6th of the 9th month 2014/2015
Shabbat Shalom all,
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 26:2 “Thus said יהוה, ‘Stand in the courtyard of the House of יהוה, and speak to all the cities of Yehuḏah, which come to bow themselves in the House of יהוה, all the words that I command you to speak to them. Do not diminish a word.”
Yirmeyahu was to speak to those who had come to bow themselves in the house of יהוה all the words that יהוה had commanded him to speak and he was not to diminish any word! Wow – today many people are bringing a word to the masses, and sadly it is more often than not a ‘diminished word’ – one that has been constructed carefully in order to tickle ears and make people ‘feel’ that they got something out of the message! This Word commanded by יהוה was not to ‘outsiders’, but was to those who claimed to be followers, yet what we recognise here is that they were simply coming to bow themselves in the House of יהוה out of a duty, rather than out of a pure loving obedience that is called for in the life of a called out set-apart follower of יהוה. When people are mixing their worship – that is to say that when they are so immersed in the world’s ways and follow after its desires and schemes while trying to appease their conscience at the same time by hopefully attending a weekly service when it suits them – then when they do happen to come to fellowship, they do not come to listen to the Truth, but rather come with the expectation of ‘hearing’ something they would like to hear, and hear that which will justify their lifestyle! And so when they are not walking in obedience, and the True Word reveals it, they will simply reject it and say they did not get anything out of it.
When we come together, we come together to worship our Creator, Redeemer and Saviour יהושע Messiah and surrender to His leading and guidance, to listen and obey and heed His instructions; and we come to give Him the esteem that is due, and not just to hopefully “get something out of it”! What we are to “get out of it” is the reality of the Word and be ready and willing to surrender to the Truth that sets us free, enabling us to walk in great faith as His Word equips us to worship Him with our daily lives. When you are in His Word and in His presence and you say that you “got nothing out of it” – then that is a sure sign that you are, to put it plainly, ignoring Him!!!
Yehuḏah were going to the House of יהוה yet they were, in a manner of speaking, getting nothing out of the Word, as it wasn’t changing their lives! How about you – is His Word changing your life or do you too find that you are “getting nothing out of it”? In a time when the majority prefer to have their ears tickled, the urgency for true believers to rise up and speak the Truth without hindrance is needed, and the question remains whether you are one of those who do not get much out of the Word and are being selective in your hearing so that you only choose to hear that which suits you, or are you willing to rise up and speak the Truth and make sure that you do not, in any way, diminish the Word of Elohim? In a message tonight called, ‘RISE UP AND SPEAK THE WRITTEN WORD, O BLESSED OF יהוה!’, I would like us to look at a chapter from which we can learn a great deal. Please turn with me to Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 36 (Read).
Let me give a brief overview of those chapter and then proceed to glean some of the valuable lessons we can learn, as well as the severe warning against diminishing the Truth in any way, means or form.
We are given a couple of key marker dates in this chapter which helps us set the scene and understand what was going on at the time. In verse 1 we are told that the this word came to Yirmeyahu in the 4th year of Yehoyaqim, son of Yoshiyahu, sovereign of Yehuḏah. So let us just recap who is who here and where in history these accounts take place, so that we are able to gain a better understanding of the clear context of this Word and be equipped in standing up and proclaiming the reign of the Kingdom of Messiah that is coming!
יְהוֹיָקִים Yehoyaqim – Strong’s H3079 means, ‘יהוה raises up’. His name was originally אֶלְיָקִים Elyaqim – Strong’s H471 which means, ‘Ěl raises up’. His name was changed by Pharaoh Neḵo, who had taken Yeho’aḥaz, the older brother of Elyaqim who had only reigned for 3 months, to Mitsrayim.
