A Call to Repentance and Turning toward God continued…
By Scott Hoefker
Last Friday evening in my weekly Sabbath note, we concluded with the words that God had given to Jeremiah, (written down by Baruch and were being read by a man named Jehudi to King Jehoiakim). “It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the adversities which I purpose to bring upon them, that everyone may turn from his evil way that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.”
At this time of year, there is flurry of activity as our nation scurries around buying gifts and laying the ground work for a holiday that will be upon us in less than a month. These recorded words in God’s Word shed some important light for all to consider.
Let’s continue with the story, “Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning on the hearth before him. And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.” (Jeremiah 36:22-23)
This was an outright disrespectful, careless, and rebellious action! Instead of fearing the Lord and humbling himself, he and his closest servants disregarded the warning contained in the words of the scroll. “Yet they were not afraid, nor did they tear their garments, the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words.” (v.24) Interesting that three men implored the king to not burn the scroll (v.25). They are to be commended for their courage.
To add injury to insult (if we may reverse the often quoted saying) the king ordered some of his men “to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the Lord hid them.” (v.26)
There is very big lesson here. Men cannot destroy what God intends to preserve.
He told Jeremiah to write down on another scroll the words that were written on the scroll the king had burned (v.27-28) and He even added to them (v.32). God gave the inspiration to Jeremiah to remember those words.
Then the Lord told Jeremiah to bring the message to King Jehoiakim, that the king of Babylon would come and destroy the land and remove the people. The calamity described in detail in that scroll would come upon them. Jehoiakim would be singled out for an ignominious death and his family and servants would be punished severely for their failure to heed the words.
I have to wonder if we as a nation realize that thumbing our noses at God and not heeding His warning will bring similar consequences.
We then read in 2 Chronicles 36:6, “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against him and bound him in chains to carry him to Babylon.” “And the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and his abominations which he did, and that which was found in him, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.” (2 Chronicles 36:8)
Jeremiah had earlier recorded God’s judgment concerning Jehoiakim. “He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.” (Jeremiah 22:19) It appears that the account in Jeremiah 36 shows God offering Jehoiakim one more chance to repent and turn the nation around.
What’s encouraging is that our great God is a merciful and compassionate, willing to change His mind about punishments and calamities He has pronounced if those to be affected will humble themselves, hear, fear, and then turn from their iniquity and make the changes God has shown.
This is the message in the famous “Watchman Chapter.” “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’” (Ezekiel 33:11)
The Lord goes on to speak through Ezekiel, “Again, when I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right . . . he shall surely live; he shall not die.” (Ezekiel 33:14-15)
God is giving that same message today to the leaders and people of modern day Israel? Will they heed?
John also in his gospel records some events that took place during the ninth month at the time of “the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.” (John 10:22) We’ll look at those more closely next Friday evening…and as I close this letter, as I do every Friday, as we enter His Sabbath…reflect on this evening’s letter with me, will you?
May God continue to richly bless you. Our prayers and thoughts are with you daily. Please do pray for us as well.
-Scott Hoefker (Pastor and wife (Gayle) The Living God Ministries Gulf Coast)
This post was originally published on Nov. 22, 2019 on their website.
We encourage you to follow this ministry at https://tlgministriesgc.org/