The Word Must Return: When the Word of the Lord Is Brought Back to the House

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah of the priests of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters thirty-five through thirty-eight of this Old Testament book. HE THAT REMAINETH IN THIS CITY SHALL DIE BY THE SWORD, BY THE FAMINE, AND BY THE PESTILENCE! HE THAT GOETH FORTH TO THE CHALDEANS SHALL LIVE; FOR HE SHALL HAVE HIS LIFE FOR A PREY, AND SHALL LIVE! THIS CITY SHALL SURELY BE GIVEN INTO THE HAND OF THE KING OF BABYLON’S ARMY, WHICH SHALL TAKE IT! LET THIS MAN BE PUT TO DEATH! HE WEAKENETH THE HANDS OF THE MEN OF WAR THA TREMAIN IN THIS CITY, AND THE HANDS OF ALL THE PEOPLE! THIS MAN SEEKETH NOT THE WELFARE OF THIS PEOPLE, BUT THE HURT! [Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire] SO THEY DREW UP JEREMIAH WITH CORDS, AND TOOK HIM UP OUT OF THE DUNGEON! JEREMIAH REMAINED IN THE COURT OF THE PRISON! IF THOU WILT ASSUREDLY GO FORTH UNTO THE KING OF BABYLON’S PRINCES, THEN THY SOUL SHALL LIVE, AND THIS CITY SHALL NOT BE BURNED WITH FIRE; AND THOU SHALT LIVE, AND THINE HOUSE! BUT IF THOU WILT NOT GO FORTH TO THE KING OF BABYLON’S PRINCES, THEN SHALL THIS CITY BE GIVEN INTO THE HAND OF THE CHALDEANS, AND THEY SHALL BURNT IT WITH FIRE, AND THOU SHALT NOT ESCAPE OUT OF THEIR HAND! I AM AFRAID OF THE JEWS THAT ARE FALLEN TO THE CHALDEANS, LEST THEY DELIVER ME INTO THEIR HAND, AND THEY MOCK ME! SO JEREMIAH ABODE IN THE COURT OF THE PRISON UNTIL THE DAY THAT JERUALEM WAS TAKEN! AND HE WAS THERE WHEN JERUSALEM WAS TAKEN! THE NARRATIVE OF THE PRISON, THE COURT OF THE PRISON AND THE PIT! REFUSING TO HEARKEN UNTO THE WORD OF THE LORD! REFUSING TO SUBMIT YOURSELF TO THE KING! CASTING THE WORD INTO THE FIRE! CUTTING THE WORD AND CASTING IT INTO THE FIRE! As you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find that at the very heart of what is before you is this powerful invitation and call to not only hear, but also to hearken unto and obey the word of the LORD. The narrative that is presented before you in these chapters begins with the word of the LORD instructing and calling Jeremiah to bring the Rechabites into the house of the LORD, and to set before them both wine to drink and meat to eat. These Rechabites would be brought into the presence of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD to stand and serve as a powerful example of obedience to a command that was given—and not even a command that was given, but a command that was not given by and through the law of the LORD, nor even by the mouth of the LORD, but by one in previous generations. The words which are found in these chapters is a powerful invitation to examine our own hearts and truly test and see if we are such who not only hear the word and voice of the LORD, but also those who hearken and obey the voice of the LORD. Before we get into the narrative that is found within all of these chapters it is necessary to call and draw your attention to the words found in the thirty-fifth chapter, as they help set the stage for the invitation the LORD gave unto His people to both hear and to hearken unto His word. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the thirty-fifth chapter beginning with the first and opening verse:

“The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, Go unto the house of the Rechabites, and speak unto them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink. Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habaziniah, and his brethren, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites; and I brought them into the house of the LORD, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, a man of God, which was by the hammer of the princes, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door: And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of win, and cups, and I said unto them, Drink ye wine But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechabites our father commanded us, saying, ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever: Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers. Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters; nor to build houses for us to dwell in: neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed: but we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all the Jonadab our father commanded us. But it came to pass, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans, and for fear of the army of the Syrians: so we dwell at Jerusalem” (Jeremiah 35:1-11).

