The Good News of Jeremiah 36
Jer 36:1-3 In the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Take a scroll and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel and Judah and all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah until today. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the disaster that I intend to do to them, so that every one may turn from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.” If I had no other words from this chapter but these, they would be enough. The entire purpose of God’s visitation with Jeremiah was revealed at the end of verse 3. It is the same purpose God came to Moses with, and it was for the same purpose he sent Christ: “That I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.” Jesus himself said as much when he told Nicodemus “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (Jn3:17). God does not want us to die the eternal death. The good news is this, that eternal life in His presence is available. He has a plan and we can be adopted into the eternal inheritance.
The Fine Print
Jer 36:7 It may be that their plea for mercy will come before the Lord, and that every one will turn from his evil way, for great is the anger and wrath that the Lord has pronounced against this people. Belief does not mean lip service only. It does not mean singing songs or writing blogs. It means repentance. Repentance literally means to turn from one’s sin with Godly remorse for our wrongdoing and applying ourselves to doing what is right and making amends as best we can for our former iniquities. This is the hard part, but throughout scripture it is the common theme. God requires us to be of a mind that we seek Him and His will. His will is only good for us. Our own will, stemming from our corrupted hearts, deceives us and leads us to evil. We must therefore denounce and turn from our fleshly desires and choose to behave in good, clean, moral, and healthy ways. In Jer 36:4-6 Jeremiah gave another man named Baruch a mission to go and read God’s words so that the people would turn from evil and avoid God’s wrath. In verse 8 we learn Baruch did exactly as he was instructed. All of God’s word is good for us, whether we like it or not (2 Tim 3:16).
Truth or Consequence
The balance of Jer 36 tells how the message of God was eventually delivered to the corrupt King Jehoiakim of Judah, who rejected the message and had the scroll burned. By doing this the king flatly rejected God’s correction, including the offer to withhold wrath already well earned by his corruption. Meanwhile, Jeremiah and Baruch were hidden from the king for their own protection by those loyal to God in the king’s service.
Jer 36:30-31 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: He shall have none to sit on the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat by day and the frost by night. And I will punish him and his offspring and his servants for their iniquity. I will bring upon them and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem and upon the people of Judah all the disaster that I have pronounced against them, but they would not hear.’” God pronounces judgment against Jehoiakim and the people of Judah for their rejection of Him. This is the consequence of rejecting God and His love, however stern it may seem to those with scaled eyes and calloused hearts.
Jer 36:32 Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, who wrote on it at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them. Jeremiah, however, continues on in faith. This is a perfect illustration of the direction given by the apostle Paul in Eph 6:12-13 to stand firm in faith and continue doing what is right in spite of the power of evil in high places.
Good News Summary
God wants to forgive sin. He came in the man Jesus and suffered for us. He did everything we are unable to do. This leaves us with what we can do. We must decide who we will serve – ourselves or God. One choice leads to destruction, the other to eternal life. I challenge you to choose this day whom you will serve.