Devotional Thoughts for Today
“An Inside Look at How God’s Word Came to Us”
In the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Take a scroll and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel and Judah and all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah until today. 3 It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the disaster that I intend to do to them, so that every one may turn from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.”4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah, and Baruch wrote on a scroll at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord that he had spoken to him. 5 And Jeremiah ordered Baruch, saying, “I am banned from going to the house of the Lord, 6 so you are to go, and on a day of fasting in the hearing of all the people in the Lord’s house you shall read the words of the Lord from the scroll that you have written at my dictation. You shall read them also in the hearing of all the men of Judah who come out of their cities. 7 It may be that their plea for mercy will come before the Lord, and that every one will turn from his evil way, for great is the anger and wrath that the Lord has pronounced against this people.” 8 And Baruch the son of Neriah did all that Jeremiah the prophet ordered him about reading from the scroll the words of the Lord in the Lord’s house.
Many people wonder how the Bible came to be, and how we received what we now consider to be the Holy Scriptures. This chapter of Jeremiah gives us an inside view of how the revelations of God spoken to man became the written word of God that was later canonized and passed down from one generation to another. In fact, this is the only chapter in the entire Old Testament that reveals how the oral message of the prophets took on its written form. As such, this passage represents one of the keys to understanding why it was so important that God’s word be written down.
The context for God’s command for Jeremiah to write down His message was the on-going conflict between the prophet and the kings of Israel. It has been said that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and it was no different with the royal line of David. In response to the wickedness of these kings, God raised up prophets who would confront these abuses of power with the truth. Often, these corrections were not well received, and the messengers bore the brunt of the kings’ displeasure. In this case, Jeremiah was banned from entering the temple and censored from speaking. Given these restrictions, the only way to deliver the message of God was to write it down on a scroll and sneak it into the king’s presence.
More than being just a personal memo from a disgruntled citizen, these written messages took on an authority of their own, or more specifically, they took on the authority of God Himself. In a sense, by being separated away from the personality of the messenger, these words became far weightier than an oral presentation by the prophet. After all, it’s possible to persecute, imprison, and kill a human messenger, but you cannot intimidate words on a scroll. Humans can be forced to recant what they have said, but truth written down will never lie. Indeed, the pen is mightier than the sword, and Scriptures are living proof of that. Though you can silence the voice of man, the word of the Lord will endure forever!
Prayer: Lord, make us a people of one Book. Help us to rediscover the truth of Your Word in a world that has forsaken all these truths for lies. Help us to be committed to reading, studying, and living out Your Word. Though every man be a liar, we know that You will always remain true. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Job 18
Lunch Break Study
Read 2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:5: But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
4 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Questions to Consider
- Describe Timothy’s relationship to the Holy Scriptures.
- What is the purpose of Scripture?
- Why is faithfulness to the Scriptures important, especially today?
- It’s clear that Timothy has a rich history with the word of God. He was acquainted with it from an early age, familiar with its teaching from childhood, and it was taught to him accurately. Paul now exhorts Timothy to continue in what he has learned and come to firmly believe.
- Verse 16 and 17 are great reminders of the purpose of the Scriptures. Too many times, we reduce the word of God to bite-sized slogans of inspiration, but they are so much more than that. It is the basis for reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. As we diligently study and apply the word to our lives, it creates spiritual growth, and provides the tools that are necessary to live out the Christian faith. Without them, we have no hope of growing into spiritual maturity and being equipped to face the challenges of life.
- In our post-modern and post-Christian world, truth has become more and more arbitrary. We want to hear what we want to hear and driven by our emotions. This is the type of spiritual climate that leads to people listening to only what they want to hear as opposed to what they need to hear. Paul warns against surrounding ourselves with pastors and teachers who cater only to people’s desires, knowing that our emotions can be a poor measure of what is true.
Have you spent time in God’s word lately? Although it is helpful to read books about the Scriptures, it is far more important for your spiritual health to go right to the primary source yourself. Pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you to a particular book of the Bible to read, study, and even memorize. Commit yourself to continue in what you have learned and come to believe.