What happens when people try to get rid of Gods Word Jeremiah 36

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					             What happens when people try to get rid of God‘s Word?
                    Jeremiah 36: 1-32 – December 27, 2009
     Pastor Van Morris shared this story in a sermon. The Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow,
Scotland, is hosting a series of exhibitions called "Made in God's Image." Organized by a
company called Culture and Sport Glasgow, the exhibition includes Untitled 2009—a simple,
opened Bible. Next to the Bible is a container of pens and a notice which reads, "If you feel you
have been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it." There are a number of
things disconcerting about such an invitation—chiefly, it makes us the subject and the Bible an
object that can bend to every whim and agenda. But what is worth noting is the venomous
response of people who have visited the exhibit. Visitors have responded to the invitation by
daubing the Bible's pages with a litany of angry and lewd comments. One person wrote: "This
is all sexist pish [a word used to express deep disdain], so disregard it all." Another wrote on the
first page of Genesis, "I am Bi, Female, and Proud. I want no God who is disappointed in this."
Others have even taken the opportunity to alter verses, including Genesis 1:1, to prove that
everything about the Bible and God himself is man-made. These people would love to get rid of
God’s Word. And if they can’t physically remove it from our culture, they will try to get rid of
the Bible by destroying its credibility. What happens when people try to get rid of God’s Word?
Will they succeed? Is the Bible going away? We’ll explore that this morning. We’ll go back in
Israel’s history and look at a king bent on getting rid of God’s Word. We’ll see what happens
there and apply the story to our lives. If you have a Bible please open it to Jeremiah 36:1-32.
we’ll look at these verses and consider the question, “What happens when people try to get rid of
God’s Word?”

    Our story opens with the nation of Judah in turmoil. The northern part of Israel has suffered
the judgment of God. They refused God’s warning to quit worshipping other gods. As a result,
God removed his hedge of protection from them. The northern kingdom had been consumed by
Assyria more than a hundred years earlier. Now Judah faces similar circumstances. They are
worshipping other gods. The Lord is calling them back to Himself, but the people resist God’s
warning. The new world power, Babylon, is threatening Judah, just as Assyria threatened the
northern kingdom. In the midst of this chaos, God speaks through the prophet Jeremiah. In
verses 1-2, God commands Jeremiah to record His Words on a scroll. Let’s read verse 3 to see
what God says:
        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.

We know that Jeremiah writes these words in 605 B.C. In that year, Babylon goes through a
transition as Nabopolassar dies and his son, Nebuchadnezzar, takes over as king. Also during
this year, Babylon defeats the Egyptians at Carchemish. Since Jehoiakim had been placed on the
throne of Judah by the Egyptians this Babylonian victory is an ominous sign for him and all the
Judean leadership.

   But Egypt and Babylon are not the root of Judah’s problem. Judah’s problem is that they
have turned from the Lord to worship other gods. What Congress decides about health care

reform or cap-and-trade is not our root problem. Neither is the unemployment rate. Neither is
the Husker offense. Neither is our spouse or our kids or our parents. Our root problem is the
same as Judah’s. In verse 3, God says He speaks of the coming judgment in the hopes that
people will turn from their evil ways. Then He will forgive their sin and heal their land. In verse
4, Jeremiah calls his scribe Baruch and dictates God’s message to him. As we find out in verse
5, Jeremiah has been restricted from preaching in the temple precincts. Why has Jeremiah been
restricted from preaching? The Judean leadership didn’t like his message. I guess they thought
if they silenced Jeremiah, God’s message wouldn’t come to fruition. They were wrong. Imagine
going to a doctor for a physical with the stipulation that he not give you any bad news. That
would be foolish. “Doctor, if you find cancer don’t tell me. If you don’t say anything about it,
the cancer won’t spread.” That’s what the Jewish leadership wants -- a physical with no bad
news. If they get bad news, they’ll just find a doctor to give them good news.

   Let’s read verses 5-8:
        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.‖ 8Baruch 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.

Jeremiah’s hope is that the people will hear the Lord’s Word to turn from their false worship and
thus avoid the judgment of God.

    A year goes by between verses 8 and 9. We are now in the fifth year of Jeremiah. The
people proclaim a fast. They must realize the threat of an invasion from Babylon is more
serious. In verse 10, Baruch reads the dictated words of Jeremiah again. Verses 11-13 tell us
that Micaiah hears these words and goes to the king’s house and tells the king’s officials about
the message. The king’s officials send for Baruch to hear the message for themselves. Let’s
read verses 15-18:
         They said to him, ―Sit down, please, and read it to us.‖ So Baruch read it to
       them. 16When 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.‖ 17And they asked Baruch, saying, ―Tell us, please, how did you write
       all these words? Was it at his dictation?‖ 18Then Baruch said to them, ―He
       dictated all these words to me, and I wrote them with ink on the book.‖

Verse 16 tells us that the kings officials turned in fear to one another upon hearing these words.
Why do they fear? A couple of reasons, first, they fear the reality that Babylon will attack and
destroy Jerusalem, which happened in 587 B.C. Second they fear the response of the king. Look
at what they say to Baruch in verse 19:

        Then the officials said to Baruch, ―Go, hide yourself, you and Jeremiah,
       and do not let anyone know where you are.‖

Why do they instruct Baruch to go into hiding with Jeremiah? They know the king will want to
punish them, maybe even kill them because of the message.

