I was reading today how King Jehoiakim cut up and burned a scroll of Jeremiah’s prophecy. It’s really a cozy little picture the Bible paints of the event. King Jehoiakim sat by the warm fire in his winter apartment as his servant Jehudi read him Jeremiah’s prophecies. Every three or four columns that Jehudi read, Jehoiakim would slice off and throw them in the fire (Jeremiah 36).
Very few of us would actually burn the Bible because we didn’t like something in it. True, Thomas Jefferson cut out the parts he didn’t agree with. (You can read about the Jefferson Bible at Wikipedia). But few of us “Christians” would do the same.
Yet, I wonder if we don’t do exactly that when we ignore God’s word to us.
When we refuse to listen to and obey God’s commands it must be just like we cut verses from the Bible and threw them in a fire. After all, it’s not the paper and ink that is sacred. It’s what God said that matters. So, when we rationalize our sin, when we discount the consequences of our actions, when we dismiss the promptings of the Spirit, and when we ignore God’s will for our lives we might as well take a Bible and throw it in fire.
There are at least two things God does in Jeremiah 36 that really catch my attention.
First, God pronounces HUGE consequences for Jehoiakim and the people of Judah because “they have not listened.” How often have I not listened to God. . . and each time I endure consequences. When will I learn???
Second, God has Jeremiah dictate another scroll to Baruch, his secretary. God’s word won’t be destroyed. God’s word is enduring. God wants to give us another chance to hear what he says.
Will we listen this time?