Pharaoh Neḵo had imposed a heavy levy on the land and then Yehoyaqim was basically set up as a ‘puppet king’ by Neḵo, as a buffer king between Mitsrayim and Baḇelon, which you can read about in: Diḇre haYamim Bět/2 Chronicles 36:2-3 & Melaḵim Bět /2 Kings 23:34-35. Under the oppression of the rule of Mitsrayim Yehoyaqim eagerly submitted to Pharaoh Neḵo and even built new palaces with forced labour and scarce resources. Yirmeyahu was an outspoken opponent of Yehoyaqim’s reckless behaviour that seemed to be more intent on self-interest and self-preservation under the hand of the wicked Pharaoh Neḵo than on leading the nation at a crucial time in Yehuḏah’s history. Yirmeyahu confronted Yehoyaqim, as we see in:
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 22:13-19 “Woe to him who builds his house without righteousness and his rooms without right-ruling, who uses his neighbour’s service without wages and does not give him his wages, 14 who says, ‘I am going to build myself a wide house with spacious rooms, and cut out windows for it, panelling it with cedar and painting it in red.’ 15 “Do you reign because you enclose yourself in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink, and do right-ruling and righteousness? Then it was well with him. 16 “He defended the cause of the poor and needy – then it was well. Was this not to know Me?” declares יהוה. 17 “But your eyes and your heart are only upon your own greedy gain, and on shedding innocent blood, and on oppression and on doing violence.” 18 Therefore thus said יהוה concerning Yehoyaqim son of Yoshiyahu, sovereign of Yehuḏah, “Let them not lament for him: ‘Alas, my brother!’ or ‘Alas, my sister!’ Let them not lament for him: ‘Alas, master!’ or ‘Alas, his excellency!’ 19 “He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, dragged and thrown outside the gates of Yerushalayim.”
After having served Pharaoh Neḵo for 4 years there was a huge turning point in Middle Eastern history. The Mitsrians had established a presence in Northern Syria after trying in vain to assist the Assyrians in retaking Haran. They had an outpost at Karkemish, which was a city on the Euphrates River near Haran. The Baḇelonians, under the leadership of Neḇuḵaḏretstsar, drove the Mitsrians (Egyptians) from Karkemish and then pursued them south toward Palestine:
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 46:2 “For Mitsrayim, concerning the army of Pharaoh Neḵo, sovereign of Mitsrayim, which was by the River Euphrates in Karkemish, and which Neḇuḵaḏretstsar the sovereign of Baḇel had smitten in the fourth year of Yehoyaqim, son of Yoshiyahu, sovereign of Yehuḏah”
Yehoyaqim alarmed at the prospect of the hostile Baḇelonians being so close, even though he had been put in power by Pharaoh Neḵo of Mitsrayim, conveniently declared allegiance to Neḇuḵaḏretstsar. This move, made under threat of invasion, placed Yehuḏah now under the control of the Baḇelonians, and no longer under the Mitsrians!
The Baḇelonians continued pressing southward into Mitsrayim, and after 3 years Neḇuḵaḏretstsar was engaged in fierce fighting with Pharaoh Neḵo. However, Neḇuḵaḏretstsar was unable to subdue Mitsrayim and he finally returned to Baḇelon. It was during these 3 years that Yehoyaqim had submitted to Neḇuḵaḏretstsar, and after seeing that Neḇuḵaḏretstsar had returned to Baḇelon, he withdrew his allegiance to Baḇelon and rebelled against Neḇuḵaḏretstsar, possibly expecting help from Mitsrayim, which was a disastrous miscalculation by a wicked puppet king!
After another 3 years or so, Neḇuḵaḏretstsar came back and encamped against Yerushalayim and took Yehoyaqim and bound him in bronze shackles to bring him back to Baḇelon, and Yehoyaqim died. Yehoyaḵin, the son of Yehoyaqim reined in his place and only reigned 3 months when Neḇuḵaḏretstsar sent and brought him to Baḇel along with the utensils form the House of יהוה. Neḇuḵaḏretstsar made Tsiḏqiyahu, Yehoyaqim’s brother, sovereign over Yehuḏah. Tsiḏqiyahu was the last king of Yehuḏah, who was a wicked king that did evil in the eyes of יהוה. His name was originally Mattanyah and was changed by Neḇuḵaḏretstsar, and he reigned for 11 years. Tsiḏqiyahu rebelled against the sovereign of Baḇel, and in the 9th year of his reign the sovereign of Baḇel came against Yerushalayim and in the 11th year of his reign his sons were slaughtered before his eyes, and then his eyes were cut out and he was bound in shackles and was taken captive to Baḇelon. The reason for sharing this with you is to simply give you a better understanding of the historical setting of this Chapter 36 that we have read from Yirmeyahu.
