, the king would cut those columns off and burn them in the fire. He did this until the whole scroll was burned up v 23. Jehoiakim's slow, methodical destruction of the scroll made his rejection of its message a much more emphatic gesture than if he had burned the whole thing at once in a fit of rage. Instead of repenting like his godly father Josiah (2 Kings 22:11-13), ...the king and all his servants who heard all these words were not afraid, nor did they rend their garments v 24. No repenting. No guilt. Sheer belligerence. Don’t take peoples response to the word personally. This king's response to hearing the Lord's Word (maybe book of Jeremiah) stands in stark contrast to that of his father Josiah, who tore his clothes in remorse when he heard the law scroll read to him (2 Kings 22:11-20). Josiah had feared and called the people to repentance, but Jehoiakim feared nothing and called for the prophet's arrest. Jehoiakim refused entreaties of good men from burning up the whole scroll. v 25. Instead, the king commanded...to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the Lord hid them, so the king’s men could not find them v 26.
Application: This is an exact picture of our own generation. Men today do not perhaps burn the Bible. But men destroy it in the form of exegesis. They destroy it by not reading it as written in normal literary form, by ignoring historical-grammatical exegesis, by changing the Bible's own perspective of itself as propositional revelation in space and time, in history. Or by community hermeneutics or reader response.
God told Jeremiah to take again another scroll and write on it all the former words that were on the first scroll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah burned v 27-28. This time he was to also include an additional word for Jehoiakim v 29. Because he burned the scroll and refused to believe God’s warning that the king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, God vowed to judge him. He shall have no one to sit on the throne of David v 30. His dead body shall be cast out to the heat of the day and the frost of the night no kingly burial. He who threw the scroll into the fire would be thrown out into the elements. His descendants would also be judged for their wickedness. God would bring on them all the calamity that I have declared to them—but they did not listen v 31. Evident by cold hearted burning of the scroll. Jeremiah obeyed God’s command and took another scroll and gave it to Baruch...the scribe, and he wrote on it at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words…and many similar words were added v 32. This chapter is of special interest because it records the production of one of the books of the Bible.
Application: Man can burn a scroll, but he cannot destroy the Word of God! Peter said, all flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the Word of the Lord abides forever (1 Peter 1:24-25). Where’s Jehoiachim today? Dead and forgotten. Where is the glory of the kings of Judah today? Gone and forgotten. Where’s the Word of God today? its living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
NB: There are three concepts emphasized in this chapter that together express how God communicates his revelation to us. 1. By ‘words’ that communicate Gods revelation in common language v 2. 2. By ‘writing’ of those words so they can be documented, available and reckoned with. 3. By ‘reading’ the words making us accountable for its message v 8. In this way God has communicated his revelation in the same way we communicate to one another. In words, written down, that we are accountable from our parents, teachers, coaches, govt, or friendships. All Scripture is inspired (Gods revelation written down by writers with HS superintending) by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.