Jehoiakim was such an evil king that his name and deeds crop up all over the place. A few examples:
(1) He killed a prophet simply for delivering God’s message. During the time Jeremiah was warning the people of Judah to repent, another prophet named Uriah was also delivering God’s messages. “…he predicted the same terrible disaster against the city and nation as Jeremiah did. When King Jehoiakim and the army officers and officials heard what he was saying, the king sent someone to kill him.
But Uriah heard about the plan and escaped in fear to Egypt. Then King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Acbor to Egypt along with several other men to capture Uriah. They took him prisoner and brought him back to King Jehoiakim. The king then killed Uriah with a sword and had him buried in an unmarked grave” (Jeremiah 26:20b-23, NLT).
(2) He burned the Word of God. “During the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king in Judah, the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: ‘Get a scroll, and write down all My messages against Israel, Judah, and the other nations. Begin with the first message back in the days of Josiah, and write down every message, right up to the present time. Perhaps the people of Judah will repent when they hear again all the terrible things I have planned for them. Then I will be able to forgive their sins and wrongdoings” (Jeremiah 36:1-3).
Baruch the scribe wrote down the Lord’s message on a scroll and then, according to Jeremiah’s instructions, “read these messages from the Lord to the people at the Temple” (Jeremiah 36:8b). When some of the officials heard about the scroll, they had Baruch read it to them.
“Then the officials left the scroll for safekeeping in the room of Elishama the secretary and went to tell the king what had happened. The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi brought it from Elishama’s room and read it to the king as all his officials stood by. It was late autumn, and the king was in a winterized part of the palace, sitting in front of a fire to keep warm. Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king took a knife and cut off that section of the scroll. He then threw it into the fire, section by section, until the whole scroll was burned up. Neither the king nor his attendants showed any signs of fear or repentance” (Jeremiah 36:20-24a).
(3) And then he demanded the arrest of Jeremiah and Baruch. “But the Lord had hidden them” (Jeremiah 36:26b).
Did Jehoiakim actually think he could do away with the Word of the Lord? “After the king had burned the scroll on which Baruch had written Jeremiah’s words, the Lord gave Jeremiah another message. He said, ‘Get another scroll, and write everything again just as you did on the scroll King Jehoiakim burned.’ So Jeremiah took another scroll and dictated again to his secretary, Baruch. He wrote everything that had been on the scroll King Jehoiakim had burned in the fire. Only this time He added much more!” (Jeremiah 36:27-28, 32).
“Only this time He added much more!” Jeremiah didn’t add to the message – the Lord did; and you should read the whole passage to see what He had to say this time. Jehoiakim received multiple warnings from God, multiple opportunities to repent and lead the nation back to Jehovah. Yet time and time again Jehoiakim rejected the Lord and chose evil.
“It’s bad enough for me to make choices that hurt my own relationship with God. How much more serious is it to be the cause of someone else deciding to sin? Not only must I choose the pathway of holiness for God’s sake and for my own sake; I must also do it for the sake of others.” (Nancy Leigh DeMoss)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates