Jeremiah 45

 

 

Promise to Baruch (vs. 1-5)

 

 

 

1   “The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of

Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of

Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of

Judah, saying,” - These words; i.e. the revelations which Baruch had

committed (or was committing) to writing.  2  Thus saith the LORD, the

God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch:   3 Thou didst say, Woe is me now!

for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow;” - Baruch felt “sorrow” or

pain” at the sinfulness of the people; “grief” or “anxiety” was added by

Jeremiah’s announcement of the judgment - “I fainted in my sighing, and

I find no rest.”  (Compare Psalm 6:7)

 

4  Thus shalt thou say unto him, The LORD saith thus; Behold, that

which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted

I will pluck up, even this whole land.”  (Compare ch. 1:10)

 

5  And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not:” - All around

is passing through a sore crisis, and canst thou expect a better lot? It is no time

for personal ambition, when the very foundations of the state are crumbling –

for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life

will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.”  This seems

to indicate that Baruch’s time of exile would be a restless one; it would nowhere

be safe for him to take up a settled habitation.

 

(I would like to note God’s care of His own, in particular, Ebed-melech in

ch. 39:15-18; and concerning Baruch here.  Also note Habakkuk 3:15-19.

The Lord will take care of us in the end also!  CY – 2011)

    

 

   The Grief of One Soul, and Its Consolation (vs. 1-5)

 

This chapter is devoted to one man. Among the large prophecies concerning

whole nations, room is found for a prophecy to a single individual. The Bible

is at once universal and individualistic in character. Its narratives alternate

history with biography. GOD CARES FOR THE WHOLE WORLD

and truth is larges as the universe; yet God does not forget one soul in its

private distress, and truth has special applications to special cases.

 

 

Ø      The first sorrow. Probably this arose from a consideration of the

wretched condition of the nation in its vice and decay. It is right

and natural that good men should feel deep concern at the state

of their country. (The only way I can describe the decline of

the United States is:  “I mourn”  - CY – 2011)  The Christian

should have the spirit of Him who “when He beheld the city,

wept over it” (Luke 19:41).  Moreover, if we see much of the

wickedness of the world, we should not be satisfied with

steadily condemning it, nor with congratulating ourselves on

our own superior goodness. The sight should fill us with sorrow.

They who go thus astray are our own brethren. And is

not there much of the same sin in all of us? Often the wickedness

which shocks us in others is only the full development of the very

sin that lurks in our own hearts.  (ch.17:9)

 

Ø      The added grief.

 

o       This came from the prophecy. Baruch was commissioned

to write and read. His privileged position, so near to the

fountain of inspiration, only deepened his distress. High

spiritual privilege may bring only sadness in this world’s

experience. Increase of knowledge may be increase of

sorrow.  (Ecclesiastes 1:18) - Revelation is sometimes a

cause of distress. In the present case the prophecy was a

declaration of the approaching doom of Jerusalem. We

should contemplate the punishment of the impenitent

with profound grief.  Revengeful, triumphant, or self-

complacent feelings in regard to this terrible subject are

quite unchristian.

 

o       Baruch had personal grounds for his distress. In the

approaching overthrow of his nation all his cherished

hopes of personal ambition were shattered. The most

sanguine too often suffer the bitterest disappointments.

 

o       Jeremiah’s grief would add to that of Baruch. Sorrow

is contagious.  He who is much with “the Man of sorrows”

will be likely to feel strange grief in contemplating the evil

of the world. Baruch could find no rest in his grief. The

greatest weariness is not the result of hard work; it comes

from distress of heart. It is trouble, not work, that breaks

down the strong life to premature old age. The blessedness

of the heavenly rest is that it is rest from sorrow as well as

from toil.

 

 

speaks to individual souls, The preacher must be preached to. Has not he

who would save others a soul of his own to be saved. How sad that any

preacher should declare the Divine message to the people, but hear no

voice speaking peace to his own troubled soul! If he were as faithful as

Baruch, he might expect, like Baruch, to receive a Divine consolation.

Note the characteristics of this consolation. It did not deny the cause of

grief. Much comfort is unreal and false in trying to do this. The

consolation for Baruch consisted chiefly in furnishing him with advice

regarding his views of God’s action and his own aims in life.

 

Ø      A lesson of acquiescence in the Divine will. God is acting within

His rights. It is vain to rebel. Peace is found in submission.

 

Ø      A rebuke to ambition. Self-seeking brings distress. As we live out

of self we gain Divine peace.

 

Ø      A promise of safety. After the lessons intended to lead Baruch into

A right mood, God promises him his life — only this, but this is

much for a humble man who knows he does not deserve it, and

a good man who will devote it to God’s service.

 

Self-seeking (v. 5)

 

Self-seeking is treated in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, as both

wrong and not really profitable to the self-seeker, although it seems be prompted

by natural instincts and supported by good reasons. Let us consider the grounds

of these representations.

 

altruism; we are only commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Natural self-regarding instincts created by God can surely be innocently

exercised. It cannot be necessary for all efforts of men to rise in social

position only to be condemned. What, then is the self-seeking which is

blameworthy?

 

Ø      That which offends against justice by seeking selfish gain at the

expense of others. What frightful injustice ambition must answer

for, in liberty destroyed, lives sacrificed, confusion and misery

sown broadcast!

 

Ø      That which offends against charity by disregarding the good of

others.  In the spirit of Cain it cries, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

(Genesis 4:9) - So long as it attains its own ends, it will not lift a

finger to move another man’s burden.  But Christ teaches us that

it is not enough that we do not injure others, we must also actively

help them; it is not enough that we do not steal, we must go

further and “give to him that asketh.” (Matthew 5:42)

 

Ø      That which offends against duty by sacrificing the vocation of

life to private gain. We are not free to live to ourselves, because

we are not our own masters. We are called to God’s service.

Our duty is to serve God, not self, so that whatsoever we do

may be done “unto the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:7) - Self-seeking

is rebellion against our Lord and Master. In times of public

distress self-seeking is peculiarly odious. Such were the times

in which Baruch lived.  Then there are loud calls of duty and

noble tasks to be done. The general grief makes the thought of

one’s own pleasure and profit out of place. To use that distress

as a ladder by which to rise to greatness is indeed despicable.

 

and for a time it may be, but not really and ultimately. Even in the lower

human relations, how often do the seeds of ambition bring a harvest of

anxiety! The self-seeker reaches the climax of his endeavors, his most

brilliant dream is realized, he is a king — and he wears a hidden coat of

mail, hides himself in a fortress-castle, has not the liberty of his meanest

subject, is driven near to madness by the fear of assassination.

 

“He who ascends to mountain tops shall find

The loftiest peaks most wrapped in clouds and snow;

He who surpasses or subdues mankind

Must look down on the hate of those below.”

 

When extreme greatness and extreme disappointment are neither realized,

lesser self-seeking brings its corresponding trouble. It narrows the heart and

destroys the purest and best delights — the joys of human sympathy.  Christ

shows to us deeper grounds for regarding it as a vain pursuit. “The

first shall be last, and the last first.”  (Mark 10:31) - The reason He gives is that

“Whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his

life for my sake shall save it.”  (Luke 9:24) - Only in proportion as we live out

of self can we enjoy a life worth living; only then, indeed, do we truly live at all.

By trying to make ourselves great, though we may reach a high external

position, we fall to a low internal condition — we become mean and small;

while in forgetting self and sacrificing self for God and for mankind we

become unconsciously great.

 

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