Today’s Scripture Reading (April 30, 2017) Jeremiah 36
Personal Note: Today, a long journey comes to an end. I have been working on a Master of Divinity Degree for the past eleven years, and today the journey comes to a close. Today, I graduate. It has been an exciting time, I have met a lot of really special people, and heard some interesting stories.
One of my Fellow Graduates told me a story of family opposition to her even starting her journey toward a degree. After all, don’t people who obtain too much education tend to fall away from the church? She admits that, for the length of her journey toward her graduate degree, she has enjoyed sharing tidbits of information from her seminary classes with her family that they might find deeply disturbing. (Apparently, she enjoys poking the bear.) But her family is not alone. Over the years I have met many people who seem to be deeply suspicious of knowledge. We are quite content believing what we believe without ever having that knowledge challenged. It is something that my friends have come to understand about me – I love to challenge beliefs of the people around me. If we depend on our feelings to establish our spiritual principles, then we are traveling down a very dangerous road because what we feel (and what I feel) does not always lead us toward truth. We need to be challenged – and that includes me. And providing a challenge to our established beliefs is something at which educational institutions usually excel. But the understanding that challenging of ideas or beliefs or doctrines is always wrong is incorrect. We need to be challenged, or we will be in danger of continuing to believe what is false.
Jehoiakim thought that everything was going to turn out alright. God would come through in the end. He always did. The Northern Kingdom of Israel had been carried off into exile, but they were not Judah. That was not going to happen to Judah. God would come through. However, the message from Jeremiah was exactly the opposite. Babylon had been sent by God to get the attention of the King, his court, and his people. Apparently, Jeremiah had gotten the message through to the court, but Jehoiakim was still not a fan. And so, he ignores the message, silently cutting it up as it is read and burning it so that it cannot disturb him anymore. Much like my friend’s family, he seemed to believe that information that he did not possess could not hurt him. He just felt that everything was going to be alright.
Meanwhile, just outside the city gates, God stood with the Babylonian army just as he had told Jeremiah. The city was about to fall, and Jehoiakim’s ignorance could not stop that reality.
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 37