The Enduring Word
- Genesis 14:22 (NASB)
- Genesis 41:1 (NASB)
- Exodus 1:1 (NASB)
- Deuteronomy 31:24 (NASB)
- Ezra 1:1 (NASB)
- Ezra 1:2 (NASB)
- Ezra 1:3 (NASB)
- Ezra 1:4 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:1 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:2 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:3 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:4 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:5 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:6 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:7 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:9 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:11 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:12 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:13 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:14 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:15 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:16 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:17 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:23 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:28 (NASB)
- Jeremiah 36:29 (NASB)
- Daniel 2:1 (NASB)
- Daniel 6:1 (NASB)
- Daniel 9:2 (NASB)
- Matthew 2:1 (NASB)
- Luke 1:1 (NASB)
- Luke 1:2 (NASB)
- Luke 1:3 (NASB)
- Luke 1:4 (NASB)
- Luke 16:29 (NASB)
- Acts 1:1 (NASB)
- Acts 26:32 (NASB)
- Philippians 1:13 (NASB)
- Philippians 4:22 (NASB)
- Colossians 4:16 (NASB)
- 1 Timothy 5:18 (NASB)
- 2 Peter 3:16 (NASB)
Jeremiah 36 is a fascinating chapter containing a detailed description of how God s word was recorded, and the explosion of events following someone's attempt to destroy a portion of it. The year is 605 B.C., and it is winter (36:1).
Hot Off The Presses:
"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 ofJosiah, even to this day" (36:2).
I am awed by the fact that God wanted His people and their king to have everything that Jeremiah had spoken, from the very beginning of his prophetic career to that present hour. That is, the twenty years of prophecies about not only Judah, but also Israel and all the surrounding nations. I see the same thrust in other parts of the Bible: God's people, in most cases, did not have to wait decades for God's word to be recorded, rather, they frequently had the most up-to-date information, for example:
• Joshua's generation had in print everything that God had said up to that point in history: Deuteronomy 31:24
• Daniel had access to the book of Jeremiah, a contemporary who lived a thousand miles away: Daniel 9:2
• Theophilus, a Christian in the First Century had a written version of not only the entire life of Christ (Luke 1:1-4), but the history of the early church as well (Acts 1:1).
• The Colossians had not only a letter written to them, but had equal access to the letter written to the Ephesians (Colossians 4:16).
• The gospel of Luke was being circulated far and wide, for Paul quotes from it in writing to Timothy (1 Timothy 5:18).
• Paul's writings were being circulated among the early Christians and were considered to be Scripture (2 Peter 3:16).
What a blessing that those who love God and feed on His every word, needed not to wait centuries between the events in Scripture and an inspired recording of those events.
"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 iniquity and their sin" (36:3).
Even though His people had been in rebellion for years, God was still willing to offer them another chance. It just reminds me that no one ends up eternally separated from God hastily or quickly. God reminded the rich man that his brothers had access to truth (Luke 16:29).
"Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah, and Baruch wrote at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which He had spoken to him, on a scroll"
The Bible is not a book that was put together with carelessness. Jeremiah dictated the message from God to a scribe. Such men were professionals, and taking dictation was a specialized skill. Observe that what was communicated to Jeremiah, then spoken to Baruch and recorded, is indeed called the "word of the Lord" (36:6). Nothing has been lost or added in this process.
This scroll was to be read publicly to the people in the Temple area (36:6). Again, God is hopeful (36:7). Jeremiah cannot go into the Temple area; he says he was restricted (36:5). It could be He was ceremonially unclean for some reason, or that he had been forbidden to enter that area because his messages had been very unpopular. In verse 9 we learn that a fast had been proclaimed, not by the leaders, but by the people. One of the officials hears the reading and quickly wants other officials to hear it (36:11-15). Their reaction is fear and they recognize quickly that the king needs to be informed (36:16-17. Realizing the reaction from the king might be dreadful, they, with wisdom, advise Jeremiah and his scribe to go into hiding.
The King Hears:
Many times in the Bible, even high officials are given the opportunity to hear the word of God:
• The Kings of ancient cities: Genesis 14:22
• Various Pharaohs: Genesis 41-Exodus 1
• Nebuchadnezzar: Daniel 2
• Darius: Daniel 6
• Cyrus: Ezra 1:1-4
• Herod: Matthew 2
• Pilate: John 18-19
• Felix, Festus, King Agrippa: Acts 24-26
• Caesar/His Household: Philippians 1:13; 4:22; Acts 26:32
The same is true today, for it would be very naive to think that in all their life, any given leader had never encountered a Christian or the gospel message.
"And it came about, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, the king cut it with a scribe's knife and threw it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire" (36:23).
The King did not even bother to listen to the whole scroll or even half of it. After only a couple of columns, that was it, he was done, he didn't want to hear any more. It could be that he did not like even the first chapter of Jeremiah.
We often talk about the value of keeping statements in the Bible in the right context and that is important. At the same time, we need to keep people in the right context. That is, this was not this King's first chance to do the right thing. This king was a relative of the great and godly king Josiah (36:1). He had seen the evidence for God's existence every day of his life. He must have known the other Scriptures, and could have observed God's previous track-recorded, that is, whatever God says does, with certainty, happen. He could have seen how sin is always punished and righteousness is always rewarded. He could have remembered what had happened to past kings who rebelled against God. Or, He should have remembered what had happened to the ten Northern Tribes who had departed from God. They were in captivity. So when people say, "I need more evidence to believe or trust in God". Say what? Why would anyone need more? There exists thousands of years of evidence! That certainly is enough for any good and honest heart.
The Indestructible Word:
"Take again another scroll and write on it all the former words that were on the first scroll" (36:28). This king had burned the scroll because he disagreed with the message (36:29). It did not fit his agenda or goals. Yet, what was written therein is exactly what eventually happened. Burning the Scriptures didn't prevent the prophecy or stop it. And, in a very short time the book of Jeremiah was back in circulation. And the lesson for us today? How much more wise the acceptance and appreciation of truth, than the "ostrich head in the sand" response. As someone once accurately put it "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
Lesson Notes from Sunday June 17th, 2012. This lesson was preached at the Beaverton Church of Christ, in Beaverton OR. Please visit our website and Facebook page for videos, class materials, studies, and past lessons!
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