Book Burning

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 36:1-26

TO CHEW ON: "The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes." Jeremiah 36:24

“I’m sure the people will change their ways when they hear all this,” Baruch said, as he put the final touches on the scroll.

God had told Jeremiah many months before to try another way to get the people to listen. “You write down all the things I’ve told you,” God told him. “Then read them to the people. When they hear about the judgments that are coming, surely they’ll change their ways.”

Jeremiah had hired Baruch as his secretary. He had spoken the things God had said to him, while Baruch wrote them on a scroll. It was slow work and took a long time. But finally they were done.

On a day when many people were in Jerusalem, Baruch read Jeremiah’s words at the crowded temple courtyard. Micaiah heard them. He hurried to a room where the king’s officials were gathered. “You’ve got to hear this!” he told them.

They invited Baruch to read Jeremiah’s scroll. After he finished they said, “This is serious. We’d better make sure the king hears this!”

On a cold winter day King Jehoiakim called Baruch to come. But when he heard the words written in the scroll, he didn’t seem the least bit worried. Instead, after Baruch had read a bit, Jehoiakim took the scroll from him. With a knife he cut off the part he had just heard and dropped it in the fire.

Baruch read on, but a few minutes later, Jehoiakim took the scroll again and cut off more. He kept on doing this until Baruch came to the end. When he had read the last words, Jehoiakim burned the rest of the scroll as well. Maybe he thought that if it was gone, the things it said would never happen.

How sad Jeremiah and Baruch must have been to see all their hard work destroyed in a few hours. How sad God must have felt to see His patience and love treated with such contempt.

We have God’s written-down words too. They are the Bible. Of course we don’t physically cut out and destroy the Bible words that make us uncomfortable. But might we be doing that in a different way when we hear God’s words but don’t do them?

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to hear Your words and obey them. Amen.

MORE: Chapter 2

When he burned the scroll, Jehoiakim didn’t make things better for himself – only worse. Read the end of the story - Jeremiah 36:27-32. Then pick out the statements that are true:

1. God told Jeremiah and Baruch to rewrite what had been in the first scroll.

2. Jehoiakim’s son would replace him as king.

3. When Jehoiakim died, his body would be treated with disrespect.

4. None of the predictions in Jeremiah’s scroll would come true.

5. All of the predictions in Jeremiah’s scroll would come true.

ANSWERS

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