The words which we find in the thirty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah actually help set the stage and set the tone for what is found within the rest of the chapters before us this day, as you will find the word of the LORD calling Jeremiah to invite the Rechabites into the house of the LORD, and set before them wine to drink to see if they would indeed and would in fact drink of the wine which was set before them. As you read this narrative, however, you will find the Rechabites refusing to drink of the wine which Jeremiah placed before them, and revealing unto Jeremiah that they have never tasted nor drank wine all the days of their lives because of the command which their father Jonadab had spoken in previous generations. The Rechabites went on to reveal unto Jeremiah that their father Jonadab had instructed them not to drink wine all the days of their lives, nor to build houses, nor to sow seed, nor to plant any vineyards, but to dwell in tents all the days of their lives. What’s more, is that at the very heart of the command Jonadab gave his sons and ancestors was the tremendous ability to abide, remain and dwell in the midst of the land wherein they lived as strangers. It is necessary for us to read and consider these words concerning the Rechabites, for although the command and instruction given and spoken unto them was not such which was ordained and appointed of the LORD, it would nonetheless be observed throughout the generations. The narrative of the Rechabites as written and recorded within this particular chapter found within the prophetic book of Jeremiah is quite remarkable and captivating when you think about and consider it in light of a very sacred vow which the LORD would reveal unto the children of Israel through His servant Moses. If you turn and direct your attention back to the Old Testament book of Numbers—specifically the sixth chapter—you will find the LORD revealing unto Moses the Nazarite vow, and how this sacred and holy vow would be one which any among the children of Israel could partake of at any point within their life. This Nazarite vow could be taken by anyone at any time for however long they chose, yet the parameters of the vow would remain the same regardless of who chose to commit themselves to it. Throughout the generations of the children of Israel any among them could indeed and could in fact give themselves to this Nazarite vow, however, there were certain individuals who would be called to live their lives with this vow their entire lives. Such individuals would be Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist. Consider if you will the words which the LORD revealed unto Moses concerning this Nazarite vow, as well as what it would mean for individuals such as the prophet Samuel, Samson the judge, and John the Baptist:

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either a man or a woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD: He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk. All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no rasor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body. He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head. All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD. And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it. And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the priest shall offer eh one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day. And he shall consecrate unto the LORD the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation as defiled. And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation re fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and he shall offer his offering unto the LORD, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings, and a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings. And the priest shall bring them before the LORD, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering: and he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering. And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire, which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings. And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven: and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: This is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and the heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine. This is the law of the Nazarite who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the LORD for his separation, beside that his hand shall get: according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation” (Numbers 6:1-21).

“So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon the seat by a post of the temple of the LORD. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no rasor come upon his head. And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? Put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my souls before the LORD. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him. And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more said. And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD” (1 Samuel 1:9-20).

“And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no rasor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told me his name: But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death” (Judges 13:1-7).

“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the LORD blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well tricked in years. And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the LORD. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the LORD standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall ear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the LORD, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the LORD their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the anthers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the LORD” (Luke 1:5-17).

The words which we find in each of these Old Testament passages of Scripture present us with the presence of the Nazarite vow among the children of Israel from the time it was first revealed unto Moses in the wilderness until the time of Zacharias and Elisabeth and the child which would be born unto them. From the time the LORD revealed unto the children of Israel through His servant Moses the presence of the Nazarite vow there were three specific individuals whose entire lives were given over and committed to that vow. Samson is perhaps the most noted individual whose entire life would revolve around his separation and consecration before the LORD according to the Nazarite vow, as the angel of the LORD would speak unto his mother that he was to be a Nazarite from the time of his birth. Concerning the prophet Samuel we find Hannah his mother speaking unto the LORD and vowing before and unto the LORD that if He remembered her and would give unto her a man child no rasor would come upon his head all the days of his life. Concerning John the Baptist we find the angel Gabriel revealing and speaking unto Zacharias that a child would be born unto him and Elisabeth, and that he shall not drink any strong drink. What is so incredibly significant about the Nazarite vow is that it was a willful and deliberate decision one would and could make at any point during their life, as they would entirely and altogether consecrate and separate themselves as holy unto the LORD. Please note that this would be in addition to them already be consecrated and set apart as holy unto the LORD as being the people of God. The Nazarite vow would indeed be an invitation given unto those who of their own accord and their own free will desired to consecrate themselves as holy unto the LORD in an even greater and more personal manner. The Nazarite vow was an invitation given by the living and eternal God for a man or a woman to commit themselves wholly and fully to the LORD by abstaining from those things which others might give themselves to on a consistent basis. It is necessary that we recognize and understand this reality, for it helps us understand what was so absolutely incredible about the example of the Rechabites which are mentioned in the thirty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah.

