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"Different Responses to the Word"
Jeremiah 36

Wednesday AM Bible Study
April 27, 2005


A. This event occurred during the fourth year of the reign of King Jehoiakim (v. 1). It's interesting that his father is also mentioned. His father (King Josiah) once heard the word of God proclaimed to him in unusual circumstances. Josiah tore his clothes in repentance when he heard it; and it resulted in a great revival (2 Kings 22:1-23:25; especially 22:11).

B. God commanded Jeremiah to record the words He had given him over the past twenty- three years of ministry, and through the reign of three kings, in testimony against Israel's sin (1:1-3; 25:1-7). It was to be written on "a scroll of a book" (v. 2). It was written by Jeremiah's assistant Baruch. God had an expressed purpose in this: "It may be that the house of Judah will hear . . . that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin" (v. 3).

C. Jeremiah was "confined" (v. 4). He could not enter the temple. And so, he sent Baruch to read the book in the hearing of all who came to Judah in the temple on the day of a declared fast (vv. 4-8). The command from God was given in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (v. 1); and Baruch fulfilled this command in the temple at the time of the declared fast on the fifth year (v. 9-10). He read in the chamber of Gemariah, the son of a scribe named Shaphan. Shaphan and his family were clearly sympathetic to Jeremiah; and were known for having given him protection during the reign of Jehoiakim (26:24).

D. God's express purpose in calling for this reading of His word was that the people might hear and repent. Yet, clearly, it was in the divine plan of God that this offer be heard and rejected; and that the king become hardened in his sin, and that Judah be taken captive by its enemies. The offer was genuine; but the heart was hardened by the offer. It's not our task to determine whether or not proclaiming His word will result in repentance. Sometimes, it's His intention that His offer of grace result in hardening of hearts (See Romans 9:14-24). It is our task to proclaim it and leave the results to Him.


A. Michaiah, the grandson of Shaphan, heard Baruch's reading of the word through Jeremiah (v. 11). He then went to the king's house and into the scribes' chamber, and told the princes and scribes that were there all that was being said (vv. 12-13)

B. As a result, they sent for Baruch and asked him to bring the scroll and read it in their hearing (vv. 15-16). When they heard, they didn't respond as had Josiah - with tearing of the clothes in repentance; but they did respond with great fear. They made additional inquiries about the word that was read; and they decided that they needed to tell the king (vv. 17-18).

C. The content of this scroll was condemning. We're told something of it in verse 29. Knowing the king, they wisely encouraged Baruch to see to it that he and Jeremiah hid. They also were careful to hide the scroll until after they had talked to the king about its contents (vv. 19-20).

D. Just because the word was received by them with fear, this didn't mean that it would also be received by the king in the same way. They were not careless with God's word. We should remember to be careful not to give what is holy to the dogs, nor cast our pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6). Sadly, their concern proved to be justified!


A. Having told the king about the words of Jeremiah, Jehoiakim called for the scroll and ordered it to be read to him. This may have been a moment of great encouragement to the scribes (v. 21).

B. The king was sitting in his winter quarters, and had a fire blazing before him. After every three or four columns of the scroll were read, Jehoiakim would cut that portion off and throw it into the fire. The actions of his godly father are set in contrast against his own. Josiah tore his clothes; but Jehoiakim tore the scroll (vv. 22-24). He showed no fear of God in doing this; and he continued to do it until the entire scroll was burned in the fire - all in spite of the pleas of the scribes not to do so. It's hard to imagine more contempt demonstrated for the word of God than this! (vv. 25-26).


A. God commanded that His words to Jeremiah be written again (vv. 27-28). Jehoiakim thought that, by burning God's word, he could be rid of it. He was certainly not the last king to think this! But it will outlive heaven and earth (Matthew 5:18). It will certainly not be destroyed by a campfire!

B. Word was also to be sent to Jehoiakim that, because he thought to avoid the judgment of God by burning the record of it, he would have no son to sit on the throne of David. He himself would die and have his body cast out - a sign that he would have no honorable burial (vv. 29-30). What's more, God would still bring about all the things that He said upon Judah (v. 31).

C. God's word was not only NOT stopped by Jehoiakim; but it was retained and even added to (v. 32). We can't escape the word of God by trying to destroy it. We only destroy ourselves when we do that. It still does all that God sends it out to do (Isa. 55:8-10). The best way to respond to the terror of God's word is to tremble before it and repent!

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