The Story about the
Rev. Ron Friedrich
August 27, 2006
Jeremiah served as the Lord's prophet during the reign of five different kings, or as we would say
today, during five different administrations -- two of them were very
short. King #3, Jehoiakim, is the focus of today's story
about the scroll.
Jeremiah 36 (New
1 The LORD spoke this word to
Jeremiah during the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king
of Judah: 2 "Get a scroll. Write on
it all the words I have spoken to you about Israel and Judah and all
the nations. Write everything from when I first spoke to you, when
Josiah was king, until now."
For 23 years Jeremiah had be speaking God's word to the people.
Now it was time to write it all down. That is a lot of
writing! We will soon see that Jeremiah got someone to help
God had as special reason for telling Jeremiah to write down His
message. God told Jeremiah:
3 "Maybe the family of Judah will hear
what disasters I am planning to bring on them and will stop doing
wicked things. Then I would forgive them for the sins and the evil
things they have done."
Notice that even though God had already decided that He would punish
the nation of Israel for its many years of rebellion, disobedience, and
idol worship, God was still very concerned about individual people in
Israel. For the nation of Israel, it was too late to stop
God's plans. But for the people who were still alive, it was not
yet too late. God is more concerned about people than He is
concerned about governments. However, during the coming trouble,
some of the people would get killed, and all survivors would experience
great loss. God wanted the people to be prepared -- same as He
wants each one of us to be prepared to face death.
This is the main purpose and message of the Bible. It is God's
(1) Shows us the truth about our sins.
(2) Leads us to repent -- sorrow for our sins.
(3) Shows us out Savior, Jesus Christ, who suffered
and died on the Cross in our place.
(4) Shows us that Christ's sacrifice paid all our
debt to God. God forgives all our sins.
(5) Leads us to trust Jesus alone for our eternal
4 So Jeremiah called for Baruch son of
Neriah. Jeremiah spoke the messages the LORD
had given him, and Baruch wrote those messages on the scroll.
Baruch was a scribe. His profession was like our modern day
secretary. Jeremiah's 23 years of prophetic messages took a long
time to write -- several months.
The name Baruch is a Hebrew
word that means BLESS.
Jeremiah understood that the first purpose of this writing project was
not to make a document to keep in a historical archive. God
wanted to give the people of Judah an opportunity to hear it
again and respond with repentance and faith. So...
5 Then Jeremiah commanded Baruch, "I cannot go
to the Temple of the LORD.
I must stay here. 6 So I want you
to go to the Temple of the LORD..."
Hold it! We learn in the first chapter of Jeremiah that he was a
priest. He had a right to go to the temple. But he
was banned. Why? Because he dared to tell the truth
to people who didn't want to hear it. The authorities regarded
Jeremiah as a trouble maker.
5 Then Jeremiah commanded Baruch, "I
cannot go to the Temple of the LORD.
I must stay here. 6 So I want you
to go to the Temple of the LORD
on a day when the people are giving up eating [fasting]. "
What "fast day" or religious holiday was this? We will see later
in the story that the time of year was around December. In this
period of Israel's history, Israel did not have a regular annual
holiday in December; Hanukkah was established over 400 years
later. King Jehoiakim announced a special fast day that year, probably
for the purpose of praying for Israel's security against enemy
This is similar to the "day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer"
that President Abraham Lincoln announced for April 30, 1863, during the
Civil War. Lincoln called on Americans "to confess our national
sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness."
However, Jehoiakim was a godless man. He cared for nothing about
repentance and obedience. He only wanted God to help him win his
military battles and protect his political power. Jehoiakim was a
two-faced hypocrite. Fortunately, many who came to observe this
fast day did it with repentance. They did not share Jehoiakim's
Continuing Jeremiah's instructions to Baruch:
from the scroll to all the people of Judah who come into Jerusalem from
their towns. Read the messages from the LORD,
which are the words you wrote on the scroll as I spoke them to you. 7 Perhaps they will ask the LORD
to help them. Perhaps each one will stop doing wicked things, because
has announced that he is very angry with them." 8So
Baruch son of Neriah did everything Jeremiah the prophet told him to
do. In the LORD's
Temple he read aloud the scroll that had the LORD's
messages written on it.
