Read 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 his servant-king. Although Jehoiakim was only a puppet king, he did not learn the lessons of his humbled position. Unlike his godly father Josiah, he was a ruthless ruler.
Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came to 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, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (1:3,6).
During that time, the desire of God was to lead the nation of Judah to repentance so that they could be restored to fellowship with Him. Jeremiah instructed his secretary Baruch to record the judgment of God against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke to you . . . until this day (Jeremiah 36:2).
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 in their hearing (36:13,15). The princes (administrative leaders) were 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 (November/December). It was probably cold and rainy because there was a fire on the hearth burning before him (King Jehoiakim) (36:22). After Jehudi had read three or four leaves of the scroll, Jehoiakim flew into a rage, snatched it from Jehudi, cut the scroll with a penknife, and cast it into the fire (36:23). That was all he could do. Even as a king, it was beyond his power to destroy the truth that the scroll contained. It was not the Book that Jehoiakim had rejected, but the God who wrote the Book. The paper or the preacher can easily be destroyed, but the Word of the Lord endures for ever (I Peter 1:25).
Like Jehoiakim, some today seal their fate and cut off all hope of eternal life by refusing to read the truth God considers necessary to lead them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. History records many Bible burnings; but what is the difference between burning it or not reading it with a desire to please the Lord. The fact that God has preserved His Word throughout the ages should emphasize its importance. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away (Mark 13:31).
Christ Revealed: 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).
Word Studies: 34:3 mouth to mouth means face to face; 34:5 burnings means ceremonies; 35:19 not want means be without.
Government Officials: Sen. Max Cleland (GA), Rep. William Coyne (PA), Rep. John Culberson (TX), Gov. Kenny Guinn (NV), Gov. Bob Holden (MO), and Gov. Mike Huckabee (AR) · BPM Staff: Barbara Ann Bivens · Pray for Pastor U Htwe Minn, Myanmar translator · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in honor of Jonathan Norman Reece · Country: Trinidad and Tobago (1 million) two islands seven miles off the coast of Venezuela · Major languages: English and Hindi · Religious freedom · 34% Protestant; 29% Roman Catholic; 25% Hindu; 7% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: During times of trouble, pray constantly and ask for patience (Romans 12:12).
Optional Reading: II John 1
Memory Verse for the Week: John 5:24