[SW466] 01/16/2021 message notes by
Pastor Susan J. Wynn
Destroying His Word
Text: Jeremiah 36:20-32
The Lord directed me to speak this because today, many — both inside and outside today’s church — are trying to destroy the Word of God by any means possible. They politicize it, weaponize it to inspire revolutions, twist it until it is unrecognizable, preach another Jesus (2Corinthians 11:4) — I could go on endlessly, for they are endlessly foolish and arrogant.
They are fools, for it is a fool’s errand to attempt to destroy the truth of the Word of God! His Word stands forever (Psalm 119:89) and will never pass away (Matthew 24:35).
Many such fools —
— physically destroy Bibles or a scrolls
— attempt to destroy it by deleting or warping passages in order to make them fit their “narrative” and their selfish purposes
— banish, imprison or kill those who speak His truth.
But the truth of His Word remains forever, O fools! The One who authored the Word can effortlessly speak it through another one of his Spirit-filled bondservants whom you have not yet banished, imprisoned or killed.
Do you not know, even from a review of history? He cannot be silenced by man.
I will show you, through the actions of King Jehoiakim of Judah. The king of Babylon had already reduced Jehoiakim to being a mere puppet king of Judah — one who ruled according to Nebuchadnezzar’s orders. Yet he still thought he was greater than God.
The backstory for today’s passage
The LORD ordered Jeremiah to take a scroll and write on it all the LORD’s warnings which He had spoken through him to warn Judah. That would have been 22 years of prophecy, at that time.
So Jeremiah’s scribe, Baruch, wrote down all the words Jeremiah had spoken, on one scroll. It took over a year to write them all and ensure their accuracy.
Then just according to Jeremiah’s command, Baruch read all the words of the scroll to all the people who were gathered for a feast that required attendance of all Jews. All the people heard of the LORD’s exhortations for Judah to repent and warnings of the consequences — Babylonian exile, or death by the sword, famine or disease.
Some of King Jehoiakim’s officials heard Baruch, and took it to their fellow officials, and all of them became afraid. They urged Baruch and Jeremiah to hide themselves, for surely, their lives were in danger for speaking the truth.
With that backstory, I will show you Jeremiah 36:20-32 —
Verses 20-21 —
So they went to the king in the court, but they had deposited the scroll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and they reported all the words to the king. 21 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.
The officials did not want to give the scroll to the king, but they left in the chamber of a scribe — either the king’s scribe, or a scribe in the temple. But the king found out, and the scroll was brought and read to the king and all his officials who stood beside him.
Why did they not want to give the scroll to the king? I believe they knew what he would do, as you will soon see.
Verses 22-23 —
Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning in the brazier before him. 23 When 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 (hearth).
The winter house was his warmest palace, and the brazier provided additional warmth to the king. The text was written in columns, as with all scrolls. Jehudi, a messenger, read a few columns, and then the king cut it with a scribes knife and threw it into the fire!
The king arrogantly destroyed the entire scroll. Why? He hated the words that were in it. They did not agree with the ear-pleasing lies of the false prophets —
— The LORD will give you victory! We speak it, and so it will be done.
— Judah belongs to the LORD, so He will not send you into exile because you worship false gods!
— He will not punish you for what you have done — even offering your live children to be burned in fires to them, and placing an idol in His temple!
Verses 24-26 —
Yet the king and all his servants who heard all these words were not afraid, nor did they rend their garments (a sign of repentance). 25 Even though Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah pleaded with the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26 And 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.
The king was arrogant. He did not repent. He thought that he was in charge! He was king, after all! So he did not have to listen to and obey the LORD’s words. He was king, so he had the power to destroy the LORD’s words. Well, he foolishly thought he did.
Verses 27-28 —
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.”
The LORD then directed Jeremiah to take another scroll and again have Baruch write everything that had been on the first scroll that was burned by the king. The LORD does not stop speaking because someone burns a scroll or book containing His words. He simply speaks them again to His servants, and they write them and speak them and proclaim them again!
Verse 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?’”
AsKing Jehoiakim burned the scroll, he said, “Why have you written the truth on it?” Surely, because the LORD said it, Babylon would come and destroy the land and make it utterly devoid of life. Death awaited those who refused to obey the LORD’s command to go into exile and live. No living thing would be spared.
Verse 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.”
The king was killed during the final siege of Jerusalem. His dead body was not buried in the tombs of the kings of Judah. It was not buried, but was cast out into the open and rotted. It was a shameful end for a shameful king.
