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Saturday, May 25th, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 36

Sermon Bible CommentarySermon Bible Commentary

Verse 23

Jeremiah 36:23

I. Why has God given us the Bible? Not to bewilder us, not to tempt our curiosity, not to found rival sects, but to bring us to Himself to obtain forgiveness of iniquity and sin. The one object of the Bible is the salvation of mankind.

II. Man is so unwilling to hear anything unpleasant or disagreeable about himself that he gets into a wrong temper before he actually knows what God's object is. Jehoiakim did not hear the whole roll. Did any man ever destroy the Bible who knew it wholly? The difficulty is in the "three or four leaves."

III. Men have not destroyed revelation when they have destroyed the Bible. The penknife cannot reach its spirit, the fire cannot touch its life. The history of the Bible is one of the proofs of its inspiration.

IV. The desire to cut the Bible with the penknife and to cast it into the fire, is quite intelligible, because in a sense profoundly natural.

V. This desire to mutilate the Holy Word shows itself in various ways, some of them apparently innocent*; others of them dignified with fine names, and claiming attention as the last developments of human progress. Human nature shows itself most vividly in the treatment of the Bible.

Parker, The Ark of God, p. 217; see also Penny Pulpit, No. 899.

Notice some lessons which this subject suggests.

I. Those who in their early days have resisted holy influences, generally turn out the most wicked of men. When a man deliberately tramples on conviction, and resists the dealings of God's spirit, he uses the most effectual means to sear his conscience and harden his heart.

II. If a man's religion is not genuine and heart deep, it often happens that troubles and calamities only drive him further away from God. What effect had all his misfortunes and disasters on Jehoiakim? Did they soften him? Did they incline him to a better course of life? Not a bit. He grew worse than ever.

III. As the heart gets hardened in sin, there is a growing unwillingness to listen to the voice of God. As soon as a young man begins an evil course, and resolves to take his fill of sinful pleasures, he acquires a hatred of his Bible, and a disinclination to attend the house of God. If he cannot silence God's ministers, he will keep as far as possible from them, and shut his ears against all good counsel.

J. Thain Davidson, The City Youth, p. 225.

References: Jeremiah 36:3 . Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 551.Jeremiah 36:22 , Jeremiah 36:23 . J. Cox, Expositions, 2nd series, p. 192.Jeremiah 36:23 . Preacher's Monthly, vol. iv., p. 231; D. Moore, Penny Pulpit, No. 3504.

Verse 24

Jeremiah 36:24

The conduct which we read of in the text seems to be nothing out of the way, nothing strange, nothing which we cannot enter into and cannot explain, but only an instance of what goes on now, and always has gone on since the beginning of the world; it is an instance of the hardening power of sin.

I. This is what makes a sin, even a little sin, enormously great when considered as the seed of the whole crop of sins afterwards, even as a single seed of the wrong kind may be enough to overrun a field with thistles. A single sin is but the leader of a whole band, and when once the barrier has been broken, a legion of others swarm in; and a single sin is but the beginning of the hardening process, is but the beginning of a state of disease which ends in utter blindness and want of feeling. This I understand by the deceitfulness of sin to which the Apostle refers its hardening power; it is deceitful because what we call a small sin appears trifling, because we judge of sins merely in ourselves, without considering to what they lead; if in war a general were to see a few of the enemy's soldiers straggling over the hills, he might say that they were so few that they were not worth considering, but would he say so? or would he not rather look upon them as the forerunners of a great army; would he not prepare at once to resist the hosts of enemies which he must know lurked behind? In like manner the sins of childhood are the forerunners of the great army of the world, the flesh, and the devil, which comes up in maturer years; and the only safe course is to look upon no sin as trifling, but to root out every enemy, whether small or great, lest perhaps we allow our enemy to gain such strength as shall end in our overthrow.

II. There is such a thing as being gospel-hardened; there is such a thing as listening to God's word, and to preaching, without doing, until the sound of the most solemn truths becomes as useless as that of a tinkling cymbal, until the sword of the Spirit is unable to cut or pierce. Persons who have become thus are like the king of Judah and his servants, who hear the threatened vengeance of Almighty God, and yet are not afraid, nor rend their garments.

Bishop Harvey Goodwin, Parish Sermons, 1st series, p. 222.

References: Jeremiah 36:24 . J. E. Vaux, Sermon Notes, 2nd series, p. 36; Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times," vol. i., p. 177.

Verse 32

Jeremiah 36:32

I. Baruch, the friend and amanuensis of Jeremiah, was directed in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to write all the prophecies of Jeremiah delivered up to that period, and to read them to the people, which he did, from a window in the Temple, on two solemn occasions. But where was Jeremiah himself? He was under sentence of death, and the people were infuriated against him. He was in so much danger from the animosity of his opponents that it would have been imprudent for him to appear in public. This prudence was indeed one of the marks of Jeremiah's piety, as well as his wisdom. Our life and health are not our own. We are stewards of God, and to Him we are accountable for the preservation of the life which He has given us until the time shall come when He shall Himself take it.

II. Baruch could probably perform the work in hand better than Jeremiah himself. Had Jeremiah appeared in public, the people would have been so exasperated that they would not even have heard him, for he would have come before them as one under sentence of death, and in defiance of the advice of those powerful friends who would by his conduct have been equally with himself exposed to danger. Wisdom and sound policy are parts of piety. We are not only to do the work which is providentially assigned to us, but to do it in the best and most effective manner.

III. Jeremiah foretold destruction to the city unless the people amended their ways. The people did not deny that l Jeremiah was an inspired prophet, but they would not heed what he said, and seemed to think that if they prohibited him from speaking, or if they destroyed his book, they would be exempted from responsibility or danger. But the decree of God remained; the words of Jeremiah were fearfully fulfilled. The fact remains the same, whether we believe it or not. The Bible and the preacher do not alter the fact or make the fact.

W. F. Hook, Parish Sermons, p. 165.

References: Jeremiah 36:32 . J. Keble, Sermons for Sundays after Trinity, Part II., p. 176. Jeremiah 38:6 . J. Kennedy, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 124.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Jeremiah 36". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sbc/jeremiah-36.html.
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