How Do You Respond to the Word of God?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king took a knife and cut off that section of the scroll. He then threw it into the fire, section by section, until the whole scroll was burned up.

Jeremiah 36:23

Jeremiah 36 tells the story of something that happened around 604 B.C., after Jeremiah had been prophesying for over two decades. The Lord told him to write down all of his messages against Israel (36:2). Perhaps the combined impact of these prophecies would lead the people to repent (36:3).

But Jeremiah was in prison at the time, so he summoned his assistant, Baruch, who wrote down Jeremiah’s messages and read them to the Jews during a sacred holiday (36:8-9). The people, including many of the leaders, were struck by Jeremiah’s words, and realized that they needed to relate them to King Jehoiakim (36:16). They also realized that the king would be none too happy with what he heard, so they encouraged Baruch and Jeremiah to hide (36:19).

Jehoiakim had one of his servants read the scroll of Jeremiah’s prophecies out loud. As he listened, the king would take a knife and cut off portions of the scroll, burning them in the fire that the king used to warm himself (36:21-23). Jehoiakim showed no interest in hearing God’s word through Jeremiah: “Neither the king nor his attendants showed any signs of fear or repentance at what they heard” (36:24).

If you’re receiving these Reflections, you surely care deeply about Scripture and its truth. I doubt that you’d be tempted to imitate Jehoiakim in any literal way. But there are parts of God’s Word that are difficult to hear. Yes, it is full of good news and reassurance. But it is also full of corrections and admonitions. Scripture cuts to the heart of our sin, calling us to repentance. And sometimes we’d rather not listen to such challenges. At least I’ll admit that sometimes I’d rather not pay attention to the parts of the Bible that unsettle me. So, though I’d never actually cut them out of the Bible and burn them in my fireplace, I do tend to ignore them.

The example of Jehoiakim prompts me to consider my response to Scripture. Am I willing to listen to all that God wants to say to me? Am I open to hearing God’s Word when it makes me uncomfortable? When it challenges me to turn from my sin? When it calls me to offer my whole self to God in grateful obedience?

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What about you? Are you open to hearing all that God would say to you through his Word? When are you tempted to ignore parts of Scripture? Is there something God has been saying to you recently that you’re trying to ignore right now? What will you do about this?

PRAYER: O Lord, I would never be so open as Jehoiakim in my rejection of your Word. Indeed, you know that, for the most part, I really do want to hear what you have to say to me. But there are times, Lord, when I don’t want to hear you, times when your truth makes me uncomfortable, when it calls for sacrifice, when it confronts me with the sin I’d much rather ignore.

By your grace, give me an open mind and heart to hear your Word, all of it. May I never be like Jehoiakim, refusing to hear what you want to say to me.

I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.