Wouldn’t it be incredible to have been present when new messages from God were first being read? Can you imagine hearing something revealed by God for the first time? What would our reaction be?
Such an instance happened in the last days of the kingdom of Judah. Jeremiah was receiving messages from God and writing them down. These were then read to the people and even the king.
“So Jeremiah summoned Baruch son of Neriah. Then, Baruch wrote down in a scroll all the Lord’s words that he had told to Jeremiah as they came from his mouth. Then Jeremiah told Baruch, ‘I am no longer allowed to go into the Lord’s temple. So you go there the next time all the people of Judah come in from their towns to fast in the Lord’s temple. Read out loud where all of them can hear you what I told you the Lord said, which you wrote in the scroll. Perhaps then they will ask the Lord for mercy and will all stop doing the evil things they have been doing. For the Lord has threatened to bring great anger and wrath against these people.’” (Jeremiah 36:4-7 NET)
Baruch did as Jeremiah instructed him and read from the scroll to the people in the temple in Jerusalem. Micaiah was one who heard Baruch reading God’s word. He went and found the king’s officials to tell them what he had heard. They sent Jehudi to get Baruch to come and read the scroll to them. When they heard the message they were alarmed. They realised that the king needed to hear this. Perhaps they thought that he would change and avert the disaster that was coming.
After telling Baruch that he and Jeremiah needed to hide, they took the scroll to the king. Jehudi then read the scroll to the king and his officials. It was winter and there was a fire burning in the room.
As Jehudi read the scroll the king cut off what he had read and then threw the pieces into the fire. This continued until the entire scroll had been burned. Unlike those who heard the message earlier, they weren’t alarmed by it. It seems that they thought by getting rid of God’s word that it wouldn’t affect them.
And isn’t that how so many people are today? Many around us seem to think that if they ignore God’s word and if they just don’t believe in God that it won’t affect them. That is exactly what King Jehoiakim and his officials thought. They learned, though, that it really didn’t matter whether they believed God’s message or not. It still happened.
Not believing in God or his word doesn’t make it go away. God’s word still calls us to change our lives and obey him. If we don’t listen eternity will still come and we won’t be ready.
Even though the king destroyed God’s word he couldn’t silence it. God gave the message again to Jeremiah and he once again wrote it down – with further similar messages from God (see Jeremiah 36:27-32). Destroying God’s word didn’t make it go away.
Many today continue to ignore God’s word, but this won’t make it less effective or make it disappear. God’s word will continue until it has been fulfilled through the coming of Jesus to bring this life to its conclusion.
We need to be ready for that day and tell others so that they, too, can be ready. Obeying God gives us an eternity better than anything we can imagine. Ignoring God will bring an eternity worse than anything we can imagine. It is up to us to decide to obey or ignore God’s word.
Readings for next week: Jeremiah 33-40; 2 Chronicles 36