This message for all the people of Judah came to Jeremiah from the Lord during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign over Judah. This was the year when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon began his reign. Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people in Judah and Jerusalem, “For the past twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until now—the Lord has been giving me his messages. I have faithfully passed them on to you, but you have not listened. Jeremiah 25:1-3 NLT
During the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king in Judah, the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “Get a scroll, and write down all my messages against Israel, Judah, and the other nations. Begin with the first message back in the days of Josiah, and write down every message, right up to the present time. Perhaps the people of Judah will repent when they hear again all the terrible things I have planned for them. Then I will be able to forgive their sins and wrongdoings.”
So Jeremiah sent for Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated all the prophecies that the Lord had given him, Baruch wrote them on a scroll. Jeremiah 36:1-4
I researched scrolls and found that at the time mentioned above they would have been papyrus sections that were about 10 inches high and glued together into a length of up to 30 feet. They were rolled lengthwise around 2 pieces of wood. Writing would be in columns from top to bottom from right to left, and would be read as the papyrus was rolled off of the left stick and rolled up on the right. I can only imagine the amount of time and effort it took to complete the whole process.
It had to be very discouraging for Jeremiah when all that God had given him to warn the people about came true in the first invasion when Nebuchadnezzar took many, including Ezekiel, Daniel and others, to exile in Babylon. Although there were those who had listened and believed what God had said, the majority had not. And still those left in Jerusalem didn’t listen to God’s message through Jeremiah. All that changed, were the people in charge.
The following message came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah. This was also the eighteenth year of the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem was then under siege from the Babylonian army, and Jeremiah was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace. King Zedekiah had put him there, asking why he kept giving this prophecy: “This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will take it. King Zedekiah will be captured by the Babylonians and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and I will deal with him there,’ says the Lord. ‘If you fight against the Babylonians, you will never succeed.’” Jeremiah 32:1-5
When I think of all that is available in the Bible and how easily I can move from Genesis to Revelation to see and hear from God his desires for me in both love and discipline, I wonder why I am so slow to live into what he calls me to be and do. These weeks of study in Jeremiah have given me a new perspective on Hebrews 11:1, “ Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
As we move toward Good Friday, take time to ponder and be encouraged by the faithfulness and perseverance of Jeremiah and how his life points us to our savior, Jesus Christ.