"Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll... And Jehudi read it to the king and all the officials who stood beside the king. ...the king was sitting in the winter house, and there was a fire burning in the fire pot before him. As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the fire pot." Jeremiah 36:21-23 This act of disdain for the Word of God was King Jehoiakim’s undoing. It was the last straw, so far as God was concerned. The King was concerned with national security, of course; preserving unity in the face of a threatened invasion. Jeremiah had written that because of their unrepentance, the King of Babylon would come and destroy Jerusalem. Since they would not repent of their sin, they should save themselves the trouble and surrender. King Jehoiakim viewed this as treason. He accused Jeremiah of overstepping his privilege as a Prophet of God by preaching a message that was not approved, that undermined what the King was trying to do to preserve the nation. So he burned the book of Jeremiah, page by page as it was read to him, and then ordered the arrest of Jeremiah and his secretary. The right response on Jehoiakim’s part would have been to humble himself before the Word of God and call his nation to do the same. He might have turned them all to God in repentance and faith and staved off the pending judgment on his people for another generation. Or he might have failed at getting them to turn and even been assassinated by his own officials who disagreed with him. But the choice of his response to God’s Word was his own. It isn’t always easy to choose to do the right thing. Sometimes reason and logic seem to support actions that are clearly contrary to God’s Word. But that’s just because our reason and logic are flawed; God knows more than we do. He doesn’t always explain Himself to us but asks us to trust Him when we think we know better. It’s never wrong to obey God’s Word, trusting in Him. The decision will often be unpopular and get us into trouble with people who disagree with it. But it’s up to us: would we rather please God or man? "You shall have no other gods before me." What does this mean? "We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things." Lord, forgive the many times I have chosen to avoid criticism by disobeying Your Word in my thoughts, words, and deeds. I have even allowed the World to tell me what I should think, rather than your Word. Give me strength to stand for the truth You have revealed and to trust You with the results. Thank You for your forgiveness and mercy. Turn my heart and the hearts of my nation back to You, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Pastor Dan Giles