Cut and Burned
Jeremiah 36 records how God delivered a rebuke to Judah and their king, Jehoiakim. Jeremiah dictated to Baruch the scribe what he received from God (v.4). Baruch read the message in the Lord’s house (v.8). In the following year, Baruch read the same message to those gathered who were fasting before the Lord (v.10). Eventually, the message made its way to King Jehoiakim, who ordered that the scroll be brought before him (v.20-21). His response to God’s message is recorded in Jeremiah 36:23:
“When Jehudi had read three or four columns [from the scroll], 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 that was in the brazier.”
King Jehoiakim burned the scroll because what God spoke was not what he wanted to hear. God proclaimed that the Babylonian king would come and conquer Judah (v.29). Jehoiakim’s burning of the scroll perfectly represents his stubborn disregard for the authority of God (v.24-25). He thought to void the message by burning the scroll on which it was written. God punished Jehoiakim and his servants for their irreverent behavior (v.30-31), and Jeremiah reproduced the scroll (v.32).
Even today, many dismiss God’s Word when they dislike His message. Some cut or tear out pages of text. Some leave the entirety of the Scriptures to collect dust on a shelf. Some read the Scriptures but continually tell themselves God does not mean what He says. This example in Jeremiah reminds us that God’s word, no matter how it is received, remains unchanged and will be fulfilled. If you have not opened the book in some time, open it today. Read it, and consider the message well because it has proceeded from God.