When you come to the thirty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah you will find the Rechabites being used as a means of indicting the people of Judah and Jerusalem just as the nations round about the land had been earlier. We must not lose and miss out on this absolutely wonderful and tremendous reality, for the word of the LORD would speak very clearly unto Jeremiah concerning the Rechabites and how they for generations—pretty much since the days of Jehu—had given themselves to faithful obedience to a command that was given by their father Jonadab. Jonadab gave the command to abstain from drinking wine, from sowing seed, from planting vineyards, and from building houses—those things which others living and dwelling in the land of Israel were free to do. The LORD never instructed, nor did He command any man or woman to abstain from sowing seed and gathering a harvest, from planting a vineyard and drinking of the vine, nor even from building houses in the midst of the land which He had brought them into. This reality must be carefully considered and understood, for it brings us face to face with the fact that the Rechabites—for generations—had obeyed the command of their father which not even the LORD of hosts had given unto His people whom He brought into the land, and they did so with complete and utter faithfulness. Even when Jeremiah would bring the Rechabites into the house of the LORD and put before them wine and asked them to drink they refused to do so because of a command that had been given in a previous generation. Stop for a moment and think about how great of an indictment this would have been for the people of Judah and Jerusalem, for the LORD had given them the Law through His servant Moses, and had instructed them concerning His ways. Moreover, the LORD had sent unto them his servants the prophets rising early to speak unto them, and yet they would not hearken unto the word of the LORD. Essentially the people of Judah and Jerusalem had for generations ignored—not only the words which were written in the book of the Law of Moses, but would also ignore the words which were spoken by the prophets whom the LORD sent to speak unto them. In fact, this is precisely what the LORD spoke unto the people of Judah and Jerusalem after Jeremiah witnessed and beheld the Rechabites refusing to drink wine when it was placed before them. Consider if you will the words which are found in the thirty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah beginning to read with and from the twelfth verse:

“Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? Saith the LORD. The word of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father’s commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising e army and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me. I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me: Therefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered” (Jeremiah 35:12-17).

THE INDICTMENT OF THE RECHABITES! It is actually quite convicting and challenging to read the words found in this particular portion of the prophetic book of Jeremiah, for the Rechabites—much like certain of the lands and peoples round about Judah and Jerusalem—were used by the LORD to indict them because of their refusal to hear and obey the word of the LORD. In the second chapter of the same prophetic book we find the LORD through the prophet Jeremiah calling the people to “pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kendra, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet not gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:10-13). The words which are found in this particular section of Scripture essentially serves as an indictment against the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and how the LORD had essentially found a greater degree and greater level of faithfulness among the nations round about His people than He did within His own people. The LORD would observe, watch and behold the nations and peoples round about Israel and Judah, and he would see how there were no nations round about His heritage in the mist of the earth that would change their gods and exchange them for strange and foreign gods. You will not find any of the nations round about Israel and Judah exchanging gods with other nations, and there would essentially be no “game of gods” as nations would trade the gods they worshiped for the gods another nation worshipped. The Zidonians would worship Ashtoreth, the Ammonites would worship Milcom, the Moabites would worship Chemosh, the Philistines would worship Dagon, and the like. It’s worth considering and understanding this awesome reality, for it helps us to understand how the nations which were round about Israel and Judah served and stood as an indictment against the people of God for they were more faithful, devoted and committed to the gods which they themselves worshipped than the people of Israel and Judah were. The people of Israel would have the one true and living God, and they would experience His great and awesome wonders and powers in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, in the wilderness, and even upon entering into the land of Canaan, and yet they chose to ignore, despise and reject Him generation on end. What’s more, is that this would basically be committed as early as the generation which rose up in the midst of the land after Joshua and all the elders of his generation which outlived him died and went the way of all the earth. If you turn and direct your attention to the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Judges you will find the following words which were written concerning the generation which rose up after Joshua and the elders of Israel which outlived Joshua did after they died:

