Text (Jeremiah Chapters 45-48)
OBSERVE: In chapter 45, we see a message for Baruch who was the long-time and very trusted penman for the prophet Jeremiah.
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.” 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.” (Jeremiah 45: 2-5)
INTERPRET: This chapter is not in chronological order. The previous chapters dealt with the time after the fall of Jerusalem and Judah while this chapter deals with a time many years before that disaster. This chapter can almost be seen as a flashback in the narrative. Although Baruch was used to writing out what God was saying to others, this was a word for God’s discouraged and exhausted servant.
God first tells Baruch of His great power and in particular His great power expressed in judgment. This reminded Baruch of God’s power and authority and also put some of Baruch’s perceived problems into perspective. Secondly, God reminds Baruch of the promise of His care. God wanted Baruch to have the right mindset and not to be overly focused about things that would eventually fade away but rather on the purposes and promises of God.
APPLICATION: Baruch was an educated man, qualified as a secretary, whose brother was an officer of high rank under Zedekiah (Jeremiah 51:59). But whatever great things he sought for himself and his future were most likely lost by becoming a supporter of the unpopular Jeremiah. However, God’s assurance to Baruch was very strong - He would take care of Baruch. Even when he was later taken to Egypt with Jeremiah, this promise was sure to take care of Baruch wherever he may go.
As Christians, we too will need to let go of certain things and to trust in God’s promises. Baruch had to let go of his ambitions in his professional career in order to serve God. But we see that this decision was truly worth it to Baruch. This becomes clear by the order that Baruch arranged Jeremiah’s scroll as he put his prophecy right where it belonged. Baruch treasured the promise God gave him. It reminded him of the way God answered him in his despair. So Baruch put it here at the end of his life to show that God was faithful to His promise to care for him.
REFLECTION: Is there anything that God is calling you to give up to serve him more faithfully?
PRAYER: Jesus, living in your purposes is where all the worthwhile treasures are located. Thank you for your promise to care for me forever. Help me to focus on your Kingdom and not my own. AMEN.
SONG: Promise Keeper - David Jooste
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.