Ok, so now the word of יהוה comes to Yirmeyahu in the 4th year of the reign of Yehoyaqim – at the time Neḇuḵaḏretstsar was driving south and becoming a world power. This wicked king just followed and submitted to whoever he thought he could get the best deal from and survive. He had already killed a prophet – he killed Uriyahu, as we read in:
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 26:20-23 “There was however a man who prophesied in the Name of יהוה, Uriyahu the son of Shemayahu of Qiryath Yeʽarim, who prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Yirmeyahu. 21 And when Yehoyaqim the sovereign, with all his mighty men and all the heads, heard his words, the sovereign sought to put him to death. But Uriyahu heard of it, and was afraid and fled, and went to Mitsrayim. 22 Then Yehoyaqim the sovereign sent men to Mitsrayim: Elnathan the son of Aḵbor, and some men who went with him to Mitsrayim. 23 And they brought Uriyahu from Mitsrayim and brought him to Yehoyaqim the sovereign, who smote him with the sword and threw his dead body into the graves of the common people.”
What is clear to us is that this wicked king did not like the Truth and he would quickly surrender to the wickedness of the nations that came up against him, yet he would not submit to the clear Word of Elohim that was sent through the prophets! By the time that the word had come to Yirmeyahu to write down all the words that יהוה had spoken against Yisra’ĕl, Yehuḏah and all the nations, Yirmeyahu had been speaking for at least 22 years, as he had been speaking since the 13th year of the reign of Yoshiyahu until this point in the 4th year of Yehoyaqim, and still this king would not listen!
In a manner of speaking we are able to clearly see the patience of יהוה, yet we also see that those who do not give heed to the word of Truth will ultimately face the great wrath of Elohim that has clearly been proclaimed! At this point in history Yisra’ĕl had already been taken captive by the Ashshurians, and many of the words that Yirmeyahu had spoken in warning against Yehuḏah and Yerushalayim, would be against the backdrop of the reality of what had already happened to the northern 10 tribes, yet Yehuḏah remained stubborn and refused to listen!
Let me ask you at this point, “how long has יהוה been patient with you?” Perhaps you have seen the destruction of many that you know, as they have walked in rebellion to the truth, yet here you are still sitting and able to hear the Truth. Are you listening or taking the patience of our Master as a license to do whatever you please? As we consider the clear call for set-apartness, are there any areas in your life that are still being hindered by compromise and selfishness and pride? And if so, how long have you been rejecting His call for complete Set-Apartness?
It was during the reign of Yoshiyahu that the Torah was found and when the king had heard the Torah in the 18th year of his reign he made major reforms. He was most certainly helped a great deal by the words of Yirmeyahu that had been heard for 5 years prior to the Torah being found. The finding of the Torah would have most certainly brought great clarity to a king who had been very keen to hear the Truth, while we find the opposite being true with Yehoyaqim who only wanted to pick and choose what he wanted to hear and then only follow that which he would deem to be beneficial at the time.
For 22 years Yirmeyahu had been rising up early and speaking the Word of Elohim, and now יהוה says to this very faithful prophet, ‘take a scroll and write all the words that I have spoken to you”. Every word that יהוה had spoken to Yirmeyahu for the past 22 years, against Yisra’ĕl, Yehuḏah and all the nations, was now to be written down!!! It was time for the word to be put in writing, for then the people may have taken the word serious enough and repent – especially when they would hear the written word regarding all the evil that was about to come upon them for their crookedness!
Yirmeyahu then calls his faithful scribe, Baruḵ, to come and write down all the words of יהוה that had been spoken to Yirmeyahu. Baruḵ – בָּרוּךְStrong’s H1263 means, ‘blessed’, and he was the son of נֵרִיָּה Neriyyah – Strong’s H5374 which means, ‘lamp of Yah’. Yirmeyahu – יִרְמְיָהוּ H3414 means, ‘Yahweh has appointed/Yah loosens, Yah will rise, Yah will raise up and appoint’. What we are able to see here in this very powerful chapter is that these words given to Baruḵ, are words that are also given to us – for these are the appointed words of יהוה for the blessed children of Light!
