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JEREMIAH: STAYING UPRIGHT AMIDST EVIL PRESSURES
Part X: Events Just Before Jerusalem's Fall
C. Learning To Respect God's Word Over Great Human Opposition To It
Lesson: (1) Though Jeremiah suffered humanly intimidating imprisonment by king Jehoiakim for giving out God's Word that warned of judgment on sin, and though God's added warning by the scroll from Jeremiah was met with enhanced intimidation responses from the king, (2) GOD led Jeremiah NOT to be intimidated: (a) God caused the scroll's words to frighten the princes, (b) He protected Jeremiah and Baruch from the king's wrath at the reading of the first scroll and (c) He led Jeremiah to pen a SECOND scroll with ADDED words of JUDGMENT in it REGARDLESS of the king's wrath!
- We know from 2 Timothy 3:15-4:2 that God's Word is sufficient for us in all matters of life and service.
- Yet, as we live in a world controlled by Satan (1 John 5:19), we at times face intimidating opposition to our even heeding the Bible's truth, and that can tempt us to falter from doing God's will.
- Jeremiah 36:1-32 reveals God has a direction for us toward overcoming such a challenge (as follows):
- Learning To Respect God's Word Over Great Opposition To It, Jeremiah 36:1-32.
- While Jeremiah suffered humanly intimidating imprisonment by king Jehoiakim for proclaiming God's words of judgment (Jer. 36:5), God told him to write more words in a scroll warning of judgment on sin, 36:1-2. God hoped the reading of these words might lead to a repentance akin to how Judah's past king Josiah had repented when the Law had been initially read to him, Jer. 36:1, 3; 2 Kings 22:1, 10-13.
- Jeremiah obeyed the Lord: though imprisoned, he dictated God's words of additional warning to Baruch and had him go and read the scroll to the people who gathered at the temple for a fast day, Jer. 36:4-10. This fast day was probably ordered out of alarm for the fall of Askelon in Judah to the Babylonians, and was observed in an apparent effort to seek God's help, so the scroll's reading at this time would have had the greatest impact to elicit a repentance, cf. Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978 ed., footnote to Jeremiah 36:9.
- News of the scroll's words spread to the princes in the royal palace that was next to the temple, so the princes in turn directed Baruch to come and read the scroll's words unto them, Jeremiah 36:11-15.
- After Baruch complied with their directive, the princes reacted with fear to the scroll's words, and stated they would tell king Jehoiakim about the scroll's words, 36:16. They also asked Baruch how he had written such frightening words, and he replied he had only written what Jeremiah had dictated, 36:17-18.
- The princes were concerned that Jehoiakim might not like the scroll's words of warning, so they told Baruch and Jeremiah to hide themselves for protection while the scroll was read to the king, Jer. 36:19.
- When the scroll was read to the king, he reacted with an even more ominous response toward Jeremiah:
- King Jehoiakim cut the scroll up piece by piece as it was read and threw its scraps into his winter fire until the entire scroll was eventually destroyed, Jeremiah 36:20-23. The men in the room with the king were not frightened by the scroll's warnings as had been the princes; however, three men -- Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah -- asked the king not to burn the roll, but he ignored their request, Jer. 36:24-25.
- King Jehoiakim then ordered several other men to seize Baruch and Jeremiah in an apparent effort to punish or even to execute them, but God kept Baruch and Jeremiah hidden from them, Jeremiah 36:26.
- After all of this, God ordered Jeremiah to get another scroll and record in it the words that were on the first scroll, and warn of additional severe judgment on Jehoiakim, his seed and his rebellious servants for his additional rebellion against God's warning to him in Jeremiah's first scroll, Jeremiah 36:27-31.
- Jeremiah wrote that second scroll just as God directed, adding many similar words of the warning of divine judgment to what had been penned on the first scroll, Jeremiah 36:32.
Application: Since GOD led Jeremiah NOT to buckle under the humanly intimidating reaction of Jehoiakim to his ministry of GOD'S WORD as that WORD would be fulfilled so that JEHOIAKIM would fall, (1) we must heed God's Word above intimidating opposition to it! (2) Expect God to send us encouraging signals in our lives that He supports us in the FACE of humanly intimidating opposition to holding to His Word; when these signals come, may we take heart to keep heeding God's Word!