Morning Light – Jeremiah 36

Today: [Jeremiah 36] Consequences of Rejecting the Prophetic. In this chapter Jeremiah continues to remonstrate with king Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah. He is held imprisoned in the king’s house yet commands his words to be declared before the people, the elders and the king himself. The king acting in contempt burns the scroll of Jeremiah’s words and considers that the end of the matter. Jeremiah, however commissions a second, longer scroll and declares that Jehoiakim will die in shame and not be buried with his fathers. Such is the fate of those who reject the words of the prophets. What of today? The prophetic is very little accepted in churches today. Pastors contend they are merely looking out for the well being of their flocks by excluding the prophetic from their pulpits. Is this the true motive? What are the consequences of rejecting the ministry of the prophets and the other 5-fold office gifts of Eph. 4:11-12?
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[Jer 36:1-32 KJV] 1 And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, [that] this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. 3 It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin. 4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book. 5 And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I [am] shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD: 6 Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD’S house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities. 7 It may be they will present their supplication before the LORD, and will return every one from his evil way: for great [is] the anger and the fury that the LORD hath pronounced against this people. 8 And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the LORD in the LORD’S house. 9 And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month, [that] they proclaimed a fast before the LORD to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem. 10 Then read Baruch in 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 higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the LORD’S house, in the ears of all the people.
In this chapter Jeremiah continues the narrative of his interactions with Jehoiakim, the third to the last king in the line of David before the captivity to the Babylonians. Jeremiah is still imprisoned in the king’s dungeon, but is able to receive visitors but not to go to the temple to pray. We see then that there is a wall of separation created by the king between the people and the prophet, because the king wants to control the flow of information between Jeremiah and his subjects. I ask you is this not the case with many leaders in the church today? Prophets are more mentioned in the scripture than any other ministry, yet their presence is held suspect by a vast majority of pastors and church leaders.
The office of the pastor is mentioned 9 times in the bible, while the office of the prophet occurs 455 times. By what authority does a pastor roll his eyes in disgust and skepticism as though he is protecting the people by not allowing, or acknowledging the presence of the prophetic in the church today? Pastoral culture today has deeply failed in their responsibility before God in our current day. It is a fact that in a recent Gallup poll that the percentage of people in the western world who no longer believe in the bible now out numbers those who do. This indictment lies squarely at the feet of pastors and church leaders who have the audacity to consider themselves the sole arbiters of what is best for their people, rejecting all the other ministries, particularly prophets as not even truly existing in the earth today.
Jeremiah is shut up in the king’s house, but he instructs his ally Baruch to write down all the prophecies God has given him and to go and read them in the temple. The princes and elders learn of it and call for Baruch to come and read the roll to them as well. These leaders then question Baruch closely as to the actual process by which he received the dictation of Jeremiah and how the roll was written and created. They then hide the book and instruct Baruch and Jeremiah to go into hiding as well, during which time they take the prophecies of Jeremiah to the king.
11 When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of the LORD, 12 Then he went down into the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber: and, lo, all the princes sat there, [even] 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 princes. 13 Then Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people. 14 Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, unto Baruch, saying, Take in thine hand the roll wherein thou hast read in the ears of the people, and come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the roll in his hand, and came unto them. 15 And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read [it] in their ears. 16 Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words. 17 And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth? 18 Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote [them] with ink in the book. 19 Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be. 20 And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king. 21 So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe’s chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king. 22 Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and [there was a fire] on the hearth burning before him. 23 And it came to pass, [that] when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast [it] into the fire that [was] on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that [was] on the hearth. 24 Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, [neither] the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words. 25 Nevertheless Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll: but he would not hear them. 26 But the king commanded Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet: but the LORD hid them.
For what purpose did God send the written prophecies of Jeremiah to the people and the leaders? Verse 7 tells us that the purpose was that perhaps the people would repent and turn from their evil ways. You will notice that the manner in which God commands the message of Jeremiah to be sent out is exactly the opposite of the way it would be expected. One would think the word would go to the king, then the elders and then the people, however God sends the word first to the people, then to the princes and lastly to the king. Why was this the case? Because if the king and the elders had their way the message would never reach the people because it would undermine their authority.
What do we know of Jehoiakim? Was he simply a simple and loving leader looking out for the safety of his people? Was he trying to just use wisdom and not overtax his people with the untried prophetic utterances of a prophet with a questionable reputation? The Jewish Encyclopedia reports that Rabbinical literature describes Jehoiakim as a godless tyrant who committed atrocious sins and crimes. He is portrayed as living in incestuous relations with his mother, daughter-in-law, and stepmother, and was in the habit of murdering men, whose wives he then violated and whose property he seized.
When the scroll of Jeremiah is read in the ears of Jehoiakim, he takes a pen knife and cuts it in pieces, casting it into the hearth where it is completely burned and destroyed. This was done in the sight of the princes and elders, yet not one of them rent their garments or lamented that the king would take this action. When the scroll was read to the people there is no record that they had any reaction at all. When read to the elders, they were somewhat hesitant and fearful, but then deferred to the wisdom of the king who simply dismissed Jeremiah’s rantings altogether. Is that the end of the matter? There are always consequences when the words of God are rejected. I remember one large church on the east coast that invited us to speak. We prophesied one by one over all the elders and staff of the church and finally the pastor himself. When I saw the pastor, the Lord spoke to me that he was in adultery. In that church the people heard us gladly but the leaders and the pastor were skeptical and after hiding their actions from the people they unceremoniously escorted us out of a side door into the parking lot without so much as a handshake. That pastor was exposed shortly afterwards and removed from his pulpit. The posture of the people, the leaders and pastors to the prophetic has consequences attached to it.
27 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying, 28 Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned. 29 And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast? 30 Therefore thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. 31 And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not. 32 Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.
Jeremiah, hearing that the carefully prepared scroll was burned by the king, promptly instructs another roll with “many other words” to be commissioned. Because Jehoiakim takes this action the Lord declares through the prophet that the king will die in infamy and the city will be overthrown by the Babylonians. Jehoiakim dies without honor and his body is disposed of as that of a donkey, without fanfare, left to the elements without funeral or mourning, along with many of these same elders who rejected Jeremiah’s words. The two remaining kings who came after Jehoiakim were his sons Jeconiah and Zedekiah. Jeconiah only reigns 3 months and is deposed, while his son Zedekiah rules 11 years like his father before he is brutally maimed by the Babylonians and taken into captivity in Babylon. Verse 31 of our chapter encapsulates the sins of these kings as being b=punished because they hearkened not to the words of God through Jeremiah, while Jeremiah continues on to faithfully record all the words that the Father gives him before the people.

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