From Jeremiah 35-37
Jeremiah writes down the word of the LORD onto a scroll. He then commands his servant Baruch to go out and proclaim it. Its a word of judgment and the king doesn’t like the message. He responds by burning the scroll several columns at a time. How do you respond to the word of God? Turn or burn?
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Jeremiah is commanded by the LORD to write a scroll with all his words of judgment against Israel, Judah and the nations. Jeremiah does this with the help of Baruch his assistant. Once the words of judgment are written down Jeremiah commands Baruch to go out into the city and into the temple of the LORD proclaiming its message. Jeremiah would normally do it himself, but at this time is banned from going into the temple (Jer 36.1-10).
This brings us to today’s passage.
11 When Micaiah the son of Gemariah, son of Shaphan, heard all the words of the LORD from the scroll, 12 he went down to the king’s house, into the secretary’s chamber, and all the officials were sitting there: Elishama the secretary, Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, Elnathan the son of Achbor, Gemariah the son of Shaphan, Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the officials. 13 And Micaiah told them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the scroll in the hearing of the people.
14 Then all the officials sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, son of Shelemiah, son of Cushi, to say to Baruch, “Take in your hand the scroll that you read in the hearing of the people, and come.”
So Baruch the son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and came to them. 15 And they said to him, “Sit down and read it.”
So Baruch read it to them. 16 When they heard all the words, they turned one to another in fear. And they said to Baruch, “We must report all these words to the king.”
17 Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us, please, how did you write all these words? Was it at his dictation?” 18 Baruch answered them, “He dictated all these words to me, while I wrote them with ink on the scroll.” 19 Then the officials said to Baruch, “Go and hide, you and Jeremiah, and let no one know where you are.” (Jer 36.11-19)
The people have not heard these words of judgment before. They are understandably afraid of what will happen to them and seek to know if the prophet Jeremiah wrote it. Jeremiah and Baruch go into hiding.
At this point they tell the king about the scroll and its words of judgment.
20 So they went into the court to the king, having put the scroll in the chamber of Elishama the secretary, and they reported all the words to the king. 21 Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it from the chamber of Elishama the secretary. And Jehudi read it to the king and all the officials who stood beside the king. 22 It was the ninth month, and the king was sitting in the winter house, and there was a fire burning in the fire pot before him. 23 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. 24 Yet neither the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words was afraid, nor did they tear their garments. 25 Even when Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26 And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son and Seraiah the son of Azriel and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel to seize Baruch the secretary and Jeremiah the prophet, but the LORD hid them. (Jer 36.20-26)
The king wants to hear its message, so he sends his servant Jehudi to get it. He displays shocking disrespect for its message by burning it several columns at a time.
How to you treat scripture?
The king and his people refuse to heed the message of the scroll. They were ‘not afraid or tear their garments’ in grief.
The remainder of the passage speaks about the punishment to be inflicted on the people of Israel and Judah for refusing to repent. Jerusalem will be destroyed and the people sent into exile.
In the gospel Jesus also faced strong opposition to the message of scripture.
37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, this form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. … 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (Jn 5.37-47)
In Jeremiah’s time the people were given opportunity to hear God’s word and respond in repentance and faith. But they refused to listen. Instead destroying the message.
Jesus says the scriptures bear witness to him. How will you respond to the message of the bible?
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.