The Rash Penknife
Jeremiah 36:20-26
And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe…

Jehoiakim s last opportunity was now to come. The Spirit of God comes upon the prophet Jeremiah, and inspires him with a message from Heaven. Baruch, the scribe, is summoned to take it down in writing from his lips. I see him coming to the prophet's chamber with ink and pen and sheets of parchment. The people are awed and amazed. One of them, named Michaiah, instantly hastens off to the palace, and, finding a number of the princes gathered together, acquaints them with what has taken place, and gives them the substance of the prophecy. Presently one of these is commissioned to go into the monarch's presence and inform him. Jehoiakim, professing great indifference, has yet his curiosity aroused, and wishes the document itself to be brought to him. So Jehudi runs and fetches the roll, telling of the awful judgments that are about to descend upon the throne and upon the land, and proceeds to read it aloud to the king. The tragic sequel you already know, So Jehoiakim's day of grace closed. In that moment the door of mercy was shut against him for ever! His doom was sealed. The Spirit of God was quenched. The man was given up. Not, observe, that his life was ended; he lived at least four years after this; but he had sinned away his day of grace, and never more was God to ply him with the offers of mercy. His soul's ruin was now complete.

I. THOSE WHO, IN THEIR EARLY DAYS, HAVE RESISTED HOLY INFLUENCES, GENERALLY TURN OUT THE MOST WICKED OF MEN. I hardly know an exception to this rule. Nor can you much wonder that it is so. It is just what we might expect. When a man deliberately tramples on conviction, and resists the dealings of God's Spirit, he uses the most effectual means to sear his conscience and harden his heart. If, in early days, you have been hedged round with Christian influences, and loving counsels, and bright examples, and fervent prayers: and you have withstood all these things, you are just the person most likely to make a rebound to the other extreme, and plunge headlong into gross iniquity.

II. IF A MAN'S RELIGION IS NOT GENUINE AND HEART-DEEP, IT OFTEN HAPPENS THAT TROUBLES AND CALAMITIES ONLY DRIVE HIM FARTHER AWAY FROM GOD. Do you remember what is written of King Ahaz? It might be written of many a one besides him. "In the time of stress did he trespass yet more against the Lord." Yes, with some men the more they suffer the more they sin. Adversity angers them against God. It is well known that times of pestilence, whilst they have brought out an unwonted religious earnestness on the one side, have brought out an unusual amount of wickedness on the other. The plague of London developed the vices of the metropolis to a frightful extent. Men patrolled the streets singing ribald songs beside the dead cart. When a ship is wrecked, and about to go to the bottom, if some fall on their knees and pray, others fly to drink and cursing. Nothing is a truer touchstone of character than the way in which a man treats the chastenings of God.

III. AS THE HEART GETS HARDENED IN SIN, THERE IS A GROWING UNWILLINGNESS TO LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF GOD. As soon as a young man begins an evil course, and resolves to take his fill of sinful pleasure, he acquires a hatred of his Bible, and a disinclination to attend the house of God. If he cannot silence God's ministers, he will keep as far as possible from them, and shut his ears against all good counsel I know a man to whom the sound of the church bells is so hateful, that in the warmest day in summer he will close all his windows, if possible, to keep it out. He was once a very different man, but now the devil has got such possession of him, that he abhors every vestige of religion; and I verily believe that were you to put a Bible into his hand, he would cut it in pieces with his penknife, and pitch it into the fire. If I want to know something of your state of heart, I ask, what value do you put on, and what use do you make of the law of God?

(J. T. Davidson, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king.

WEB: They went in to the king into the court; but they had laid up the scroll in the room of Elishama the scribe; and they told all the words in the ears of the king.

The Mutilated Bible
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