9 In the ninth month of the fifth year
that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king [December,
a special time to give up eating was announced. All the people of
Jerusalem and everyone who had come into Jerusalem from the towns of
Judah were supposed to give up eating to honor the LORD.
10 At that time Baruch read to all
the people there the scroll containing Jeremiah's words.
People gathered for prayer and worship, bringing their sacrifices to
the outer courtyard of the temple. Baruch went up to a second
floor room that opened to the courtyard below. In a loud voice
Baruch read the scroll, while the people listened. Many of
the people felt God speaking to them through message that Baruch
read. Among those who heard Baruch reading were some middle-level
government officials. God's Word also touched them. The
officials met to discuss this.
14 Then the officers sent a man named
Jehudi son of Nethaniah to Baruch... Jehudi said to Baruch, "Bring the
scroll that you read to the people and come with me."
Baruch son of Neriah took the scroll and went with Jehudi to the
officers. 15 Then the officers said
to Baruch, "Please sit down and read the scroll to us."
Baruch read the scroll to them. 16 When
the officers heard all the words, they became afraid and looked at each
other. They said to Baruch, "We must
certainly tell the king about these words." 17
Then the officers asked Baruch, "Tell us, please, where
did you get all these words you wrote on the scroll? Did you write down
what Jeremiah said to you?"
18 "Yes," Baruch answered.
"Jeremiah spoke them all to me, and I wrote them down with ink on this
19 Then the officers said to Baruch, "You and Jeremiah must go and hide, and
don't tell anyone where you are."
20 The officers put the scroll in the
room of Elishama the royal secretary. Then they went to the king in the
courtyard and told him all about the scroll. 21 So
King Jehoiakim sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi brought the scroll
from the room of Elishama the royal secretary and read it to the king
and to all the officers who stood around the king. 22
It was the ninth month of the year, so King Jehoiakim was
sitting in the winter apartment. There was a fire burning in a small
firepot in front of him.
The Jewish religious calendar does not begin in January. The
Jewish calendar begins with preparations for the celebration of
Passover in the spring (see Exodus 12:1,2;
for more information about the Jewish calendar, see the study of "Our
Jewish Roots" in www.christdeaf.org/bible).
The ninth month was around December.
Jehudi had read three or four columns, the king cut those columns off
of the scroll with a penknife and threw them into the firepot. Finally,
the whole scroll was burned in the fire. 24
King Jehoiakim and his servants heard everything that was
said, but they were not frightened! They did not tear their clothes to
show their sorrow. 25 Elnathan,
Delaiah, and Gemariah even tried to talk King Jehoiakim out of burning
the scroll, but he would not listen to them. 26 Instead,
the king ordered Jerahmeel son of the king, Seraiah son of Azriel, and
Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch the secretary and Jeremiah the
prophet. But the LORD
had hidden them.
27 ... Then the LORD
spoke his word to Jeremiah: 28 "Get another scroll. Write all the words on
it that were on the first scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah burned up...
31 I will punish Jehoiakim and his
children and his servants, because they have done evil things. I will
bring disasters upon them and upon all the people in Jerusalem and
Judah -- everything I promised but which they refused to hear.' "
32 So Jeremiah took another scroll and
gave it to Baruch son of Neriah, his secretary. As Jeremiah spoke,
Baruch wrote on the scroll the same words that were on the scroll
Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words
were added to the second scroll.
What lessons can we
learn from this story? We have already seen a couple
Lesson #1: The main point
of this story is well summarized by a comment the Apostle Paul wrote to
his assistant, Timothy: "God
wants all people to be saved and to know the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4) The purpose of God's Word is
to lead us to repent of our sins and trust Jesus for
forgiveness. God's Word gives people faith in God. (See Jeremiah 36:3)
Lesson #2: In
Jehoiakim and in the lower level government officials, we saw the difference between public
religion and a personal faith-relationship with God. King
Jehoiakim had religion. But he hated God's Word. Jehoiakim
hated God's messengers.
