Day 152: Tyranny and the Fear of God

Jeremiah 36:19-26

Then the princes said to Baruch, “You and Jeremiah go hide. Don’t let anyone know where you are.”

They went in to the king into the court, but they had laid up the scroll in the room of Elishama the scribe. Then they told all the words in the hearing of the king. So the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it out of the room of Elishama the scribe. Jehudi read it in the hearing of the king, and in the hearing of all the princes who stood beside the king. Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, and there was a fire in the brazier burning before him. When Jehudi had read three or four columns, the king cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the brazier. The king and his servants who heard all these words were not afraid, and didn’t tear their garments. Moreover Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the scroll; but he would not listen to them. The king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to arrest Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet; but Yahweh hid them.

There’s a lot about these verses that are troubling because of how similar they are to things that I see happening in the United States and in the world today. Here we see that the king and his men took written words of God and attempted to destroy them, while the people and their princes respected God’s word and were afraid. It appears that evil men had taken hold of the highest positions of government, leaving the vast majority under their wicked domination. There were even princes of the people who feared God, yet the top levels of the government boldly opposed Him. It’s pretty obvious that these evil leaders had come to the conclusion that God didn’t have any real power to do anything against them. What I see is that evil usually has to force its will by taking over human governments. It appears that the common man and most leaders are able to fear God after hearing His word, but the most wicked are not moved. When those most wicked men take over the government at the highest level, the righteous men often have to hide, and that’s what Baruch and Jeremiah did.

There are some good things here. The fact that God gave Jeremiah and Baruch a chance to hide is one of them. Another good thing is that there were princes who did fear God. They must have known, however, that the king and his men didn’t because they told Baruch and Jeremiah to hide before they even went to the king. Could it be that the princes were aware of evil but were too afraid to oppose the king all this time? It’s interesting to me that so many common men and even leaders were able to fear God even during this time of God’s judgment. The Bible is clear that even in the very last days, this same kind of thing will happen. Even though the anti-christ will take power, he will kill huge numbers of believers during the great tribulation and many Israelis will go into hiding. Some will be protected by God in such a way that they won’t even have to hide. It would appear that the majority of the people were willing to fear God at this point. That causes me to think that a democratic form of government would have worked better in this situation. Even so, leaders would have to respect that form of government in order for it to work and when a tyrant takes over, they may claim to be democratic but actually work against it.