Jeremiah 45

Jeremiah 45 is one of the shortest chapters our prophet penned.  Five short verses written to Baruch.  “The word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he wrote these words in a book at the dictation of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah”.  Baruch was the long-time, trusted associate of Jeremiah.  Both he and Jeremiah were taken to Egypt against their will.  He was a faithful partner with Jeremiah and served him well over the years.

Baruch had to endure a lot of opposition and abuse. He certainly suffered much for his faithfulness to God and Jeremiah, and he therefore felt that God could in some way be blamed for his grief and sorrow.  “Woe is me! For the Lord has added sorrow to my pain. I am weary with my groaning, and I find no rest”.  A little whining going on here by Baruch to the prophet Jeremiah and ultimately to God.  He has been through many challenges with God’s people and is now exposed to fear about the future.  But his focus is on one thing – me, myself and I – he used five personal pronouns in his one short verse of complaining to God.  Baruch is definitely on the me train here.

The world was falling apart around them.  God was moving their cheese.  “Behold, what I have built I am breaking down, and what I have planted I am plucking up—that is, the whole land”.  Baruch typically recorded Jeremiah’s words from God to His people.  This time, he writes down God’s words to himself.  We should note that God heard and responded to Baruch’s words or prayer.  That should give us hope and assurance that God hears us too.  God makes it clear that He alone has the power and authority to do whatever He pleases.  And that His power is sometimes expressed in judgment – God’s nature requires that He address disobedience and sin.  And the real news – God wasn’t done with that yet.

Then God addresses the root of Baruch’s issue – he wanted great things for himself.  “And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not, for behold, I am bringing disaster upon all flesh, declares the Lord”.  Some of Baruch’s discouragement and disappointment came from seeking great things for himself. He expected to be at a better and different place in his life than where he found himself at the time. The disappointment of great things sought and unfulfilled weighed heavily on him.  But God wanted Baruch to have the right mindset – not obsessed or overly-concerned about his own advancement and perceived success.

What God says is that to seek a name for yourself, a place of importance and distinction among men, is to look for the wrong thing in the wrong place. It’s not wrong to have ambition, but it needs to be focused on exalting God, not ourselves, and making Him known.  God’s desire for us is to exalt Christ crucified, not ourselves.  God does give Baruch strong assurance that He would take care of him.  “But I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places to which you may go.”  It doesn’t mean there was smooth sailing.  But the very suffering through which Baruch passed because of his loyalty to Jeremiah gained him honor beyond anything he could have anticipated.

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