Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Eliminating Unpopular Parts Doesn’t Change God’s Word

Jeremiah 36:1-31

And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.  It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.” (Jeremiah 36:1-3)

Four years after the Egyptians made Jehoiakim king, God told Jeremiah to take a scroll and write out the prophecies god had given against Israel, Judah and the other nations.  The written word sometimes gets attention that spoken things do not.   It twould give them another chance to repent.

“Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book.  And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD: Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD'S house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities.  It may be they will present their supplication before the LORD, and will return every one from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the LORD hath pronounced against this people.  And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the LORD in the LORD'S house.” (Jeremiah 36:4-8)

Jeremiah had been imprisoned so he called for Baruch to come and write down all the prophecies God had given him.  Because he was in Prison. Jeremiah would not be able to go, so he instructed Baruch to write down what eh he said, and when the next time of fasting came and everyone was gathered at the Temple, he should read the book to the, in hopes they would listen and heed the prophecies.  Baruch did as jeremiah instructed, reading the book in the temple. 

“And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month, that they proclaimed a fast before the LORD to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem.” (Jeremiah 36:9)

About a year later, under the threat of invasion by the Babylonians, the priests and king called for a fast in hopes of gaining God’s help in driving the Babylonians away, much like the days of prayer today.  People flocked to Jerusalem and the temple to participate. 
“Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the LORD'S house, in the ears of all the people.

When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of the LORD,  Then he went down into the king's house, into the scribe's chamber: and, lo, all the princes sat there, even Elishama the scribe, and Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan the son of Achbor, and Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the princes.  Then Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people. ” (Jeremiah 36:10-13)

Baruch again read all the words of the prophecy to the people during the fast.   One of the leaders, Michaiah heard Baruch read the prophecy and went to the palace to the scribe or recorders office, meeting with several officials.  Michaiah reported what Baruch had read to the crowd.   

“Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, unto Baruch, saying, Take in thine hand the roll wherein thou hast read in the ears of the people, and come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the roll in his hand, and came unto them.  And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears.

Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words.  And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth?

Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.

Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be.” (Jeremiah 36:14-19)

After hearing Michaiah’s report the officials asked that Baruch be brought and read the entire book to them.  When they had heard the entire message, the leaders were troubled and asked how Baruch came to have the book, because they knew Jeremiah was a prophet of God.   He explained that Jeremiah had dictated what to write.   Knowing Jehoiakim’s attitude, they recommended Baruch get jeremiah out of prison and they both go into hiding, letting no one know where they were. 
“And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king.  So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe's chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king.

Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.  And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.  Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words.” (Jeremiah 36:20-24)

The officials then hid the scroll and went to the king to tell him about what the prophecy said.  Jehoiakim demanded to hear it for himself, so they had it brought.  After hearing about four pages, he took his knife they used for shaping the end of their pens and started cutting the scroll up and throwing it into the fire, burning the entire thing.  Neither Jehoiakim nor his advisors took the prophecies seriously. 

“Nevertheless Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll: but he would not hear them.  But the king commanded Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet: but the LORD hid them.” (Jeremiah 36:25-26)

Three of the ones who had been concerned remonstrated with the king trying to get him to reconsider but he refused.  As they had expected, he gave orders for Jeremiah and Baruch to be arrested.  God hid them and they were not found. 

“Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying,  Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned.  And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast?  Therefore thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.  And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not.” (Jeremiah 36:27-31)

God directed Jeremiah to rewrite the scroll and send a message to Jehoiakim that cutting up and burning the scroll would not change the prophecy.  His anger that Jeremiah had prophesied that Jerusalem would be defeated and destroyed would not prevent it from happening.  Because jehoiakim dismissed god’s prophecy without a thought, the day would come when there would not be a member of his family to sit on the throne.  His body would be thrown out without burial, and all the people would see the fulfillment of those prophecies warning them to stop that they had ignored.   

Today there are a lot of efforts to rewrite or destroy parts of the scriptures that teach things that are not popular.  For example, a lawsuit has been filed against two Bible publishers for publishing bibles that say homosexuality is wrong.   Closing down the publishers or churches will not change God’s opinion, or the end results.  

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