The Scroll Is Burned
JULY 2 - Nº 183 Jeremiah 26; 36; 45
Jeremiah had been prophesying in Judah for 23 years when Jehoiakim became king. Early in Jehoiakim’s reign, God told Jeremiah to go to the Temple and stand in the courtyard. He was to warn the people to repent—or the Temple would be destroyed! This really upset the prophets and priests who worked there. They grabbed Jeremiah and said, “How could you prophesy these things in the name of the Lord? You must die for such blasphemy!” They went to the officials of Judah and demanded that Jeremiah be put to death. Jeremiah repeated his prophecy to the officials and added, “You can still repent and obey God—then maybe He won’t bring this disaster. But if you kill me, God will hold you and this city accountable for my blood.” The officials listened. Then they defended Jeremiah. They told his accusers, “He has the right to speak in the name of the Lord. Set him free.” He was let go, but he was not allowed to return to the Temple.
Sometime later, God told Jeremiah to take a scroll and write down all the prophecies he had been given about the judgment that was coming. Jeremiah sent for Baruch, his scribe, and dictated everything God had told him. When they were finished, Jeremiah said, “Since I am restricted from going to the Temple, I want you to go on a special day when everyone will be making sacrifices. Read the scroll so that everyone can hear you.”
Baruch did exactly what Jeremiah asked him to do. When some of the officials of the king heard about the scroll, they went to Baruch and asked him to read it to them, too. When they heard the prophecies, they were frightened. They said, “The king needs to hear this!” So, they took the scroll from Baruch and warned that he and Jeremiah should hide. They weren’t sure how the king would respond.
It was a cold day when they arrived at the palace with the scroll, and King Jehoiakim was sitting in front of a fire. Each time his servant read a section out loud from the scroll, Jehoiakim would stop him. He would cut off the portion that had just been read and throw it in the fire! A few of his officials urged him not to do this, but he continued until the entire scroll had been burned. Then the king ordered his men to find Jeremiah and his scribe and arrest them. But they could not, because God was protecting them.
God instructed Jeremiah to rewrite the scroll. He told him to add a message to King Jehoiakim: “You burned the scroll because you did not want anyone to know that Babylon will soon destroy Jerusalem. But let me add what is going to happen to you! Your dead body won’t even be buried. It will be thrown out and left to rot in the weather. And none of your descendants will ever sit on the throne.”
Jeremiah continued to tell the people of Judah that Babylon would soon destroy Jerusalem and take them all captive. He prophesied that they would remain in Babylon for 70 years, then God would bring their children back to Judah.
Jeremiah spoke the words and Baruch wrote them down. But the words on that scroll were God’s. And no one—not even a king—could destroy them. (Instead, God’s Word destroyed the king!) There are only two things in this world that are eternal—God’s Word and people. Are you willing to share God’s eternal Word with the people around you?