Jeremiah 36:27-28 After the king burned the scroll containing the words that Baruch had written at Jeremiah’s dictation, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: “Take another scroll and write on it all the words that were on the first scroll, which Jehoiakim king of Judah burned up.”
We smile when we see young children putting their hands in front of their faces in an attempt to hide from us, thinking that if they can’t see us we can’t see them! But this obviously futile artifice is no different from King Jehoiakim of Judah’s attempt to escape God’s wrath and judgement by burning, section by section as he read it, the scroll on which Baruch had written the judgement at Jeremiah’s dictation! How much more sensible it would have been for him to actually DO what the words required and throw himself humbly on God’s love/grace/mercy – his covenant ‘chesed’ – and thus enjoy all the rich BLESSING the LORD longed to shower upon him!
The LORD’s patient and longsuffering ‘chesed’ is demonstrated so clearly in his instruction to Jeremiah to get Baruch to write it all out again. ‘Killing the messenger’ does not, and indeed cannot, CHANGE the message. YES, our God IS merciful and forgiving, the God-of-the-second-and third-and-…-chance, but why would we be so silly as to presume on his grace and not embrace all the grace-laden BLESSINGS he offers us with forgiveness.
As Charles Wesley pleaded:
All you that pass by, to Jesus draw nigh: to you is it nothing that Jesus should die? Your ransom and peace, your surety he is: come, see if there ever was sorrow like his.
For what you have done his blood must atone: the Father has punished for you his dear Son. The Lord, in the day of his anger, did lay your sins on the Lamb, and he bore them away.
He answered for all: O come at his call, and low at his cross with astonishment fall! But lift up your eyes at Jesus’s cries: impassive, he suffers; immortal, he dies;
He dies to atone for sins not his own; your debt he has paid, and your work he has done. You all may receive the peace he did leave, who made intercession, ‘My Father, forgive!’
For you and for me he prayed on the tree: the prayer is accepted, the sinner is free. That sinner am I, who on Jesus rely, and come for the pardon God cannot deny.
My pardon I claim; for a sinner I am, a sinner believing in Jesus’s name. He purchased the grace which now I embrace: O Father, you know he has died in my place.
His death is my plea; my Advocate see, and hear the blood speak that has answered for me. My ransom he was when he bled on the cross; and by losing his life he hath carried my cause.
I love Wesley’s hymns, and I don’t want to find fault, but describing Christ’s ‘cries of suffering’ as ‘impassive’ seems at odds with the Gospels speak of how he suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane! – perhaps the English word ‘impassive’ has shifted in meaning in the last 250 years? In any case, it is a gospel hymn for sinners in need of the gospel.
– Bruce Christian