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July 15, 2023 - Jeremiah 36

Jeremiah sent Baruch into the temple to preach (Jeremiah had been banned from the temple), and the Lord said to him, “It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the disaster that I intend to do to them, so that every one may turn from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin” (36:3). I don’t mean for this to sound irreverent but God just couldn’t seem to help himself. After all the people had done to reject him and his ways, God still reaches out to them. He sends his prophet to them once again. He calls out to the people, and he makes a promise. That is amazing, just amazing.

The words of Jeremiah were then read in the presence of the king, Jehoiakim, and “As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the fire pot. . . . Even when Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them” (36:23,25). This is amazing, just amazing, but in such a different way. To spurn such a gracious offer! Oh, my! And, yet, the offer is right there before Jehoiakim even as it is before all, today. Hear Paul: “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). With repentance and faith come joy, comfort, and eternal life. It is amazing that anyone would refuse such an offer.

Return, O wanderer, return,

And seek thy Father’s face;

Those new desires which in thee burn

Were kindled by his grace.

Return, O wanderer, return,

He hears thy humble sigh;

He sees thy softened spirit mourn

When no one else is nigh.

Return, O wanderer, return,

Thy Saviour bids thee live;

Come to his cross, and grateful learn

How freely he’ll forgive. -- William Bengo Collyer (1812)

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