Jeremiah was a bullfrog? - Part 3
Burn Baby Burn!
(You can find a recording of this sermon here.)
This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.
[Hey, just before you jump into this TB, let me remind you that Ken Vissers (one of our International workers from Honduras) will be with us on Sunday, Oct. 28th. He will be meeting with people that may be interested in one of the missions trips this February or March, after both services. Mark your calendar!]
Ever been guilty of letting the word of God “go to pot”? Read Jeremiah 36 and especially note v.20-26 - Jehoiakim had been King in Judah for about 5 years when Jeremiah emailed him the scroll of his prophesies. The news was not good - Jehoiakim did not like what he read so he burned it in a firepot in his winter apartment.
As a group or on your own read the entire chapter to get the context of what is going on. On Sunday we had said that Babylon (under Nebuchadnezzar) was threatening Judah… they were hot on their trail. In addition to the outside threat, Jehoiakim had to deal with this text that was declaring Judah would go into captivity because they were unrepentant.
As you read this story in the larger context see the contrasts that the writer wants us to see.
Read chapter 35 and note the contrast between the Rechabites and Judah.
Read 2 Kings 22:11 (about Josiah discovering the word of the Lord 17 years earlier) and compare with Jeremiah 36:24
Read Daniel 1:1-6 and note the contrast of Daniel, a man who honored the word, and Jehoiakim his ex-king.
Read Daniel 2:46-47 and note that after a series of experiences even Nebuchadnezzar, Jehoiakim’s captor, surrenders to God and His word.
These are interesting contrasts that show even more clearly how hard Jehoiakim’s heart was.
What is the application for us today?
Here is the big idea I took away from this text on Sunday - Don’t let God’s Word go to pot!
Here is the question that I think we need to ask as we reflect on this story. What text(s) am I burning?... What is in my firepot these days?... Are we really that much different than Jehoiakim in his winter apartment?... Do we have a tendency to burn, alter, or deny the authority of the word of God?... Mad because we think it is wrong?... Mad because it’s actually right? If we were to look into the firepot what text might be sitting there smoldering?
Today, how do we “burn” the text in our response to it?
Sometimes we just outright disagree. There might be the same anger and obstinacy as with Jehoiakim - burn baby burn! Ever gone through a season where you were clearly angry at God’s word and refused to obey it? How did that get resolved?
Perhaps our “burning” is more subtle - we selectively read the text. It is a friendly bonfire around the firepot. We have other firepot owners that, along with roasting marshmallows, burn various texts. We say to ourselves that we are smarter than the word of God; that we are more sophisticated, more learned. We find others like us who subtly celebrate smoldering texts in the firepot.
We have replaced the old camp song- “It only takes a spark to get a fire burning” with “It only takes a spark to get a text burning….and soon all those around will warm up to its glowing…”
Take some time to ask the question, “which texts am I burning?” Our refusal to walk in the word is the modern-day equivalent of burning. You can read through the texts we read on Sunday and see if any of these have burnt edges.
1 Cor 6:18-20, Matthew 7:1-5, Hebrews 10:24,25, Psalm 1:1-3, Eph 5:18, Col 3:9, Phil 4:8, Matthew 6:25-27.
The final point to consider is found in how this chapter ends (read 36:27-32). The fact is that we can reject the word of God, but that doesn’t change the facts. You can burn the Scripture but you cannot destroy the word of God. You can deny gravity all you want but next time you jump get ready for a big smack down! Truth is truth!
Yemelian Yaroslavsky said” Christianity is like a nail, the harder you strike it the deeper it goes.” No amount of denial, burning, or editing will change God’s truth.
I want to encourage you to study God’s word and below you’ll find a great tool to help you with this. I encourage you to take time each day to invest in God’s word. Why, you might ask? Because along with the other 65 books of the Bible, God’s word was designed to help shipwrecked people find their way home.
Don’t burn it, live by it!
If interested in joining or starting a small group contact firstname.lastname@example.org
S for Scripture
Select the book of the bible that you might want to start reading. Take time reading and allow God to speak to you. When you are done, look for a verse that particularly spoke to you that day, and write it in your journal.
O for Observation
What do you think God is saying to you in this scripture? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal Jesus to you. Paraphrase and write this scripture down in your own words, in your journal.
A for Application
Personalize what you have read, by asking yourself how it applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or corrections for a particular area of your life. Write how this scripture can apply to you today.
P for Prayer
This can be as simple as asking God to help you use this scripture, or it may be a greater insight on what He may be revealing to you. Remember, prayer is a two way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say! Now, write it out.