Can you believe what the king did to the scroll? At least he had it read to him before he destroyed it. But the fact he was not moved to repent is serious business. I was surprised by this line: “Neither the king nor his attendants showed any signs of fear or repentance at what they heard.” How could they hear all of that and have no fear of the LORD? What a calloused heart King Jehoiakim must have had to simply burn up God’s word with no remorse. I picture him taking delight in the power he wielded. Sad. Very sad.
God desires our devotion and was hopeful his prophetic words on the scroll would pierce the king’s cold heart. God gave the king a chance to get it right, but the king failed. The king’s actions were brutal as he slashed the scroll and burned it up. How disappointed God must have been to see such a response! Can you think of a time when someone responded to you in a totally unexpected way that hurt you?
The king’s own anger spilled over as he sent orders to arrest Jeremiah and Baruch. But God had other plans for his messengers. In his wisdom, God knew protection would be in order for the bold move those men had taken acting on God’s behalf. I love when the Bible shows us stunning examples like this of God protecting his faithful ones. That protection is still available for us.
More hours would be spent recreating the scroll that was lost. This time, there would be content added to the prior scroll’s message. I have to assume that will include the new prophecy of the king’s personal doom that Jeremiah was supposed to deliver to the king. God’s response to the evil deeds of this king would be punishment. Severe punishment. We can only presume at this point how the new message will be received by the king. I can’t imagine anything will change. God’s promise will play out.
This reading reminds me how important it is for us to be faithful to the God who loves us so much. We see what God’s fury can look like in dealing with his children. It is never unprovoked or without rescue attempts before and after. Our God does give second chances and opportunities for us to repent.
God wants to be known. He wants us to spend time with him. He wants attention. How hard is it for us to devote a portion of our lives to him each day? Doesn’t he deserve so much more?
Let’s pray … Lord, it breaks my heart to read about how evil this king was to burn up a scroll containing your words. Forgive me for times I have angered you with sinful things I have done. Help me to do be attentive to your guidance so I can live a life pleasing to you. I don’t want to ignore your wisdom. Thank you for how your word nourishes me each day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.