Take again another scroll
Jeremiah 36 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
36 In the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 “Take a scroll and write on it all the words which I have spoken to you concerning Israel and concerning Judah, and concerning all the nations, from the day I first spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, even to this day. 3 Perhaps the house of Judah will hear all the calamity which I plan to bring on them, in order that every man will turn from his evil way; then I will forgive their iniquity and their sin.”
4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah, and Baruch wrote on a scroll at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord which He had spoken to him. 5 Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, “I am restricted; I cannot go into the house of the Lord. 6 So you go and read from the scroll which you have written at my dictation the words of the Lord to the people in the Lord’s house on a fast day. And also you shall read them to all the people of Judah who come from their cities. 7 Perhaps their supplication will come before the Lord, and everyone will turn from his evil way, for great is the anger and the wrath that the Lord has pronounced against this people.” 8 Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading from the book the words of the Lord in the Lord’s house.
9 Now in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month, all the people in Jerusalem and all the people who came from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem proclaimed a fast before the Lord. 10 Then Baruch read from the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the Lord in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the upper court, at the entry of the New Gate of the Lord’s house, to all the people.
11 Now when Micaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard all the words of the Lord from the book, 12 he went down to the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber. And behold, all the officials were sitting there—Elishama the scribe, and Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan the son of Achbor, and Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the other officials. 13 Micaiah declared to them all the words that he had heard when Baruch read from the book to the people. 14 Then all the officials sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, to Baruch, saying, “Take in your hand the scroll from which you have read to the people and come.” So Baruch the son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and went to them. 15 They said to him, “Sit down, please, and read it to us.” So Baruch read it to them. 16 When they had heard all the words, they turned in fear one to another and said to Baruch, “We will surely report all these words to the king.” 17 And they asked Baruch, saying, “Tell us, please, how did you write all these words? Was it at his dictation?” 18 Then Baruch said to them, “He dictated all these words to me, and I wrote them with ink on the book.” 19 Then the officials said to Baruch, “Go, hide yourself, you and Jeremiah, and do not let anyone know where you are.”
20 So they went to the king in the court, but they had deposited the scroll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and they reported all the words to the king. 21 Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it out of the chamber of Elishama the scribe. And Jehudi read it to the king as well as to all the officials who stood beside the king. 22 Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning in the brazier before him. 23 When Jehudi had read three or four columns, the king cut it with a scribe’s knife and threw it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the brazier. 24 Yet the king and all his servants who heard all these words were not afraid, nor did they rend their garments. 25 Even though Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah pleaded with the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26 And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son, Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the Lord hid them.
27 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah after the king had burned the scroll and the words which Baruch had written at the dictation of Jeremiah, saying, 28 “Take again another scroll and write on it all the former words that were on the first scroll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah burned. 29 And concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah you shall say, ‘Thus says the Lord, “You have burned this scroll, saying, ‘Why have you written on it that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land, and will make man and beast to cease from it?’” 30 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah, “He shall have no one to sit on the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. 31 I will also punish him and his descendants and his servants for their iniquity, and I will bring on them and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the men of Judah all the calamity that I have declared to them—but they did not listen.”’”
32 Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the son of Neriah, the scribe, and he wrote on it at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire; and many similar words were added to them.
In today’s text it says: Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning in the brazier before him. When Jehudi had read three or four columns, the king cut it with a scribe’s knife and threw it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the brazier. Yet the king and all his servants who heard all these words were not afraid, nor did they rend their garments. Even though Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah pleaded with the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. Many today treat God’s word, the Bible, with similar disregard or disrespect. They may not burn it, but many disregard what it says completely. Others, in the same way that the king cut the scroll with his knife, cut out the parts they disagree with, the parts that are not pleasing to them. In 2 Timothy 4:2-4 it says: Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. In 2 Timothy 3:16 it says: All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. The scripture that Paul spoke of was the Old Testament writings, the same many today say are no longer valid or applicable since we live under the New Covenant in Christ. Jesus said this about that same scripture: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20) Jesus is the fulfillment of scripture, not the replacement of it. John 1:1-5;14 says: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. When people cut away the portions of scripture that they find offensive or those that they disagree with, they are cutting away Jesus Himself. He is the embodiment of God’s word. He is the revelation of God’s will and the fulfillment of God’s plan and purpose for people.
The king in the text arrogantly thought he could eliminate the word of God. He thought by cutting and burning it that it would no longer exist, that it would no longer matter. In the text it says: Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah after the king had burned the scroll and the words which Baruch had written at the dictation of Jeremiah, saying, “Take again another scroll and write on it all the former words that were on the first scroll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah burned… Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the son of Neriah, the scribe, and he wrote on it at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. As Jesus says: Until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. God’s word, like God Himself, is eternal and unchanging. It does not cease to be nor does it cease to matter because people arrogantly disregard it. It is true that we are no longer under the law if we are in Christ. It is still true though that: All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. Even that which may no longer apply directly to those who believe in Christ, is profitable for teaching and correction. Knowing what it is that Christ fulfilled, helps to keep us grounded in the faith and grace through which we are saved. We should never disregard all that He did on the cross, thinking we can eliminate the portions of God’s word which we don’t like. We surely should not cut away from Jesus Himself, by eliminating or disregarding the words He spoke which we find offensive.
Some find it offensive, intolerant that Christians would believe that Jesus is the only way to eternity with God. Jesus says: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Some find it offensive that believers speak of the consequences of sin. Jesus says: 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' (Matthew 7:23) The truth of God’s word does not change because people choose to disregard it. It is not diminished by those who cut away the offensive parts. God’s word, all of scripture does not change at the whims, the discretion or the actions of people. God’s word from Genesis to Revelation is the revelation of His will and His plan for people. Jesus is the fulfillment of that word. He is the embodiment of God’s word, His will and His plan. May we never in our arrogance cut away from all that Jesus was, is and always will be.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for Your eternal word, what was and is and always will be. Thank You for the finished work of the cross which did not do away with Your word, but rather fulfilled it for me. Amen.