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 at what they heard. (Jeremiah 36:23-24)
Relate: There was a man who showed up suddenly at the pearly gates. When he found himself at the front of the line, Saint Peter said to him, “Before I look your name up in the Book of Life here, I have a short survey we have been doing for the last decade or so, are you up for it?”
Of course, this man wanted to gain any brownie points he could so he responded, “Sure.”
Saint Peter began asking off the questions and when they got to number five Peter asked, “What is the most recent good deed you remember doing?”
“Oh, that’s easy.” The man replied, “I was driving down this side road when I saw a biker gang menacing this pretty young girl. I pulled my car right over, popped the trunk, and grabbed my tire iron. Then I yelled out to those bikers, ‘If you want to mess with her, you’re going to have to mess with me first!’ I then reached up and pulled the nose ring right out of the biggest, meanest looking guy in that group.”
Peter leaned back visibly surprised. “Wow.” He said, “When did this happen?”
The man simply shrugged. “Oh, perhaps a minute or two before I found myself in this line here.”
React: Jeremiah had been banned from the Temple because of the “treasonous” words he had been prophesying against the nation of Judah and the people of Jerusalem. So rather than going and proclaiming God’s latest message to the people in person, he invested a lot of time and probably money to have the message written in a scroll, then he has his scribe go to the Temple and read that prophesy to the people there.
That scroll gets confiscated, it is brought to the king, and that king simply cut it in shreds it as it is being read throwing the scraps into the fire. He made a mockery of the words of God. He wasted in a literal flash all the time and effort, heart and work, of Jeremiah and that scribe. The thing is, Jeremiah probably wasn’t surprised. This king had already killed one of his contemporaries. From his commissioning until the fall of Jerusalem, Jeremiah had been preaching repent to a people who refused to listen for multiple decades.
Jeremiah set out to do an impossible task knowing he will not be successful. Sounds a bit like that driver who got out of his car to take on a biker gang. He certainly didn’t think he could possibly be successful but he did the right thing anyways. If God calls me to something that is destined to fail, would I do it anyways? Am I willing to do the right thing simply because it is the right thing even if there is no hope of success? What are my motivations?
God, I surrender all. I surrender my need to be successful. I surrender my need to be influential. Let me simply be obedient. If what You have called me to do is destined to become scraps thrown into the fire, let me do it anyways. If You are sending me up against giants that will kill me, let me die that Your Kingdom might advance. Let me be poured out like water that all my works and efforts and obedience might be a spilled bit of mud soaking up a dry and parched land. Success is in Your hands. Glory belongs to You. All I am called to is obedience and surrender. Let me live up to that calling.