“And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: Why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD” (Judges 2:1-5).

“And also all that generations were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and He delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed. Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so. And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: that through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not. Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua” (Judges 2:10-23).

If you continue reading the prophetic book of Jeremiah you will encounter an even more blatant and overt disregard for the word of the LORD which had proceeded forth from the mouth of Jeremiah. Upon beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse of this chapter you will find that in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah instructing him to take a roll of a book, and write in it all the words which He had spoken unto him against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day He spoke unto him, from the days of Josiah, even unto that present day. The LORD would go on to declare that it might be that the house of Judah will hear all the veil which He purposed to do unto them, and might return every man from his evil way that the LORD might forgive their iniquity and their sin. Jeremiah would call for Baruch the son of Neriah and would dictate all the words the LORD had spoken unto him from the time he first began prophesying during the days of Josiah until that present day. What’s more, is that Jeremiah would not only call Baruch to transcribe all the words Jeremiah had prophesied from the time of Josiah until that present day, but Jeremiah would also send Baruch into the house of the LORD with the words of that book that he might read in the hearing of all those who would come unto the house of the LORD to worship before Him. Jeremiah was shut up at this particular time and was not free to move in the midst of the land of Judah, nor in the city of Jerusalem, and he would have Baruch the son of Neriah go in his stead and in his place to proclaim the word of the LORD which Jeremiah had prophesied for more than twenty years. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that Baruch would have a monumental task placed upon his shoulders, for not only would have have to faithfully and accurately transcribe all the words which Jeremiah spoke from and by his mouth, but Baruch would also have to speak those same words he heard from the mouth of Jeremiah. HEARING THE WORDS! WRITING THE WORDS! SPEAKING THE WORDS! Oh I can’t help but see a truly wonderful and powerful picture here of that which the LORD has called us to within this generation and within these days, as the LORD is not only calling us to hear the word(s) which He has spoken, but the LORD has called and instructed us to write the words which we have heard. What’s more, is that those words which we have heard and written we must faithfully take unto the people before and round about us that they might hear the word of the LORD which was spoken unto them. We dare not and must not miss the tremendous importance of this, for what we see and what we find in Baruch is a powerful picture of an invitation that is being given, and one which has been given unto us within this generation—namely, that we would be a people that would not only hear the word, and not only would we be a people who write down that word which we have heard, but also that we might be a people who would speak and proclaim that word in the hearing of those unto whom we have been called and sent.