Hence my title for this message being, RISE UP AND SPEAK THE WRITTEN WORD, O BLESSED OF יהוה, for it is now time for the blessed children of the Most High to rise up and speak – are you doing this?
יהוה hates sin and will punish those who refuse to repent. What we see from this chapter is a clear lesson that no matter what man tries to blot out, the Word of Elohim stands forever! It is foolish to ignore parts of the Word that are not necessarily liked by the hearer!
Baruḵ took the scroll and read it first in the hearing of all the people who had come to Yerushalayim on a day of fasting, and then was summonsed to read it to the leaders. This was not the fast of Yom Kippur but was a fast that had been called, perhaps in an attempt at seeking the voice of Elohim, and so here was the perfect time for the written word to be proclaimed – in the hearing of all! This shows us a great picture of the kindness of Elohim that leads to repentance as we see in verse 7 that it says that it could be that when the people hear these words that they may actually repent and turn from their evil ways.
Romiyim/Romans 2:4 “Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, and tolerance, and patience, not knowing that the kindness of Elohim leads you to repentance?”
Verse 8 tells us that Baruḵ did according to what Yirmeyahu commanded him and then in verse 9 we are given another date – exactly one year later, as we now come to the 9th month of the 5th year of Yehoyaqim when a fast was called and Baruḵ read the words of Yirmeyahu in the House of יהוה. The scroll was written in the 4th year of Yehoyaqim and read in the 9th month of the 5th year of Yehoyaqim. We therefore see that there is a small gap between the writing of the Words to the day it was proclaimed by Baruḵ on the day of fasting that was called.
He read it in the House of יהוה and Miḵayehu heard these words and then rushed down to the sovereign’s house, into the scribes room and found the leaders there and he told them what he had just heard. They then sent Yehuḏi son of Nethanyahu, son of Shelemyahu, son of Kushi to go and fetch Baruḵ and the scroll that he had read to the people. Baruḵ took the scroll and went and read it to them. His reading caused these leaders to look at each other in fear because they realised that they would have to report these words to Yehoyaqim. They asked Baruḵ how the scroll was written, and he explained that Yirmeyahu had dictated all the words and he wrote them…on the scroll.
Before the meeting adjourned, those present gave a word of warning to Baruḵ. Both he and Yirmeyahu were to go and hide and not let anyone know where they were. Perhaps they gave this warning based on what Yehoyaqim had previously done to Uriyahu the prophet, when he killed him with the sword and threw his body into the graves of the common people.
These leaders went to Yehoyaqim and told him all the words they had heard, but had not yet taken the scroll to the king. Yehoyaqim sent for the scroll and told Yehuḏi to read it before him and all the heads. When Yehuḏi had only read 3 or 4 columns Yehoyaqim cut the scroll with the scribes knife and threw it into the fire! When the servants of the king saw this, not one of them were afraid and no one tore their garments in repentance. They clearly showed no respect toward יהוה and His word that He delivers through His prophets. 3 men did however plead with Yehoyaqim not to burn the scroll, and even while these 3 men pleaded with the king, Yehoyaqim and his servants showed no care or respect for the Word and only showed contempt toward Yirmeyahu and Baruḵ who they wanted to be killed.
These 3 men who tried to stop the king were אֶלְנָתָן Elnathan – Strong’s H494 which means, ‘El has given’, דְּלָיָהוּ Delayahu – Strong’s H1806 which means, ‘Yah has drawn’, and גְּמַרְיָהוּ Gemaryahu – Strong’s H1587 which means, ‘Yah has accomplished’. The names of these 3 men make it very clear before a wicked king, and those who follow in wickedness, that Elohim has given His Word, He has drawn His sword and He has accomplished His Word. This in itself was a death sentence to these wicked to whom there would be no more room for forgiveness! They had heard what had been given and by their wicked and corrupt response that destroys the validity of what was written and heard there would be no more mercy!