We also must not fool ourselves to think that just because we have
religion and go to church, that makes us good people. Jesus
himself warned us:
all those who say that I am their Lord will enter the kingdom of
heaven. The only people who will enter the kingdom of heaven are those
who do what my Father in heaven wants. On the last day many
people will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, we spoke for you, and through you
we forced out demons and did many miracles.' ' Then I will
tell them clearly, 'Get away from me, you who do evil. I never knew
(Matthew 7:21-23 NCV)
God wants us to know Him -- not just know about Him.
When national disasters hit, we see "Jehoiakim's" signs and billboards
that ask us to pray for God's protection. But no one dares
to remind us to repent or to obey God.
During the first Persian gulf war, we saw signs that said, "Pray for
our troops." When that war ended quickly and successfully,
where were the signs reminding us to thank God for answering our
prayers? There weren't any.
After September 11, 2001, we saw bumper stickers that said, "God Bless America." I saw a
bumper sticker that I like better; it said, "America, Bless God."
Oops! We don't do that, do we? We are so much like
Jehoiakim. We want only God's blessing and protection, while we
spend our lives on our own pleasure.
Lesson #3: God's Word is
convicting (touches the heart). We saw that in the
response to Baruch when he read the scroll in the temple.
The Apostle Paul saw this response in the new Christians in
Thessalonica. Paul told them,
we always thank God because when you heard his message from us, you
accepted it as the word of God, not the words of humans. And it really
is God’s message which works in you who believe. (1
Thessalonians 2:13 NCV)
The Bible says:
word is alive and working and is sharper than a double-edged sword. It
cuts all the way into us, where the soul and the spirit are joined, to
the center of our joints and bones. And it judges the thoughts and
feelings in our hearts. Nothing in all the world can be
hidden from God. Everything is clear and lies open before him, and to
him we must explain the way we have lived. (Hebrews
We personally experience this truth when God's
Word speaks directly to us, showing us our sin, and showing us our
We experience this truth when the power of God's
Word which we have memorized protects us against sudden
We experience this truth when the wisdom of
God's Word guides us through difficult decisions.
We experience this truth when the comfort of
God's Word gives us faith and hope when situations appear hopeless.
Lesson #4: God's Word is true,
whether people believe it or not.
Jehoiakim and his closest assistants rejected God's Word.
They didn't believe it. But their unbelief did not change God's
plans. God said,
will bring disasters upon them and upon all the people in Jerusalem and
Judah -- everything I promised but which they refused to hear." (Jeremiah
Many churches which once stood firm on the truth of God's Word, today
they have abandoned God's Word. They no longer teach or believe
that God's Word is true. Just like Jehoiakim, they hear and read
God's Word, and they deliberately choose not to believe it. Just
like Jehoiakim, they work hard to teach their church members to also
not believe God's Word.
One very large, well known, Protestant denomination counseled parents,
"Don't let your children read the Bible until they are old enough to
understand it." Obviously, these church leaders are afraid that
children would, in a childlike way, believe what God says, as Jesus
said we all should do. (see Mark 10:15)
Lesson #5: God's Word endures
(stays & continues).
Jehoiakim tried to prevent the Israelites from receiving God's Word by
burning it. Today in government, in education, in entertainment,
and even in the church, folks are still trying to prevent people from
receiving God's Word. They outlaw and ban God's Word. They mock
people who believe and obey God's Word. They create clever
explanations to convince people that God's Word is not true. Just
as Jehoikim discovered, all their efforts to destroy God's Word
The French philosopher, Voltaire, predicted that within 100 years of
his death (1778), no one would believe in Christ any more, and that
Christianity would be completely gone. Fifty years after his
death, the Geneva Bible Society used Voltaire's house and his printing
press to produce stacks of Bibles!
Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will
pass away. But My words will never pass away." (Matthew 24:35)
and snow fall from the sky
don't return without watering the ground.
cause the plants to sprout and grow,
seeds for the farmer
bread for the people.
same thing is true of the words I speak.
will not return to me empty.
make the things happen that I want to happen,
they succeed in doing what I send them to do.
(Isaiah 55:10-11 NCV)