His son ruled for just three months, as a puppet king who served at the whim of Babylon in Judah. Then he was captured and taken into exile. His uncle, Zedekiah, became the last puppet king. Ever since the day he was taken into exile, there have been no more kings of Judah.
But there has always been a king over Judah who was not in the earth — the eternally existent God the Son. He was of the lineage of King David, when He walked the earth! And in the future, He will rule forever in the new heavens and new earth (Jeremiah 23:6, Revelation 20:21).
He is king of Kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). The LORD declares it in His Word, and His Word is not only true, but the very embodiment of truth (Psalm 119:160, John 17:17).
Verse 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.”
The LORD does not punish the innocent. He punishes those who refuse to listen to and heed His words. He punishes those who attempt to destroy His Word, like King Jehoiakim.
The king’s descendants and servants would also be punished for joining him in worshiping false gods and performing the terrible acts to supposedly placate them and gain favor with them. They would all go into exile or die trying to escape.
Why does the LORD hate false gods and punish those who worship them? They are nothingness and emptiness, and those who worship them become like them (Psalm 115:4-8). Therefore, He punished His people who left Him to follow them.
He punishes those who refuse to listen to His exhortations to repent and His warnings of the consequences if they do not. He does not warn and exhort them just once, but in His great mercy, He exhorts and warns them again and again.
The purpose of His punishment is that those who say they are His but do as King Jehoiakim did would repent. He does not desire that any perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). It is His mercy to offer the opportunity to repent.
Verse 32 —
Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the son of Neriah, 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.
Just as the LORD commanded, Jeremiah dictated the LORD’s words to his scribe, Baruch. He dictated the words that were in the scroll that the king had burned. And the LORD also gave him many similar words.
The king burned the first scroll to ashes, thinking he could erase the truth and continue to believe his own version of it, without fear of judgment. As I have said, only fools do such things.
Exhortation to those who destroy His Word
Who arrogantly attempts to destroy the Word of God today? How do they attempt to destroy it?
Those in positions of power in today’s unrepentant church attempt to destroy the Word of God. And their followers love their words!
How do they attempt to destroy it? I will give you just a few examples —
— They delete the words of the Bible that they do not like. I have watched them do it! They dislike the truth because it disagrees with their narrative. So they burn it in the fire of their desire to follow their truth instead of His. But His truth remains, despite their best efforts to delete it.
— They contradict what He says in the Word of God about sin, saying such things are not sin anymore. So those who love their words will eternally perish with them, for they believe that sin is no longer sin, in God’s eyes.
— Some quote from Proverbs 18:21, saying, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” and tell their eager listeners that they are able to speak things in and out of existence, as if they are God. But they never quote the rest of that verse, “And those who love it will eat its fruit.” So they and their followers will eat the lies they foolishly speak with their tongues!
— Some use it as a political weapon to push their political agenda and stir people to rebel. It has been done in South America for years, and is called “liberation theology.” But such fools neglect to mention that Jesus Christ never spoke a word against nor did He rebel against the cruel, harsh, unfair Roman rule of His people, when He walked the earth. The freedom He promises is true freedom from that which enslaves all mankind — sin (John 8:31-36)!
If you continue in His word, you will know the truth by experiencing it, for you will obey Him and stay and wait to be filled with the Holy Spirit as He commands. And you will rejoice that His truth has set you completely free from slavery to sin, for when you are filled —
— He crucifies your sin nature which loved to sin,
— He purifies your heart, so sin is no longer in you and you no longer sin, and
— He permanently and fully indwells you with the Father and the Spirit, so His power and His truth is within you.
That is true freedom. But today’s foolish leaders, teachers and prophets will not teach it, even if they have read about it in the Word of God. Why? It disagrees with their narrative. So they foolishly choose to deceive themselves and you, O infant, with their lies. Thus they reveal that their father is Satan, the father of lies, says Jesus (John 8:44).
Therefore, turn from them! Turn to Jesus Christ’s Spirit-filled bondservants who speak the truth of the Word of God, and teach His words, and continue listening to them.
If you continue in His Word that they speak, He says you will personally experience freedom from slavery to sin, no matter what social status you occupy. He equally welcomes everyone who will believe and stay and obey — every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Revelation 5:18)!
Lord Jesus, continue to give me words to speak boldly and bluntly (Ephesians 6:20) to today’s church that is filled with liars and those who love their lies. The purpose is that they would repent. Make it so, I pray. Amen.