And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe…
We read in the first lesson this morning the earliest instance of Bible-burning on record, and also the uselessness of the experiment. On this page of the Bible we have two extremes brought into juxtaposition — there is the extreme of utter obedience, as illustrated by the Rechabites, in the preceding chapter, and the extreme of disobedience, recorded here. Between these two cases lies the life conduct of the men and women of our generation. Few are so obedient as to follow out to the very letter the duties enjoined on us by God's holy Word. We like to shirk the more disagreeable, and to modify others so as to justify a partial obedience; and yet, though we may try to find loopholes through which to escape distasteful duties, I question much whether any would go to the extreme of defiance, represented by Jehoiakim's conduct in burning the Book itself. Whether the teachings of the Book are followed out as they should be, or disregarded, people generally admit their duty to obey and yield honour and respect to the Book itself, if not from proper motives, then from a superstitious, unreasoning veneration. The holy Bible ought to be treated by us with respect at least; the Book ought not to be treated as any other book, but should occupy a place peculiarly its own, and that because it is the gift of God to man, the gift which shows us the way of salvation, which tells us of God's relationship to us as our Father, which tells the story of a Saviour's love and compassion. Jehoiakim is a beacon to us to warn us of the danger of hardening our hearts and resisting holy influences. Sins persisted in bring sorrow and reverses, and the effect of reverses is either to bring us to God or to drive us far away from Him into the outer darkness of misery and ruin. Unless the heart is illuminated by the light of true religion, man will rebel when God chastens; misfortunes will but drive him into evil excesses, and, instead of quickening within his breast the sense of sin and inciting to repentance, he will go from bad to worse, he will be unwilling to hear the voice of God, will shut his eyes to his danger, and will, in effect, dismiss those whose duty it is to recall him to his better self, with the old answer of Felix to Paul.
(M. P. Maturin, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.