Jeremiah 45 entails a message of encouragement to Baruch from God.
Who was Baruch?
Baruch was Jeremiah’s faithful scribe and friend. Baruch was obedient to God and was beside Jeremiah through his ministry. Baruch wrote all the words God instructed Jeremiah to in a scroll and even at times spoke on Jeremiah’s behalf as we see in Jer 36:10.
Because of Baruch’s faithfulness and obedience to God, he along with Jeremiah were sought after by King Jehoiakim. Baruch too shared Jeremiah’s anguish of finding themselves in challenging circumstances because of their faithfulness to God.
Baruch’s words to God
In verse 2-3 we read “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: You said, ‘Woe to me! The Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.”
These words give us a glimpse into the heaviness in Baruch’s heart. It implies a weariness that seeped deeper than just physical tiredness but more so seemed to stem from being emotionally weary. But within that cry to God is also a very self-focused complaint. Baruch’s cry is very ‘Me’ focused. He says Woe to me! My pain, I am worn out and find no rest. Notice he also states that the Lord is the one further adding to his anguish.
For us: There is no fault in pouring our hearts out to God when we struggle with something, but God had a word for his weary servant, and He wanted Baruch to view things through a different lens.
God’s words to Baruch
Jeremiah 45:4-5 outlines God’s message to Baruch through Jeremiah “But the Lord has told me to say to you, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will overthrow what I have built and uproot what I have planted, throughout the earth. Should you then seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them. For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life.’”
As Baruch stood alongside Jeremiah and kept on hearing the words of judgement for the disobedient people of Judah, the impending doom was eventually what Baruch might have begun to focus more on. And that would have sat heavy on his heart making him focus on the bleak future that lay ahead for him.
For us: How often do we narrow our vision to all that seems to be going wrong around us? And just like Baruch, even though we are filled with the knowledge that God is with us, it can be hard to not let the messes in front of and around us chip away at our perspective on things.
God is Sovereign and Almighty
The Lord begins with reminding Baruch of His sovereign power. Either being in difficult situations ourselves or being a part of a world that seems stubborn in not recognising their need for God can often leave one with a feeling of helplessness making one woeful of all that is happening. But just as God reminded Baruch that He is the one who builds and uproots throughout the earth, it is a reminder for us too that however removed from God things might seem to us, they are never out of His watchful eye, His sovereign will and His control.
What are you seeking?
With God’s words to Baruch of the surety of overthrow and uprooting of the nation of Judah, God then points to the futility of seeking seemingly great things. The seemingly great things that God refers to are those that have only earthly value, that which perishes with our time here in the world.
For us: What are the seemingly great things that we might have set our hearts on and are seeking after? Are we rightfully valuing the things of God above our earthly pursuits?
Baruch was the son of Neriah, in Jer 51:59 we read of another son of Neriah, Seraiah, and he is described as a staff officer of king Zedekiah. In the eyes of the world, between the two brothers, Seraiah had the position, the comfort and the acceptance of the people then. But Baruch pursued the things of God rather than the things of this world. In his moments of glum ponderings, Baruch might have been prone to compare his situation with his brother’s and hence the Lord reminding him to recalibrate what to set his heart’s desires on and what he should be seeking after. There is nothing clearer in the message than God saying to Baruch, “Seek them not”
God’s words are a reminder to Baruch to shift his focus back on God, and on God’s call and purpose on His life. May this be a reminder for us too, to reflect on what we are seeking after. Trust the Lord, let Him be the centre of your world.
And God ends His message with a promise of protection. Baruch would face hardships, but he would always have God with him. A precious reminder for us that we will never be without God and that is the greatest assurance we can have.
To stand for the things of God with conviction, consistency and faithfulness in the midst of a people who were stubborn in their sin and refused to repent, was a call God placed on Jeremiah’s and Baruch’s life. When we read through Jeremiah, we harbor a very lonely road for him on his God given path but knowing that Baruch, his scribe and friend was beside him reminds us that God in a way did provide that support for both of them through that friendship. That does not negate one’s dependence on God but it sure does make walking the narrow road a little bit easier. They shared a bond of faithfulness to God.
For many of us we may not be called to be walking like Jeremiah in the front and centre on a public platform. But like Baruch we can be faithful friends and supporters to each other as we walk the narrow path, pursuing the things of God, living out His plan and purpose for our lives and being faithful to the Almighty.