By Rev. Alvan Bond, DD., 1878.
“During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.” (1). The 1st Holy Temple constructed in c: 957 B.C. by King Solomon, was destroyed by the Babylonians in c: 586 B.C. (2). The 2nd Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.
The Prophet Jeremiah:
“ONCE again, God told Jeremiah to warn the people of their sins, and of the punishments that were soon coming upon them. Jeremiah (born c: 655 B.C. — died c: 586 B.C.; both dates will vary, depending on the well-meaning opinion of others) was now to write the warning *in the roll of a book. It was written in mercy. God was still willing to spare His rebellious people if they would turn to Him. He said, “It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I propose to do unto them; that they may return, every man from his evil way, that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.” How merciful and patient God is!
Jeremiah called one of his friends, a good man named Baruch, and asked him to write upon a roll all the words which God commanded. Jeremiah spoke the words, and Baruch wrote them down in the roll. When the book was finished, Jeremiah said to Baruch, “I am shut up; I cannot go to the house of the Lord. Go thou and read the roll which thou hast written to all the people in the Lord’s house.
Perhaps they will attend to the warning, and turn from their wicked ways; and then God will forgive and spare them.” Baruch did as Jeremiah commanded. He went to the gate of the Lord’s house, and there he read the roll to all the people. One of the men who heard the roll read was very attentive to the warning which God sent; and he went directly to the king’s house, and told the princes all he had heard. Then the princes wanted to hear the roll too; so they sent for Baruch and asked him to sit down and read the book to them.
The princes listened very attentively while Baruch was reading; and when he had finished, they said, “How didst thou write all these words?” Then Baruch answered, “Jeremiah pronounced the words, and I wrote them as he commanded, with ink in the book.” Then the princes said, “Go and hide, both thou and Jeremiah, and we will tell the king about the roll which we have heard. He ought to know the warning which God has sent to us.”
So the princes took the roll and put it in a safe place; and Baruch returned to Jeremiah, and told him to hide himself; and then the princes went to the king Jehoiakim, and spoke to him of the fearful things they had heard. Jehoiakim did not care for God’s word, but he was curious to see the roll, and to know what Jeremiah had written; so he sent a messenger to fetch it. It was winter; and king Jehoiakim was sitting in his winter-house with all his princes, and nobles, and servants round him; and the fire was burning on the hearth.
The messenger soon came back, bringing the roll in his hand; and the king commanded him to read it aloud before all the company. Then the messenger began to read the fearful warning which was written in the roll. But when he had read two or three leaves, the wicked king began to be very angry with what he heard. He did not like to be told of his sins, and of the punishments which were coming upon him and his kingdom. He did not attend humbly to God’s merciful warning; nor repent, nor weep, as good king Josiah had done, when he heard God’s law.
No,—in his anger, Jehoiakim seized the roll, and cut it in pieces with his penknife, and threw it into the fire. Some of the princes begged the king not to burn the roll; but he would not attend to them. Then Jehoiakim sent some of his servants to take Jeremiah and Baruch; but God Himself hid those good men, and their enemies could not find them.
Jehoiakim had burnt the roll, but he could not destroy the truth of God’s word: he only brought worse evils upon himself. God told Jeremiah to take a new roll, and to write on it all the words of the first roll which the king had burnt. And God sent Jeremiah with a dreadful message to Jehoiakim. This was the message : “Thus saith the Lord, of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, I will punish him and his servants for their iniquity, and I will bring upon them, and upon Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them.” Then Jeremiah took a new roll and gave it to Baruch: and Baruch wrote in it all the words of the first roll as Jeremiah had told him. And many new words were added in this new roll. And they were dreadful words; words of anger and threatening against the wicked king, and his wicked people.
How fearful it is to despise God’s words and God’s warnings!
Sinners cannot resist the power of God. If He says He will punish His enemies, He will surely do it. They may try to fight against Him; they may try to destroy His word and His people, but they cannot prevail. God is stronger than they; He must conquer at last; and then where will His enemies be? What will become of those who now despise Him?
The Bible tells us what words God himself has pronounced against them. “Because I called and ye refused; and set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity: I will mock when your fear cometh. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me, but they shall not find me; because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord.” Prov. 1. 25-30.–Young People’s Illustrated Bible History; By Rev. Alvan Bond, DD., 1793-1882. Who was Nebuchadnezzar?