Jeremiah 35, 36&45

Serious Business

Jehoiakim was made king by Pharaoh Neco after he defeated Judah in battle and King Josiah was killed.  When Josiah died the nation made Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim’s younger brother, king in hope that Judah would be able to continue their battle with Egypt. However, Egypt was victorious and Jehoahaz was removed as king and taken to Egypt where he died fulfilling a prophesy of Jeremiah.

Jehoiakim was a prideful, godless man who built expensive palaces for himself while the people suffered from the high taxation to pay tribute to Egypt and later Babylon. The nation also suffered from drought and raids from neighboring nations during his reign.

Nebuchadnezzar eventually defeated Egypt and then took Judah and Jerusalem. At first he was going to take Jehoiakim captive to Babylon but changed his mind and instead, made Jehoiakim his vassal. 

In politics there are always strong opposing views and that was the case in Jerusalem. There was a pro Egypt movement in Jerusalem which may have been the reason Jehoiakim rebelled against Babylon and withheld tribute. Pressure to become independent also came from the bands of Chaldeans, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonite raiders. Nebuchadnezzar was busy, fighting elsewhere, so it seemed like now was the time. It was also the setting for Jeremiah's prophesy.

In Chapter 35 Jeremiah uses the illustration of the Rechabites' faithfulness to their father's instruction as an example of how the people of Judah should be faithful to the Word of God. In Chapter 36 we read that Jeremiah is restricted from the temple so God has him dictate his message to Baruch and read it to the people who came to the temple for a fast. A fast was a time of denying oneself of food and seeking God and likely would draw the more serious believers as compared to one of the feasts.

Today it is the same. People come to church for many reasons. For some it is the worship music, the crowd, fellowship, the setting, and of course, the message. But, few people attend the prayer meeting and many churches have stopped having them altogether. Casual Christians don’t come to prayer meetings. But that is where the work of God is conducted, especially in times like Judah was facing. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Jehoiakim hears about the prophesy and he has it read to him. As it is read he cuts off the portion and throws it into the fire. He has no regard for the prophesy of anything of God.

The Apostle Paul tells Timothy that although Paul is in prison the Word of God is not. That is the case here. Even though Jeremiah was restricted from the temple, the Word of God was read in the hearing of the people, and even though Jehoiakim destroyed the scroll, God sent him another one. In this one God says since you have rejected me I am rejecting you. With Jehoiakim the line of David, through his son Solomon, will end. Don’t worry. God has another plan.

Christians are called to serve the Lord. We are engaged in serious business. We are ambassadors from God to the world. How we conduct our lives shows what we really believe. Our conduct may be the only Bible the people around us read. But first we must listen and accept God's Word then apply it to our lives.

In Chapters 35&36 we read that the Word of God came to Jeremiah. Although Jeremiah was restricted from the Temple he was in a place where he was open to God’s Word and God used him. God’s Word also came to him in Chapter 45. This time the message was not for the people but for a fellow servant of God, Baruch.

Apparently Baruch was getting off track, seeking great things for himself and was complaining about what he was going through. God spoke through Jeremiah to rebuke his thinking in Chapter 45. Peter had the same kind of rebuke in John 21:15-22 which is our homework for today.

God’s work is serious business. How serious are you about God? God’s Word and His plan will prevail.

Pastor Dave