Jeremiah #50—An exposition of Jeremiah 36:1-32. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, January 18, 2009.
It is an interesting thing. Most people I talk to believe the Bible. They have no problem stating they believe it to be “a” word from God. I’m talking about folks “outside” the church. They acknowledge the Bible as more than a book. They are willing to give it special status. Yet they know very little about what it says. Even within the church there are those who confidently express their faith and confidence in God’s inerrant and infallible word and yet they embrace ideas that are contrary to the Scripture. What does it mean to express a high view of Scripture if, in practice, you have a very low view of Scripture? It is one thing to profess faith in the truthfulness or inerrancy of Scripture and something more to confess the “sufficiency” of Scripture. This evening as we continue our journey through Jeremiah’s prophecy I want us to consider the doctrine of the Scripture as we come to an historical account of Jeremiah’s prophecy being written down. Our text is found in the 36th chapter of the book of Jeremiah the prophet.
Text: Jeremiah 36:1-32
I don’t think it is an accident that this account of Jeremiah’s recording his prophecies comes on the heels of the events of chapter 35. Remember? The Rechabites, sons of Jonadab, for 250 years have lived in obedience to the commands of their father. They lived in tents, planted no gardens and drank no wine because that was the wish of their father. The people of Judah on the other hand repeatedly ignored the command of the Sovereign King of the universe. God persistently spoke to them and they consistently turned a deaf ear. His words went in one ear and out the other. Now we have this account of the giving of Scripture through the prophet to the people. This happened in the 4th year of the reign of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah. This happened in 605-605 B.C.
I want to use this text to point out three important principles about God’s Word.
God’s Word is a divine Word. (36:1-8)
What is it we discover in verse 1? “This word came to Jeremiah from the Lord…” God initiated it. Second, “take a scroll and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you…” The words were God’s words not Jeremiah’s.
2 Timothy 3:16-17—2 Peter 1:20-21
4 very important things are learned about the Scripture from this text. This word was given by God – 36:1 This word was given through man – 36:2-4, both Jeremiah and Baruch This word was given for life/salvation – 36:5-7, BF&M – “salvation for its end” This word was indestructible – 36:28, 32
God has revealed himself through His word and offers us life and hope and peace in a relationship with Him. That relationship comes through His word.
God’s Word is meant to be heard, feared, and shared. (36:9-19)God did not give his word to be sealed up in a book and put away but rather to be shared. It is intended to be heard.
36:3 – “so that Judah will hear…” 36:6 – “…go on a day of fasting in the hearing of all the people…you shall read the words of the Lord…”
36:10 – Baruch went to the temple and read the word. What is it Paul says? Faith comes by hearing, hearing the Word of God.
Note the initial reaction – 36:11-15 They wanted to hear what God was saying.
36:16 – note their response to God’s word – they turned to one another in fear. Heard, feared, shared – this is to be our response to God’s word in the hopes that salvation, deliverance might come.
To denigrate, deny or carelessly disregard God’s Word is to incite His sovereign wrath. (36:20-31)We find the king’s response very different. He would not hear God’s Word. He did not fear it.
Jehoiakim was never a godly king and those around him rarely knew what he would do or how he would react. So they always prepared for the worst. Note the precautions they took – 36:19.
An incredible sight – 36:21-23 He didn’t even wait to hear the whole thing – he burned it as he went. Such disregard for the word of God was the practice of those closest to him – 36:24-26.
It is a dangerous thing to show such contempt for what God has spoken. Note God’s response – 36:27-31
How different things were under king Josiah – 2 Kings 22:11 (622 b.c.).
To have God’s Word is a great privilege and an awesome responsibility. To whom much is given, much is expected.
It is a divine book. It is meant to be heard, feared and shared. And it is a dangerous thing to casually set it aside.
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
1 Peter 1:24-25