Denial Ain’t Just a River in Egypt (or Babylon)

(Today's post by Chris Queen)

Jeremiah 36

We live in a world where too many people try to ignore their problems in the hopes that the trouble will just go away. Whether a relationship issue, financial stress, or deeper spiritual matters, we can see that denial is too common of a problem.

All throughout the book of Jeremiah, we see the Israelites – especially the kings – denying the prophecies God brings through Jeremiah. In chapter 36, the Lord commands Jeremiah to dictate a prophecy onto a scroll for the king, who demonstrated denial in a tangible way:

20 After they put the scroll in the room of Elishama the secretary, they went to the king in the courtyard and reported everything to him. 21 The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and Jehudi brought it from the room of Elishama the secretary and read it to the king and all the officials standing beside him. 22 It was the ninth month and the king was sitting in the winter apartment, with a fire burning in the firepot in front of him. 23 Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribe’s knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire. 24 The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes. 25 Even though Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26 Instead, the king commanded Jerahmeel, a son of the king, Seraiah son of Azriel and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet. But the Lord had hidden them.

God instructed Jeremiah to reiterate His prophecies and add to them:

27 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: 28 “Take another scroll and write on it all the words that were on the first scroll, which Jehoiakim king of Judah burned up. 29 Also tell Jehoiakim king of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord says: You burned that scroll and said, “Why did you write on it that the king of Babylon would certainly come and destroy this land and wipe from it both man and beast?” 30 Therefore this is what the Lord says about Jehoiakim king of Judah: He will have no one to sit on the throne of David; his body will be thrown out and exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night. 31 I will punish him and his children and his attendants for their wickedness; I will bring on them and those living in Jerusalem and the people of Judah every disaster I pronounced against them, because they have not listened.’ ”

32 So Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote on it all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them.

King Jehoiakim chose to deny what God had to say about the consequences of Israel’s sins, but that didn’t prevent the prophecies from coming true.

God wants to help us with our problems, and sometimes that means us simply facing them. Ignoring or denying our troubles won’t make them go away, especially when we have a Source for our help. Don’t just let problems go. Turn them over to God, and let Him help you face them.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

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