After the king burned the scroll containing the words that Baruch had written at Jeremiah’s dictation, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Take another scroll and write on it all the words that were on the first scroll, which Jehoiakim king of Judah burned up. Also tell Jehoiakim king of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord says: You burned that scroll and said, “Why did you write on it that the king of Babylon would certainly come and destroy this land and wipe from it both man and beast?” Therefore this is what the Lord says about Jehoiakim king of Judah: He will have no one to sit on the throne of David; his body will be thrown out and exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night. I will punish him and his children and his attendants for their wickedness; I will bring on them and those living in Jerusalem and the people of Judah every disaster I pronounced against them, because they have not listened.’ ” So Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote on it all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them. – Jeremiah 36:27-32
So the water reference here is somewhat tangential, frost, but it is an interesting passage so I figured it was worth a look. Jeremiah is beginning to get serious resistance from the leaders in Judah and Jerusalem. In this passage the king of Judah, Jehoiakim orders that a scroll of prophetic words uttered by Jeremiah be burned. This “book burning” is a physical metaphor for the way the people have been treating all of the prophecies uttered by Jeremiah. They are ignoring, working against, and trying to destroy them.
The king was upset because the scroll predicts the invasion and destruction of Judah by the king of Babylon. Instead of reflecting on why God might want to allow this and perhaps change his behavior the king would rather blame the message and the messenger. The consequences of the king of Judah’s actions are that “He will have no one to sit on the throne of David; his body will be thrown out and exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night.” It will be the end of the line for Jehoiakim and his descendants.
I am not sure the reference to heat by day and frost by night holds any special meaning except that it is common in the desert to experience very large swings in temperature from day to night. The king is subject to the ravages of this world, including heat and frost, because he has removed himself from God’s protection. The core problem is that the people have failed to listen. They have ears but they do not hear and eyes but they do not see. This is the very same thing Jesus said to the religious leaders when they were choosing to persecute rather than praise Him (Mark 8:18).
Jeremiah did not give up when the king burned the words God had given him. He simply had his scribe Baruch prepare another scroll and the second version included all that was previously written and more. The take-home message for me is that we should always be prepared to listen to what God has to say to us and if we are called to share a message from God to others we should not become discouraged if it is not received well. God may ask us to share an unpopular message as he did the early followers of Christ. They were willing to remain steadfast and courageous despite persecution and hardship. We should be willing to do the same.
Prayer: God help us to be both good listeners and faithful to share Your message with others when we are called to do so.