Jeremiah 34 -- 36
Four years after the Egyptians conquered Judah and appointed Jehoiakim as its king, Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians, invaded Jerusalem, and appointed Jehoiakim as a servant-king. Although Jehoiakim was only a puppet king, he learned no lessons from his humbled position. Unlike his godly father Josiah, he was a cruel, ruthless ruler.
Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim King of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the House of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar (Daniel 1:1-2). He also brought certain of the children of Israel. . . . among these were . . . Daniel, (and his three friends) Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (1:3,6).
During that time, the Lord spoke to Jeremiah, who, in turn, instructed his secretary Baruch to record the words of God. God told Jeremiah to record His judgment against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, even until this day (Jeremiah 36:2). The desire of God was to lead the nation of Judah to repentance (36:3).
Jeremiah's scroll was read to three audiences and then to the king. First Jeremiah told Baruch: I am shut up (in prison). . . . Therefore go, and read . . . the words of the Lord . . . in the Lord's House upon the fasting day: and also you shall read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities. . . . for great is the anger and the fury that the Lord has pronounced against this people (36:5-7). Nothing is said concerning the reaction of the people except for Michaiah, who met with all the princes and declared to them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the Book in the hearing of the people. . . . So Baruch read it (the third time) in their hearing (36:13,15). The princes (administrative leaders) appeared to be terrified by the prophet's words, and went to inform the king who sent Jehudi to get the scroll (36:21).
All this occurred in the month of Kislev, corresponding with our months of November and December. It was probably cold and rainy because there was a fire on the hearth burning before him (King Jehoiakim) (36:22). And for a fourth time the scroll was read. But Jehudi was rudely interrupted. After Jehudi had read three or four leaves of the scroll, Jehoiakim flew into a rage, snatched it from Jehudi, and he cut the scroll with a penknife (36:23). The Hebrew word translated cut implies that the action was repeated several times. Then Jehoiakim cast it into the fire. That was all he could do, even as a king. To refute the contents of the scroll was beyond his power. Though the roll was burned, the truth that it contained could not be destroyed, nor could it be suppressed. It was not the Book that Jehoiakim rejected, but the God who wrote the Book; and, as a result, Jehoiakim would not have a son to sit on the throne of David (36:30). The paper or the preacher can easily be destroyed, but the truth of the message will stand forever.
Truth is eternal: The Word of the Lord endures for ever (I Peter 1:25). Like Jehoiakim, many today seal their own fate and cut off all hope of eternal life by refusing to read all the truth God considers necessary to prepare us to please Him. History records many Bible burnings; but what is the difference between burning it and not reading the Bible? The fact that God has preserved His Word for us throughout the ages should emphasize its importance. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away (Mark 13:31).
As the One who desires liberty for those in bondage (Jeremiah 34:13-16; compare Isa. 61:1). Jesus said: The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me . . . to preach deliverance to the captives (Luke 4:18-19; compare II Cor. 3:17).
34:3 mouth to mouth means face to face; 34:5 burnings means ceremonies; 35:19 not want means be without.
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II John 1
Memory Verse for the Week:
II Thessalonians 2:11