Baruch the son of Neriah would hear the words which Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah had prophesied from the time he began prophesying in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah until the present time which was the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim. Stop and think about the fact that Jeremiah would recount in the hearing of Baruch and would faithfully speak all the words he had prophesied over the course of twenty years that Baruch might faithfully and accurately transcribe those words. Jeremiah would retell and speak those words which he had faithfully proclaimed in the hearing of the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and would do so in the hearing of Baruch son of Neriah, and Baruch had a tremendous and awesome responsibility to faithfully transcribe those words in the book according to the word of the LORD. What’s more—and as if this wasn’t a monumental task in and of itself—Baruch would also have to take the book in which he wrote the prophetic word of the LORD and read it in the hearing of all the people of Judah and Jerusalem which would come into the house of the LORD to worship before Him. It is truly something absolutely astounding to think about the tremendous burden and responsibility Baruch the son of Neriah had when he would not only hear the words which Jeremiah had prophesied for more than two decades unto the people of Judah and Jerusalem, but also to write those words and bring them once more unto the house of the LORD and in the hearing of the people. I can’t help but be absolutely captivated with the fact that in the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah king of Judah the book of the Law would be found in the Temple of the LORD, and would be brought from the place of glory into the place of government. Here we are eighteen years later and although it’s not the book of the Law of the LORD that is being read in the Temple—it’s the prophetic word of the LORD. I can’t help but wonder if it wasn’t exactly eighteen years to the day when the book of the Law of Moses was found in the Temple and the book of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah was brought back unto the Temple. The book of the Law of Moses would be found in the Temple as a witness calling men to repentance and to return unto the LORD once more, while the prophetic book of Jeremiah would be brought unto the Temple as a witness of impending judgment and wrath which would be poured out upon the land of Judah and the city of Jerusalem. Stop and think about the fact that eighteen years earlier the book of the Law would come forth from the Temple of the LORD, and here we are eighteen years later and the prophetic word of the LORD would essentially return unto the Temple. What’s more, is that there would be certain portions of this prophetic word that would essentially be repeated in the midst of the court of the sanctuary of the LORD. If you turn and direct your attention back to the seventh chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah you will find the following words which Jeremiah would prophesy and speak in the court of the Temple of the LORD in the midst of Jerusalem:

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at the gates to worship the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The Temple of the LORD, The Temple of the LORD, The Temple of the LORD, are these. For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; if ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD. But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. Therefore pray not thou for This people, neither lift up cry not prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee. Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. Do they provoke me to anger? Saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? Therefore thus saith the LORD God; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched” (Jeremiah 7:1-20).

With these words we encounter and come face to face with the awesome reality that during the days of Josiah the king of Judah Jeremiah would be instructed and commanded by the word of the LORD to stand in the court of the LORD’s house and there proclaim the word of the LORD. It would be during the days of Josiah the king of Judah Jeremiah would warn that generation concerning the LORD doing unto the Temple that which He did in Shiloh unto His house which was present there—that house where He had placed His name. Jeremiah would stand in the court of the house of the LORD and would expose the hypocrisy of the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as they would steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods which they knew not, and then came and stood before the LORD in His holy house and not only act as though nothing was at all wrong, but also as though they were free to continue committing their evils in the sight of and against the one true and living God. Jeremiah would indict the generation during the days of Josiah for their hypocrisy in transgressing against the law and commands of the LORD, and then coming into the house of the LORD thinking and believing they were free to continue on as though nothing had happened, or nothing was at all wrong. What makes this even more condemning and alarming is when you think about and consider the fact that this wasn’t the first time Jeremiah would be called to stand in the court of the house of the LORD. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the twenty-sixth chapter, your will once more find Jeremiah being instructed of the LORD to stand in the court of the LORD’s house, and there proclaim the word of the LORD. What makes this even more tragic and alarming is when you consider the fact that in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim Jeremiah would once more be called to stand in the court of the house of the LORD and there proclaim the word of the LORD. Consider if you will the following words which are found within the twenty-sixth chapter of the same prophetic book beginning to read with and from the first verse:

“In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the LORD, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Stand in the court of the LORD’s house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’s house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: IF so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, to hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth. So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD. Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die. Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall e desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD. When the princes of Judah heard these things, then they came up from the king’s house unto the house of the LORD, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the LORD’s house. Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears. Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard. Therefore not amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent Him of the veil that he hath pronounced against you. As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you. But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears. Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and to the prophets; This man is not worthy to die: for he hath spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God. Then rose up certain of the elders of the land, and spake to all the assembly of the people, saying, Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest. Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death? Did the not fear the LORD, and besought the LORD, and the LORD repented him of the evil which he had pronounced against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our souls. And there was also a man that prophesied in the name of the LORD, Urijah the son of SHEMAIAH of Kirjath-jearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah: and when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men, and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death, but when Urijah heard it, he was afraid, and fled, and went into Egypt; and Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, namely, Elnathan the son of Achbor, and certain men with him into Egypt. And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him unto Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people. Nevertheless the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death” (Jeremiah 26:1-24).