These 3 opposed the wicked response of the king and יהוה credits them by mentioning their names in His Word, while at the same time giving us a stern warning today that the Word of Elohim has been given, His Sword has been drawn, also pictured in Scripture for us by the drawn bow of Elohim that has His fiery arrows that are ready to be released in His wrath. His Word has accomplished for us the work of salvation and if we do not take heed to what we ought to hear, guard and do then there is no protection against His coming proclaimed wrath! These 3 men stood up to plead against a corrupt king who would not listen and we can learn from this as we too need to stand up for what is right and not be afraid to speak out against corruption and wickedness.
Yirmeyahu is a man who spoke for over 40 years without much success, and was hunted down, imprisoned, called a traitor and yet he never quit doing what he was told to do by יהוה, as he never broke down before the face of anyone who broke down the Word of יהוה. This must encourage us all today as we too must not break down before those who blaspheme and ridicule the truth and strike the validity of walking in the Torah from their lives!
What is a very interesting picture that we see here in these events, is how Yehoyaqim took the scribe’s knife and cut the scroll after hearing only 3 or 4 chapters! In a ridiculous attempt at trying to assume authority over the Word of Elohim, this wicked king used a scribes knife against the Sword of the Word of Elohim, so to speak! Would you take a pen knife to a sword fight? I don’t think so!!! Yet metaphorically speaking this is exactly what many have tried to do for centuries, as they have tried to cut away and destroy the power of the written Word of Elohim that is sharper than a doubled edged sword, through the writing of false doctrines and theologies of man that have twisted the Truth to their own destruction.
As soon as people begin to hear what they do not want to hear and what they do not like they “cut it out” so to speak and metaphorically “burn it” from their lives. People with their own knives have, and by that I mean people who do as they see fit in their own eyes, have cut the Word out of their lives!
Kěpha Bět/2 Peter 3:15-17 “and reckon the patience of our Master as deliverance, as also our beloved brother Sha’ul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them concerning these matters, in which some are hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the other Scriptures. 17 You, then, beloved ones, being forewarned, watch, lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the delusion of the lawless”
Stay away from men with ‘pen knives’ and those who are not skilled in the Word and are unable to rightly divide the Word, and stay away from those who do not teach the difference between the set-apart and the profane and between the clean and the unclean, no matter how ear tickling their words may be!
The scroll was destroyed and Yehoyaqim sent men to find Yirmeyahu and Baruḵ and seize them, yet they could not be found as יהוה had hidden them. This is a great lesson for us in itself where we recognise that those who run in the ways of Elohim are safe and He hides us from the vain threats of the enemy!
The Hebrew word used here in verse 26 for ‘hid’ is סָתַר sathar – Strong’s H5641 which means, ‘to hide, conceal, cover’.
Tehillah/Psalm 17:8 “Guard me as the apple of Your eye. Hide me under the shadow of Your wings”
We are ‘hidden’ or ‘covered’ under the wings of Elohim – and the word wings is כָּנָף kanaph – Strong’s H3671 which means, ‘corners – an edge or extremity; a wing, (of a garment or bed clothing) a flap, (of the earth) uttermost part’, and we must be reminded that we are commanded to put ‘tzitzit’ on the wings of our garments in order to remember to guard His commands, and therefore we recognise that when we find shelter under His commands or rather when we live obediently in subjection to His commands, we find ourselves being covered by His loving-commitment to His Covenants of Promise, by which we have been grafted into by the Blood of Messiah!
What happened next? Well, יהוה told Yirmeyahu to write another scroll!!! This is a kind or type of picture that reminds us of the time that Mosheh broke the first two tablets of stone that the 10 commandments were written on and how he had to make two new tablets upon which יהוה would again write His 10 Words that the entire nation heard! Yirmeyahu had to write what had already been written… not new words… the same words… the same words that had been cut up and burnt by the wicked king! יהוה’s Word if forever!!!
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 40:8 “Grass shall wither, the flower shall fade, but the Word of our Elohim stands forever.”
This once again is a picture of the patience of Elohim, not desiring that any should perish:
Kěpha Bět/2 Peter 3:9 “יהוה is not slow in regard to the promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward us, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
The written Word must be spoken so that people can hear and repent!
