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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Two Responses to the Word of God (Jeremiah 36:23-24)

"Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribe's knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire. The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes."

Fear burned in the hearts of the temple officials as Baruch read Jeremiah's message to them. They responded by telling Jeremiah and Baruch to hide. The king differed, however, in his response. He burned the scroll piece by piece. Instead of burning in fear his heart and the hearts of his attendants hardened in cold indifference as "they showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes." Jeremiah's message of coming judgment fell on deaf ears and hard hearts.

The Word of God falls on the ears of two types of people:
  • Those who hear with glad and even fearful reception
  • Those who hear with angry and cold rejection
The Word of God speaks and demands a response from its hearers. Proud people think they are immune to judgment as they hide behind their positions and their self-righteousness while humble people face their guilt and turn to the Lord in contrition. Sadly, there is no help for the person who hardens their heart to God's Word. Like the king, hearers may burn God's Word to them, but one day His searing Word will burn them. 

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
2 Kings 24:1-4; 2 Chronicles 36:6-7; Daniel 1:1-2
  • What is the underlying cause of Nebuchadnezzar's invasion of Judah?
Jeremiah 36:1-32; Jeremiah 25:1-38; Jeremiah 45:1-5
  • What was the LORD's goal in having Jeremiah preach of approaching disaster?
  • How do Jehoiakim's officials differ from the king and his attendants in their response to Baruch's reading of Jeremiah's message?
  • How would you describe the LORD's relationship with Israel during Jeremiah's ministry?
  • Why do you think the LORD tells Judah that they will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years?
  • How would you describe Jeremiah's ministry?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the LORD to help you to hear and respond to the Word in faith and humility.