As I sit here today considering the seventh and twenty-sixth chapters of the prophetic book of Jeremiah I find it absolutely astounding that Jeremiah would be instructed by the word of the LORD to stand in the court of the house of the LORD, and would most likely do so during the days of Josiah king of Judah, as well as during the days of Jehoiakim king of Judah. During the reigns of both of these kings of Judah Jeremiah the prophet would actually be free to stand in the court of the house of the LORD, and would there proclaim the word of the LORD. What makes the thirty-sixth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah so incredibly captivating and challenging is when you think about the fact that it stands in stark contrast to what we find in the twenty-sixth chapter. In the twenty-sixth chapter of this book we find Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah being able to stand in the court of the house of the LORD in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the king of Judah, while here in this chapter we find Jeremiah being shut up and unable to go into the house of the LORD. As you approach the middle sections of this prophetic book you will not only find Jeremiah being shut up in the court of the prison, but you will also find tremendous opposition against both he and the prophetic word which he was called and ordained to bring unto the people of God. Just four years after freely standing in the court of the house of the LORD we now find Jeremiah shut up and being unable to come into the court of the house. Even though Jeremiah could not enter into the court of the house of the LORD the word of the LORD would instruct Jeremiah to write in a book all the words he had prophesied over the past twenty-three years, and to have those words brought into the house of the LORD and read in the hearing of the people of God. What we must understand is the powerful transition that would take place within the life of Jeremiah, as while he was free to proclaim the prophetic word of the LORD in the court of the house of the LORD in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, he would now find himself being shut up and unable to enter into court of the LORD’s house.

WHEN PROPHETS CAN NO LONGER ENTER INTO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD! WHEN PROPHETS ARE NO LONGER WELCOME INTO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD! If you read the words found in the twenty-sixth chapter of this prophetic book you will find Jeremiah standing in the court of the house of the LORD and proclaiming a word similar to the word he had prophesied earlier on when the LORD instructed him to stand in the court of the house of the LORD at first. Jeremiah would stand in the court of the house of the LORD that first time, and we read of absolutely no opposition that would rise up against Jeremiah from the priests, the prophets, the princes, the people, and even the king of Judah. I can’t help but wonder how close to the time the book of the Law was found in the Temple of the LORD, and how close to the time Josiah would cleanse the Temple Jeremiah would stand in the court of the LORD’s house and proclaim the word of the LORD concerning that house having done to it what the LORD did to His house which was in Shiloh. Here we are in the days of Jehoiakim, and we find Jeremiah once more being instructed to stand in the court of the house of the LORD, and proclaiming pretty much the exact same word he had proclaimed there at the beginning. We know from Scripture that the prophets and the priests and all the people conspired against Jeremiah and sought to put him to death, and how the hand of the LORD was with Jeremiah to prevent him from being delivered into the hands of the people to be put to death. Now we find the narrative shifting to four years after he stood in the court of the house of the LORD at the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, and being unable to go up to the house of the LORD because he was shut up. What I find so absolutely remarkable is that despite the fact that Jeremiah was shut up and unable to go unto the house of the LORD is that that wouldn’t stop the prophetic word of the LORD from once more entering into and being brought unto the house of the LORD. What’s more, is that in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim we find the prophetic word of the LORD which Jeremiah had faithfully prophesied for more than two decades being brought into the house of the LORD. Please don’t miss the significance of this, for eighteen years after the book of the Law was found in the Temple and brought forth the midst of it all the words which Jeremiah had prophesied according to the word of the LORD—prophetic words which would begin five years before the book of the Law was found in the Temple—would find their way into the court of the house of the LORD.

