Jeremiah 36: Written in Black and White
It may seem like Jeremiah was always prophesying doom, but it was not as if there were not opportunities for them people of Judah to listen to him and turn back to God. In Jeremiah 36, we are apparently 18 years before the capture of Jerusalem according to John Gill’s commentary, and Zedekiah was still only a prince.
God told Jeremiah the following:
Jer 36:2 Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.
Jer 36:3 It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.
Jer 36:4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book.
This is incredibly significant. This was written down in black-and-white. The people of Judah could not make the argument that they forgot the words of Jeremiah. They were written down for them. That being said, as soon as the king got a hold of the scroll, he cut it up and threw it in the fire. However, many people saw this document, heard it read and apparently witnessed the burning including the future king Zedekiah who did nothing to change the situation once he had the throne. There was also a second copy written later in the chapter.
I think that this is kind of a sad parallel to the world that we live in today. God has also given us a document that basically tells us that we are people who need to get right with God. We are separated from Him because of our sinful nature, but Jesus Christ died to provide the bridge that can bring us back into a relationship with God.
That being said, many people throw it into the fire figuratively (I guess occasionally literally as well). For whatever reason, they don’t want to take the implications of Christianity seriously. There is plenty of information out there on the validity and reasonability of the Christian worldview, so I am not going to repeat all of that for you here, but just like the leadership of Judah at the time, some people will continue to disbelieve in spite of the evidence. However, it is not because God has kept all of this a secret. The Bible is quite clear regarding our need for salvation through Jesus Christ just like it was clear for the people of Judah who needed to come back to God or this judgment.