36 When Jehoiakim (son of Josiah) was in his fourth year as king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Eternal.
Though prophecy is primarily oral, eventually Jeremiah’s companion, Baruch, records Jeremiah’s sermons and actions on a scroll that in turn becomes critical.
Eternal One(to Jeremiah):2 Write down on a scroll all that I have told you over the years about Israel, Judah, and the surrounding nations. Start with the first words I gave you when Josiah was king, and include every message up to the present. 3 Maybe when the people of Judah hear all of it together—every disaster that I will bring upon them—maybe then they will turn from their wicked ways so that I can forgive their sins and wrongdoings.
4 So Jeremiah called for Baruch (son of Neriah) to help him. Jeremiah then dictated the messages and prophecies the Eternal had given him while Baruch wrote it all down on a scroll.
Jeremiah(to Baruch):5 Since I am prohibited from going to the Eternal’s temple, 6 you must go for me. Go to the temple on a fasting day; and once you are there, read the Eternal’s words from the scroll just as I dictated them to you. That way, people from all the towns of Judah who have gathered for the holiday will hear this message from Him. 7 Maybe they will turn from their wicked ways and seek the Eternal’s forgiveness, because they will realize His great anger and wrath are coming their way.
It is 605 b.c., many years before the siege and fall of Jerusalem. But the increasing power of Babylon is casting its shadow across the region. Egypt has been defeated by Nebuchadnezzar at the battle of Carchemish. The warning signs are clear—Judah is at risk and must heed the words of God’s prophet while there is still time. The following is an account that takes place during this pivotal time, when Judah still has hope. But the reaction of King Jehoiakim—perhaps the fiercest opponent to Jeremiah’s ministry—begins to seal not only his own fate but also his people’s. If they had hope, it quickly fades with his arrogant and outrageous actions. The lesson for this evil king and his people is clear: The power of God’s word always prevails, even when others attempt to destroy it.
8 Baruch (son of Neriah) did everything Jeremiah the prophet told him to do; he went to the Eternal’s temple, stood among the crowds there, and read from the scroll the words of the Eternal.
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