WHEN PROPHETS ARE NO LONGER WELCOME IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD, YET THE WORD OF THE LORD MUST STILL COME! If there is one thing I absolutely love about the words found in the thirty-sixth chapter, it’s that although Jeremiah could not go up to the house of the LORD, something much deeper, something much larger, and something much greater would take place instead—namely, all the words which Jeremiah had prophesied for the past twenty-three years would be brought and read in the court of the LORD’s house. Jeremiah would not enter into the house of the LORD and prophesy perhaps a word that was ordained for that particular time, but he would instead dictate unto Baruch son of Neriah all the words he had spoken unto the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and would instruct Baruch to take those words and bring them into court of the house of the LORD. What I find so absolutely astonishing about this narrative is that it almost seems to follow the same progression as that which took place in the house of the LORD eighteen years earlier. Eighteen years earlier the book of the Law of Moses would be found in the house of the LORD, and it would be brought forth from the house of the LORD and unto Josiah the king of Judah. The words which were found written in the book of the Law of Moses would be read in the hearing of Josiah the king of Judah, and upon hearing the words which were written therein, he would inquire of the LORD by the mouth of Huldah the prophetess. It would be Josiah’s humility before the LORD in rending his clothes and sending to inquire of the LORD that would delay and postpone the judgment and wrath of the LORD from being manifested and poured out upon the land. This, however, would not be the case during the days of Jehoiakim, for in this chapter we find the prophetic word of the LORD—as differentiated from the book of the Law of Moses—being brought into the Temple rather than being found, being read in the hearing of all the people, and ultimately being brought unto the king of Judah himself. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for there is a start contrast between the days of Josiah and the days of Jehoiakim, for what we find during the days of Jehoiakim is the prophetic word of the LORD being brought into the house of the LORD rather than the book of the Law being found therein. Moreover, what we find in the days of Jehoiakim is the prophetic word of the LORD being brought forth from the house of the LORD and being read in the hearing of Jehoiakim king of Judah.

Upon beginning to read from the ninth verse of the thirty-sixth chapter you will find that in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, and in the ninth month, a fast was proclaimed before the LORD to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem. It was at that time Baruch the son of Neriah would read the words which were found in the book he had written which contained the prophetic words which Jeremiah had prophesied and spoken according to the word of the LORD. In the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim we find the word of LORD instructing Jeremiah to write in a book all the words he prophesied and proclaimed from the time he first began prophesying during the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah until that present time. We don’t know if a full year passed from the time Baruch finished transcribing all the words Jeremiah had prophesied since the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah, but we do know that it was in the fifth year of the reign of Jehoiakim that Baruch would read all the words of Jeremiah in the hearing of all the people in the court of the LORD. I can’t help but find in this particular passage a powerful statement and picture of the prophet no longer being welcome in the house of the LORD, and yet the word of the LORD still needing to be manifested in the house of the LORD. Despite the fact that the prophetic voice was no longer allowed in the house of the LORD, the prophetic word and the prophetic message would be heard—even if it was read by a companion of the prophet. What’s more, is that the prophetic word which was proclaimed and read in the hearing of the people in the house of the LORD was the full and complete word which Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah had prophesied over the past twenty-three years. There in the court of the house of the LORD Baruch the son of Neriah would twenty-three years worth of the prophetic word of the LORD. Stop for a moment and consider that strong and powerful reality—the reality that Baruch would stand in the court of the house of the LORD, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate, and read all the words of Jeremiah in the ears of all the people. It wouldn’t simply be a prophetic word concerning the LORD making the house of the LORD like His house which was in Shiloh, but it would be twenty-three years of the prophetic word of the LORD which would be brought back to the house of the LORD. Thirteen years after the book of the Law was found in the Temple of the LORD and brought forth unto the king the prophet Jeremiah would stand in the court of the house of the LORD and proclaim the word of the LORD, and seventeen years the full prophetic vision and word of Jeremiah would be brought into the house—unto the very same house where the book of the Law had been found.

