Last Sunday’s sermon was taken from Jeremiah 36 and you can listen to it here.
In the days of King Jehoiakim, Jeremiah sent his scribe to read to the people in the temple a message from God. Eventually, that message was brought to the King and his response was not too different from the response many people, both inside and outside of the Church, have today…he took a knife to it. Whether people do this literally or figuratively, they cut out from their life words that they find offensive, insignificant, or of no use in their opinion.
As you read Jeremiah 36, you will notice that God sends a message to the people which might cause them to change their ways. This message is heard by some God-fearing men who then want the message read to the King. Jehoiakim, on the other hand, as he listened to the scroll being read to him, took a knife and, every so often, cut what had been read from the scroll and burned it. God told Jeremiah to have it rewritten and added more words to it-specifically condemnation of Jehoiakim.
So what can we learn from this? Here are a few lessons.
First, God is a merciful God who wants all to be saved. Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom 10:17) and so God sent His word to the people and to the king with the hope that they would repent. If you read from 2 kings 22, you will see what happened when Jehoiakim’s father Josiah had God’s word read to him; he humbled himself and made reforms to cause the people to serve God. God’s word will lead us in the ways we should go, if we will only humble ourselves, listen and do.
Second, God’s word remains. Even though Jehoiakim cut and burned the scroll with God’s word on it, God had it rewritten. 1 Peter 1:22-25 tell us that God’s word lives forever. It is relevant and is able to save us. We can try to fight against it but there is no way to change it, it will either change us…or we will break ourselves against it.
Third, people today fight against what the Scriptures say and cut out or ignore God’s word. Here are somethings they do:
- Ignore God’s plan of salvation- Mk 16:15-16, Acts 2:38, 2 Thes 1:8
- Ignore God’s plan for marriage-Eph 5:22-33
- Ignore God’s plan for assembling with the saints- Heb 10:24-25
- Ignore God’s plan for modesty- 1 tim 2:9-10
And many other passages people cut out of their life and ignore. However, God’s word is still there. Perhaps if we would spend more time reading it and doing it, our lives would be more at peace….Certainly, we would be more at peace with God.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Gen 3:6)
What I had not noticed until recently was that God had already put in the garden trees good for food and pleasant to the eyes. The difference from this tree and the others was that the tree God had forbidden, was forbidden for their own good. They had the food that they needed.
And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen 2:9)
Have you noticed that after the garden, God provides our food and clothing? Before that, it was just food. (there is another post idea here)
I read a post just yesterday that was written by a woman, to women, about the clothing they wear and the need to be careful. One of her points was about the sales pitch that the world uses to entice women to buy the latest fashions, many of which are not modest. There are, of course, many clothing styles that are beautiful and modest but sometimes some Christian sisters are drawn in by the flash of the immodest. They don’t use the judgement that they could. Her post is worth reading: http://womenlivingwell.org/2012/06/i-was-confronted-for-being-immodest/
In a similar way Satan caused Eve to focus on the one tree, enticed by its single benefit of making her wise, but still suddenly all the other trees paled in comparison. This tree would satisfy her hunger. This tree was beautiful to look at. This tree would make her like God. Eve, what was wrong with the other trees?
This is not a problem only for women. The world is constantly trying to get us to go for the bigger, better, badder, newer things. The truth is though, that generally, what we already have is good enough. It is a shame when Christians do not thing that good is good enough because that is what God saw about his creation as each day went by: He saw that it was good.
Now Satan comes along and says “I have the new and improved world, mine is better”.
Between you and me, I will take God’s “good” over Satan’s “better”