36 In the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah and all the other nations from the time I began speaking to you in the reign of Josiah till now. 3 Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, they will each turn from their wicked ways; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin.”
4 So Jeremiah called Baruch son of Neriah, and while Jeremiah dictated all the words the Lord had spoken to him, Baruch wrote them on the scroll. 5 Then Jeremiah told Baruch, “I am restricted; I am not allowed to go to the Lord’s temple. 6 So you go to the house of the Lord on a day of fasting and read to the people from the scroll the words of the Lord that you wrote as I dictated. Read them to all the people of Judah who come in from their towns. 7 Perhaps they will bring their petition before the Lord and will each turn from their wicked ways, for the anger and wrath pronounced against this people by the Lord are great.”
(Jeremiah 36:1-7 NIV)
Chapter 36 is another account of the Lord working during King Jehoiakim’s reign. While Chapter 35 was fairly vague in dates and timeframe, Chapter 36 is very particular (v. 1).
To help set the context of today’s passage, remember that Judah was a vassal nation under Egyptian rule. Nebuchadnezzar had risen to power in Babylon after his father died. Nebuchadnezzar sent his army and defeated the Egyptians at the Battle of Carchemish. About the time of this passage, Nebuchadnezzar’s army also defeated the Philistines at Ashkelon.
With his political allies gone and the buffer of the surrounding nations being removed by the Babylonian army, things were not looking positive for King Jehoiakim or the nation of Judah. The day of fasting mentioned in verse 6 was likely in response to these rapidly deteriorating political and military conditions.
In verse 2, the Lord told Jeremiah to write down all the words that He had spoken to Jeremiah since the days of King Josiah. The Lord hoped (v. 3) that the promises of destruction would cause the nation of Judah to repent and turn back to Him.
In verse 4, Jeremiah obeys the Lord and enlists the help of his friend Baruch to act as scribe and record all the words of the Lord that Jeremiah dictated to him. Baruch’s name means “Blessed”, and Jeremiah was truly blessed to have a faithful friend like Baruch.
After the work was complete, Jeremiah faced his dilemma. The words were written down, but Jeremiah’s ban from the Temple prevented him from delivering the message to the people of Judah. The text does not say why Jeremiah was banned from the temple, but it was likely due to the infamous Temple message that Jeremiah delivered at the beginning of King Jehoiakim’s reign (chapter 26).
In verse 6, Jeremiah solves the dilemma by sending his scribe Baruch to read the words in the Temple. Like the Lord, Jeremiah hopes that the people will respond to the Lord when they hear what the Lord will do to bring the people back to Himself. (v. 7).
May we listen to and obey the words of the Lord in our day and share God’s Word with others around us. Who knows how the Lord will work and touch the lives of others with the Good News of the Gospel?
May we take some time to thank the Lord for faithful friends like Baruch who have dedicated themselves to the Lord and choose to walk with us along life’s journey. The Lord did not intend for us to live this life in isolation. He gives us a community to encourage and be encouraged, to multiply joys and divide the burden of sorrows, and the Holy Spirit to knit our hearts together in union with the Trinity and each other.