Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 34-37
Today’s Reflection: Jeremiah 36:21-24
21) Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it from the chamber of Elishama the secretary. And Jehudi read it to the king and all the officials who stood beside the king. 22) It was the ninth month, and the king was sitting in the winter house, and there was a fire burning in the fire pot before him. 23) As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the fire pot. 24) Yet neither the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words was afraid, nor did they tear their garments.
As Judah remained under siege by Babylon, the prophet Jeremiah received a Word from the Lord. This message warned of God’s judgment against Judah because of their sins—Jerusalem’s eventual destruction by Babylon. Because he was prevented from teaching in the temple himself, Jeremiah dictated God’s message to Baruch and asked him to deliver it. Baruch wrote the message in a scroll and spoke it to those assembled at the house of the Lord. News of Jeremiah’s message made it’s way back to the king and his servants brought the scroll to him. King Jehoiakim listened to the message and bit by bit destroyed the scroll, despite the protests of his advisors.
Jehoiakim thought he could destroy the Word of God with fire. And at times so do we.
As Rob Bell says “truth comforts, but it also confronts”. When we hear God’s truth it forces us to make a choice. We can accept God’s Word and be changed by it. Or we can reject God’s Word, by avoiding it, ignoring it, or disputing it. If we choose to rebel against God’s Word, His proclamations become an inconvenience, a constant reminder that we are living in opposition to the very source of life itself. It is difficult if not impossible for people to live with this kind of dissonance, so in order to enjoy a life of rebellion against God—in order for people to enjoy sin—the truth of God’s Word must be destroyed. Over mankind’s history attempts have been made to destroy God’s word in the fires of science, politics, culture, philosophy, history, post-modernism, enlightenment thinking, war, and even with religion. There’s just one problem. All of these attempts ultimately have failed, and they always will. God’s Word continues to prevail, changing and transforming lives despite all of the opposition raised against it.
This is because God’s Word is a truth—the truth—that cannot be destroyed. And if we attempt to destroy God’s Word, the very attempt will instead destroy us. After Jehoiakim destroyed the scroll, God spoke to Jeremiah again and gave him another message for the King: because he tried to destroy God’s Word, he sealed his own death and ensured that none of his offspring would ever sit on Judah’s throne again (Jeremiah 36:29-31).
CS Lewis said our job as Christians is to learn what God says is true and learn to like it. We cannot debate whether God’s Word is or isn’t true. It just is. The only decision we have to make is whether we will live by the truth of God’s Word or not.
Psalm 119:160 – The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
Isaiah 40:8 – The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.