   So, how do you think the king will respond to the message? Let’s read verses 21-26:
         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. 22Now the king was sitting in the
       winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning in the brazier before
       him. 23When 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. 24Yet the king and all
       his servants who heard all these words were not afraid, nor did they rend
       their garments. 25Even though Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah pleaded
       with the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26And 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.

How does the king respond? He responds by cutting the scroll into strips and throwing it into the
fire. King Jehoiakim is the son of King Josiah. When Josiah heard the Word of the Lord, he
tore his clothes as a sign of repentance and brokenness. When Jehoiakim hears the Word of the
Lord, he tears the scroll as a sign of defiance and pride. I’ve never burned God’s Word, but I’ve
shown the same defiance. Shortly after coming to faith as a freshman in college, a friend showed
me that God’s Word directed Christ followers to only date others who followed Christ. No way
was I going to restrict my field. So I continued pursuing women without regard to their spiritual
interest. Finally, a year and a half later, I had a crush on a young lady in Campus Crusade. We
only went out a few times, but I realized the difference. From that point I vowed I wouldn’t
pursue anyone who wasn’t following Christ. Sadly, I didn’t initially take God at His Word. But
that experience reinforced the conviction that I need to follow God’s direction in His Word.

    Jehoiakim burns the scroll and searches for Jeremiah in hopes of getting rid of the Word of
God. Do you think he’ll be successful in getting rid of God’s Word by burning the scroll? Do
you think he’ll stop the proclamation of God’s Word if he finds Jeremiah? By the way,
Jehoiakim never finds Jeremiah. We might laugh at Jehoiakim, but we have the same tendency.
We hear something in the Word of God and we try to get rid of it. Oh, we don’t burn our Bible,
but we put it on the shelf. We stop reading it. Or we read the passages that makes us feel good.
Or maybe we stop attending church or small group. But shutting God’s word out of our lives,
doesn’t mean God’s Word won’t come to fruition in our lives. What is it that bugs you about
God’s Word? Is it the call to make a relationship right? Is it God’s insistence that He have
control of your whole life, even your finances? Is it God’s demand for moral purity? Is it God’s
command that you value Him more than any material thing or the Huskers or your mate or your

golf game? I understand these are hard words. And our tendency is to shut that word out. But
please understand, like He did with Judah, God gives us a hard word that we might experience
the fullness of a relationship with Him. He loves us too much to let us focus on some cheap
substitute. Jehoiakim and Judah ignored this word. They tried to shut it off. As a result the city
and the temple were destroyed. But even out of that destruction, God brought a remnant of
people whose heart was completely given to Him. We are looking to the New Year. I don’t
know specifics, but I know there will be parts of the Bible that will bug you. There will be parts
that make you want to throw the Bible in the fire. Ask God to build the character of Christ into
your life. When Jesus faced crucifixion, He asked the Father to save Him from that execution.
But then He prayed, “Father, not My will, but Your will be done.” When you are confronted
with challenges in the Word of God, ask Him for the strength to live out His will.

   What is God’s response to Jehoiakim’s burning of the scroll? Let’s read verses 27-31:
         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.‖‘‖

God promises judgment on Jehoiakim. He won’t have a descendant on the throne. And when he
dies, he won’t even get a decent burial. In 2 Kings 24, we read that Nebuchadnezzar defeated
Jehoiakim fulfilling God’s prophecy. In verse 31, God predicts that Judah will face the calamity
of an invasion. We read about that invasion in 2 Kings 25.

   But what about the scroll that was burned? Let’s read verse 32:
        Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the son of
       Neraiah, 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.

God republished it. He added some words of judgment on Jehoiakim, but God reproduced the
scroll. What happens when people try to get rid of God’s Word? God will carry out His Word
in spite of people’s efforts to get rid of it. God will carry out His Word in spite of people’s
efforts to get rid of it. As we look to 2010, we’ll face people and groups who try and get rid of
God’s Word. They’ll ridicule it. They’ll mock it. But they won’t win. Like he did with

Jehoiakim’s efforts, God will show Himself sovereign. Jehoikim has been dead 2500 years. The
Word of God is still with us. In the same way, long after these opponents are gone, God’s Word
will still speak forth.

    Many signs and billboards in the path of Hurricane Charley were no match for the violent
storm. However, one billboard resisted the hurricane's 100-mile per hour winds. While the
billboard still stands, the advertisement that was there when Hurricane Charley hit was pealed
back to reveal an earlier message. When the sun rose the next morning on Sand Lake Road in
Orlando the words on the billboard clearly read: "We need to talk. God." That’s just a picture of
reality. The winds of life, time and history blow and destroy everything in their path, everything
but the Word of God. What happens when people try to get rid of God’s Word? God will carry
out His Word in spite of people’s efforts to get rid of it. God will carry out His Word in spite of
people’s efforts to get rid of it.