Do you suppose that the king thought that by burning the words of God in the fire (36:23) that he could nullify them? There are people today with the same attitude. Remember this action on behalf of the king when you read later the things that happened to him. Those who do not fear God, nor heed His words, will have great reason to fear, tremble, and suffer–both in this life and in the life to come. The king also tried to seize and punish Baruch and Jeremiah, the righteous men who had gotten God’s words to him, but God hid them from him (36:26).
God had Jeremiah and Baruch rewrite the words and added a message to the king. We don’t know if it caused fear, but we do know that God can “torture” a person much better than we could ever dream. Thankfully we never know the horrors of the minds who reject Him. The pleasures of righteousness are ours.
What is it that causes people who despise God and His message to send to a holy person to ask for prayer on their behalf (37:3)? Arrogance, self-pride, ignorance, stupidity, or what? I think I’d pray “sic ‘em, God! Give them what they need!” He knows whether they will be saved or not. Either way they will be uncomfortable with their evil.
Remember the property God told Jeremiah to buy from his cousin? So when he went to do whatever needed done on the property his enemies claimed he was surrendering to the Chaldeans! (37:11-14). Righteous people are still being falsely imprisoned and tortured for Christ today. Check out “Voice of the Martyrs” for information on how you can help. Their website is www.persecution.com. The founder wrote a book titled: “Tortured for Christ.” It was so fascinating that I read it in one evening.
Although Jeremiah pleads for his life (better quarters) when he is called before the king, he is also bold. He tells the king what God has said will happen to him and he demands to know “where are all your prophets who prophesied falsely?” (37:17-20).
I am sure that Jeremiah’s words from God for people to capitulate to the enemy to save their lives sounded like sedition to the “authorities” of Jerusalem. But if they had paused to ask God, they would have known the truth. Instead they wanted to kill the messenger (38:1-6). The king seems not to have had a strong personality or decision-making abilities at all. He bent to the will of whoever questioned him. Nothing like Esther’s king.
Do you suppose the king thought that if he just waited long enough God would “come around” and save him and Jerusalem? Despite all the many warnings to the contrary? And despite that fact that neither he nor his people seem to have repented in any way? (38:14-16). It sounds to me like God was forcing the king to humble himself (38:17-18). But he would not obey, so God humbled him instead. Apparently the man had no honor. He had to know what the Babylonians would do to the women and the men, but he refused to obey God’s commands (38:21-23). “Oh, and by the way Jeremiah, don’t tell ANYONE else what you’ve told me and I’ll see you’re not killed” (38:24-26).
Psalm 119: “Teach me Thy statutes. Make me understand the way of Thy precepts, so I will meditate on Thy wonders” (26b-27). “Because I put Your words first, do not let me be shamed” (30-31).