WHEN THE LORD BRINGS THE WORD OF THE LORD BACK TO THE HOUSE! WHEN THE BOOK OF THE LAW IS REJECTED AND DESPISED BY THE PEOPLE, THE WORD OF THE LORD IS BROUGHT FORTH INTO THE MIDST THEREOF! The book of the Law would be found in the house of the LORD during the days of Josiah, and during the days of Jehoiakim it would not be the book of the Law of the LORD that would be found, but the prophetic word of the LORD that would be brought unto the very same place where the Law of Moses had been found. Josiah heard the words which were found in the book of the Law and rent his clothes and humbled himself in the sight of the LORD, and yet here we are eighteen years later and the word of the LORD which had been manifested in the midst of Judah and Jerusalem would be brought unto the court of the house of the LORD. It’s almost as if when the prophetic word of the LORD is brought unto the house of the LORD after the book of the Law was found, judgment and wrath are most certainly on the door and on the horizon. I previously wrote how during the days of Josiah king of Judah there was the prophetic word of the LORD as manifested through Jeremiah, there was the warning of the northern kingdom of Israel, and there was the witness of the book of the Law of Moses which was manifested in the land, and now here we find a powerful portent of judgment and wrath being manifested in the house of the LORD, as almost two and a half decades worth of the word of the LORD would be read in the house of the LORD. What makes the progression found in this chapter so tragic and damning is when you find the prophetic word of the LORD being read in the court of the house of the LORD and then read in the ears of all the princes, Elishama the scribe, and others who were present. Scripture reveals how Michaiah declared unto them all the words which he had heard in the court of the house of the LORD when Baruch read verbatim the words which Jeremiah dictated unto him. As a direct result, all the princes would send Jehudi the son of Nethaniah to call Baruch to come unto them and read all the words which were written in the court of the house of the LORD. After hearing all the words which were written in the book as Baruch read them, those present were afraid and declared unto Baruch that they would bring the words unto the king. It’s quite interesting to read how the princes not only agreed to take the book unto the king and read the words in the hearing of the king, but they also instructed Baruch to hide both he and Jeremiah letting no man know where they might be. It would be this particular reality that would be reminiscent of the days of Josiah, for just as the book of the Law was brought forth from the Temple of the LORD and read in the hearing of Josiah king of Judah, so also would the words of the book of Jeremiah be brought into the palace of the king and read in his ears.

As I bring this writing to a close, I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to Jehoiakim’s response to the words which were read in his hearing. With the thirty-sixth chapter of this prophetic book drawing to a close you will find the words of the book of Jeremiah being read in the hearing of Jehoiakim in the ninth month as the king sat in his winter house with a fire burning before him. Scripture reveals how when Jehudi read three or four leaves of the book of Jeremiah the king would take a pen-knife and cut what had been read and cast it into the fire until the whole book had been burned and consumed with the fire. What a stark contrast is found during the days of Jehoiakim as opposed to the days of Josiah int of Judah, for whereas Josiah would rend his garments and humble himself before the LORD, Jehoiakim would cut the book of Jeremiah and burn it in the fire. Please don’t miss this, for I am convinced that in the last days leading up to judgment, and even in the last days when the judgment of the LORD is being manifested in the midst of a nation—even being manifested in the midst of the earth—the prophet will no longer be permitted, nor welcomed in the house of the LORD. Moreover, I am convinced that in the last days leading up to the judgment and wrath of the LORD the prophetic word of the LORD will be brought into and manifested within the house of the LORD as a portent, a sign and judgment against a people, against a nation, and against all those who have rejected and turned their backs on the LORD. I firmly believe that the prophetic word of the LORD can and will return unto the house of the LORD in this generation, however, when the word of the LORD manifests itself in the hearing of the people it will be received by some, yet rejected by many. What’s more, is that the word of the LORD will make its way from the house of the LORD to the king’s house—to the place of government—as a witness of judgment and wrath against a nation and people. Please don’t miss this, for I firmly believe with everything that is present within my heart and spirit that the LORD not only desires to bring forth the book of the Law of the LORD in the midst of the Temple of the LORD, but as a final witness against a nation and people the LORD will allow the word of the LORD to be manifested in the midst of the house of the LORD, and ultimately be manifested in the house of the king and in the place of government. The question we must ask ourselves is how we are going to respond when the word of the LORD is manifested in the house of the LORD as the word of the LORD stands as a powerful witness of judgment and wrath about to strike and come upon the land and people.

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