Jeremiah chapter 45: Even great servants of God can get distressed but God restores those who wait on Him. “Come with your burdens and I will release you”
Who was Baruch? Baruch was a son of Neriah and his brother (Seraiah) served in the kingship of Zedekiah (Jeremiah 51:59). I am not sure if his brother was already a great person in the times of King Jehoiakim, but the writers of Wiersbe Bible commentary stress that he chose to be humble and serve the Lord though his brother would have secured him a nice job or office in the government. However, most writers agree that Baruch expected to be promoted after reading the great prophecy to the people but his expectations were thwarted and turned around when the king ordered apprehension of him and the prophet as we observed in chapter 36.
So today we open up the chapter with God’s word of consolation to Baruch. It is assumed that this chapter was not inserted or put out next to chapter 36 simply because it contained a private message to an individual (The same arrangement is observed when St. Paul included a private message to Philemon in his letters and thus the private message comes last, making his letter to Philemon the last). Another chapter that bears the same date as 45 is 25. God addressed Baruch in his own name, which portrayed that God was concerned about him and all his sufferings and thus the forthcoming advice, counsel or consolation was a heart to heart message (verse 2).
Baruch had read the letter, the King had gotten angry, instead of employing him, the letter had been burnt, there was a warrant of him and Jeremiah being arrested and possibly killed and all this was a mess to Baruch. And compared to his expectations, it was hell. Usually, we are unable to handle adversity because we are always over-expectant. We have high hopes in things or people and when the betrayals or conspiracies happen, we cannot pick ourselves up. In Baruch`s observation, it was sorrow after sorrow, pain after pain, abundant of bad things (verse 3).
On verse 4, God showed Baruch that He was about to destroy His entire nation (both the nation and the temple). God added that Baruch was looking for better things in a wrong place or among wrong people since they were to all be gone in moments. Many writers also cite that Baruch was unhappy that He was not bestowed with the gift of prophecy yet he was faithful to a great prophet like Jeremiah. Indeed, Joshua served Moses and the Holy Spirit rested upon him, Elisha served Elijah and the Holy Spirit rested upon him, why not with me, Baruch, the servant of Jeremiah? In God’s reply and consolation, these are vividly answered. The people and things were being washed away and who would he prophecy to? If the government was soon falling to the sword of Babylonians, why the hell would he yearn for a job in such a place? If everything was soon falling down, how come he expected to be better off?
However, even though Baruch would run out of the country as the rest, his life would always be spared wherever he went. This was a great promise to an individual when everyone else was to meet the sword. This clearly reveals that God’s servants might lose everything but not their lives. Indeed, those who believe and trust in Chris and offer their lives for Him will spare their lives forever as the bible says.
Our focus is on verse 5, “Baruch you are looking for great things for yourself. Do not look for them, because I will bring disaster on all the people”. You see, it is not bad to get rich or better in terms of jobs, health, family, friends or leadership as long as it is done in the right way and at the right time or among right people. Baruch`s way of prosperity had not been designed to be through having the gift of prophecy or getting a position in the government but serving the great prophet Jeremiah. Also, his time to yearn for good things was not right or the people he wished to be among, for God’s axe of punishment was already on their heads. I am sure Baruch found strength in these words and kept up with his honorable services to the prophet and to God. It is clear that Baruch was left with Jeremiah following the complete destruction of Jerusalem and must have taken part in Jeremiah’s persuasion of Gedaliah to serve the Babylonian King.
Finally, when Gedaliah got murdered by Ishmael and Johanan swept away all the Jews to Egypt, Baruch went with his master to Egypt. Some historians cite that Baruch was captured back by Nebuchadnezzar II during the destruction of Egypt, taken to Babylon and returned to Judah when the Jews returned though other sources say that He did not return to Judah since he enjoyed studying Torah in Babylon than returning to rebuild the temple. We will look at these details later. So let us seek God to understand where He really needs us, the time He needs and the people He needs us to work with. Even great servants of God can get distressed but God gives strength to those who wait on Him. Go to Him with all your burdens and He will relieve you.
I can never end without inviting you to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and savior. Say this prayer with me: “Oh God, I am sorry I have wronged you. I now see you sent your only son to die for me so I can live forever in happiness. I am a sinner and I regret it all. Please, forgive me Jesus and receive me in your family as your child. Thank you for loving me. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen”. If you have prayed this prayer, we believe you have been saved. Find a true church near you and be part of it for your spiritual sharing and growth.
We love you. The Complete You