While those who want their ears tickled reject the hearing of the Truth and try to scrape away the Torah we, the blessed of Elohim, must rise up and speak the written Word!
A scribe’s knife was typically used to scrape off an error that a scribe had written, like an eraser is used today. And what we can see from this, in a metaphorical sense, is the clear ‘striking of the Word’ that is done by so many, as they have the audacity to ‘cut out’ parts of Scripture that they do not agree with and think that if it is ignored long enough it will go away. יהוה’s Word is the same yesterday, today and forever!
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:7 “Beloved, I write no fresh command to you, but an old command which you have had from the beginning. The old command is the Word which you heard from the beginning.”
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:24 “As for you, let that stay in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning stays in you, you also shall stay in the Son and in the Father.”
“From the beginning” is a very clear clue… His Word that must be heard starts ‘IN THE BEGINNING’ – Berěshith (Genesis) – which means, “in the beginning”.
Yoḥanan Bět/2 John 1:6 “And this is the love, that we walk according to His commands. This is the command, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.”
As you consider the events of this chapter in Yirmeyahu you need to ask yourself what you are doing with the Word. Are you hearing, guarding and doing the Word, and therefore are being bold is taking a your stand as you rise up and speak the written Word of Elohim, or do you find yourself striking out that which you do not like to hear and find yourself turning a deaf ear to that which you need to hear?
Many may not think of physically ‘cutting’ or ‘burning’ their Scriptures, but what about those necessary things that are being conveniently neglected, such as proper tithing and the giving of offerings and support, or how about the neglecting to gather as we are commanded to as some are in the habit of doing! Neglecting to do what is being commanded in Scripture is no different than cutting or burning the written Word, and showing contempt for the Word! So the next time you are too lazy to gather on the Sabbaths and Feasts of יהוה, carefully consider the warning that Yehoyaqim received, or the next time you neglect to pay tithes and over above your tithes you neglect to give offerings and gifts to יהוה, consider the warning and severe woe Yehoyaqim and his servants received! How about husbands and wives not fulfilling their proper roles in their marriage as they neglect to be the husband and wife that Scripture clearly teaches them to be. We could go on and on for hours as we could comb through Scripture and assess many areas that may be shown up as being clearly neglected through compromise and sin. This is not the time to be cutting out parts of the Word you do not like, nor is it time to burn it away as if it has no application in your life. The Word is alive and active, sharper than a double edged sword and we need to recognise that.
Tehillah/Psalm 12:6 “The Words of יהוה are clean Words, silver tried in a furnace of earth, refined seven times.”
Through the very life, death and resurrection of our Master and Elohim we are able to clearly recognise how clean, tried and refined his Word is and we best not cut out or burn it away in any way, but rather take up the Word and proclaim it without hindrance!
Will you, blessed one of יהוה, rise up and speak the written Word? You do know what this means don’t you? This means that you need to know the Word! This means that you need to meditate on the Torah day and night! This means that you need to walk straight in the Truth and not turn to the left or to the right in wavering compromise, lest you compromise that which you are called to proclaim! Let us hear clearly today the Word of Elohim through the written words of Yehoshua that he spoke to Yisra’ĕl in his closing speech in:
Yehoshua/Joshua 23:6-8 “And you shall be very strong to guard and to do all that is written in the Book of the Torah of Mosheh, so as not to turn aside from it right or left, 7 so as not to go in among these nations, these who remain among you. And make no mention of the name of their mighty ones, a nor swear by them, nor serve them nor bow down to them. 8 “But cling to יהוה your Elohim, as you have done to this day.”
In a time where ear tickling lawlessness is being proclaimed and entertained at large by most, let us be bold in our role as set-apart, chosen ambassadors of Messiah and proclaim the reign of the heavens that draws near!
Do not be like Yehoyaqim, which clearly pictures for us an unstable man who goes where he thinks he can get better treatment by submitting to worldly ways of the flesh, and is tossed about by every wind of teaching.
Be like Baruḵ and Yirmeyahu:
‘RISE UP AND SPEAK THE WRITTEN WORD, O BLESSED OF יהוה!’
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face upon you and give you shalom!