Read & Study the Bible Online - Bible Portal

Jeremiah 36:5-21 - Homiletics

The reading of the roll.

I. THE READER . Baruch, the secretary of Jeremiah, is sent to read the roll. We do not know what cause detains the prophet. He has often made bold utterances in public before this. But if he cannot go the truth must not be hidden. "The Word of God is not bound" ( 2 Timothy 2:9 ). Truth is more important than the speaker. It matters little who is the messenger; all importance attaches to the message. Men forget this when they run after a Jeremiah and neglect a Baruch, though the scribe may be the bearer of the prophet's teachings. We should recollect how much more important the gospel preached is than the man who preaches it. If a Chrysostom, a Paul, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel but the true gospel of Christ, "let him be anathema." But if Christ is proclaimed, we must be thankful for that, though the preacher and his conduct may not quite approve themselves to us ( Philippians 1:18 ). Perhaps it was best that the prophet should not appear in person to repeat his message. His presence might reuse personal feelings to the neglect of bin message. He desired the truth to carry its own fair weight. Baruch did his work bravely and modestly. In repeating the prophet's unpopular words, he would invite the odium that attached to them to pass on to himself. But his duty was to read the roll. God would see to the consequences. With this courage there was a remarkable modesty. The occasion was a tempting opportunity for Baruch to exercise his own powers by way of comment of addition. But he said nothing beyond what was written in the roll. He knew his place. The scribe is not a prophet. Why should not the great sermons of great preachers be sometimes read in our churches?

II. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE READING . The roll was read to three audiences.

1 . The people (verses 9, 10). The Bible is a book for the people, not for the priests or the learned only. The occasion of that reading was "a fasting day" (vex. 6). Then the people would be in the best mood for receiving the call to repentance. We should learn to speak "in season." The place of the reading was the temple (verse 10). Instruction should be associated with worship.

2 . The princes (verses 11-19). Divine truth is of importance to all classes. They who are in responsible positions are especially called upon to study the signs of the times.

3 . The king (verses 20 , 21). It was necessary that what concerned the fate of the kingdom should receive the most careful consideration of its monarch. Even kings must bow before the utterance of truth. A prophet can speak with authority to a king.

III. THE EFFECT OF READING . The effect on the people is not here indicated. Probably little moral good came of it; but there was evidently some impression made if the feelings of one man, Michaiah, may be taken in illustration. This man was so much stirred by what he heard that he immediately reported it to the princes at the court (verses 11-13). From this report other consequences flowed. If but one man out of a great congregation is seriously impressed by a sermon, that sermon has not failed; possibly through the one man it may be instrumental in effecting vast and lasting good. When the roll was read to the princes they were first dismayed (verse 16). How graphic is that picture of the great men of the kingdom as "they turned shuddering one to another," terrified and confounded by the prophet's words! Perhaps some of them had heard the same words before unmoved. The time may come when the most hardened will be roused. The terror of princes might be a wholesome beginning of a genuine repentance. But if no appropriate action followed, it would soon die away, leaving the conscience the more hardened and demoralized. We need to "bring forth fruits meet for repentance." The princes inquired as to the origin of the roll. Were its words true? On what authority were they written? Such inquiries are reasonable. We should have a reason for accepting what we believe to be a Divine message. Yet it is dangerous to divert attention from the moral weight of truth by too much intellectual criticism about literary curiosities. The princes reported the matter to the king with a warning to Baruch—patriotic and generous conduct. The king's reception of the book was very different. Unlike the princes, who neither accepted the message without question, nor rejected it for its unpleasant contents, but inquired calmly and carefully as to the authority of it, Jehoiakim flew into a rage and hastily destroyed it. What an act of supreme folly! The truth was not the less important because the record of it was burnt. "We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth" ( 2 Corinthians 13:8 ).

Be the first to react on this!

Scroll to Top

Group of Brands