Comfort of the LordJeremiah 45:1-5Ⅰ Message to Baruch
The text Chapter 45 of this morning begins with "This is the message which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written down these words in a book at Jeremiah's dictation, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Joshiah, king of Judah, saying:" (1). This is the same year as Chapter 36 where Baruch met Jeremiah and wrote down Jeremiah by an oral statement of Jeremiah. The first book was burned with fire by Jehoiakim; then, the word of God was written to the new scroll once again; it is written, "and many similar words were added to them." (36:32). Chapter 45 is the part of the postscript, but it is separated with Chapter 36 for some reason; and it looks like a later thing that they arrived at Egypt. Though this is the word of God to Baruch personal, it is not told against Baruch directly; but it is told as a message from God through the prophet Jeremiah. It is necessary to think why it was added here. Let's see it.
First of all, we would like to think about the position of Chapter 45. Chapter 44 is a recording of the activities of Jeremiah in Egypt, it depends on that the stage was moved to Egypt at Chapter 40-43. Chapter 37-44 has followed the trajectory of Judah destruction, but, including the part that the stage was moved to Egypt from the kingdom of Judah which has been destruction, it took over the flow of Jeremiah whole; it may be said that it complied with the central subject as a message of Jeremiah. And from Chapter 46, the messages to the neighboring countries of Moab, Egypt, and Babylon will be told. Because it is a completely different genre, it would be good to see that this Jeremiah ends with Chapter 45. That is, this short chapter is giving glory of the last following to Chapter 37-44. So that, though this is a personal message to Baruch, we must see that this is not an appendix anymore; but because it is the important message of the prophet Jeremiah which speaks to us of today, beyond the framework of personal. Baruch himself seems to look so. Verse 1 starts with "This is the message which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch", but it depends on such a meaning. The constitution which leads to these Chapter 37-44 and Chapter 45, it depends on Jeremiah and Baruch, not a thing by the editing in after ages. In spite of a short phrase, this is the chapter which has a weight of only that.
Ⅱ In my heart
Jeremiah says. "Thus says the Lord the God of Israel to you, O Baruch: 'You said, "Ah, woe is me! For the Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning and have found no rest."'" (2-3) This deep sadness of Baruch; it was a pain and sorrow of the prophet Jeremiah saying that nobody was going to hear even if he talked the words of God. People of Judah, from the king until the people, covers their ears to not want to hear, and even they are going to throw to Jeremiah all the grudges and the hatred. To such Jeremiah's prophecy activities, secretary Baruch also has joined while playing an important part. It may be said that Baruch also has shared sadness and pain with the prophet Jeremiah; it says that everyone has become the enemy of God. Baruch was not called to as a prophet, but would have been the excellent secretary. He was still young, but had a lush sensibility. I imagine that he was approximately 20 years old younger than Jeremiah; would he have been about 33 years old at that time? Perhaps, while writing the word of God by the dictation of Jeremiah, such lush sensibility would have been faced the word of God. Moreover, because he has read the message of God which was just written (36:8,10) instead of Jeremiah before the people; "Why?", it would have been problem of his faith. It may be said that it was the same pain as the prophet Jeremiah.
This can be seen in the confession of Jeremiah which he has once lamented. "Woe to me, my mother, that you have borne me as a man of strife and a man of contention to all the land! I have neither lent, nor have men lent money to me, yet everyone curses me." (15:10) "O Lord, Thou hast deceived me and I was deceived; Thou hast overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me. ... But if I say, 'I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name,' then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it." (20:7-9) This strong confession of Verse 20:9, I heard it as a yell for myself from a prophet during 55 years since I was called as a preacher, and it became like the origin of me as a preacher. Probably, Baruch also has been forced to stand at the same place as the prophet Jeremiah, while experiences many times with the help of God; however, there are many people who are going to die without that help and salvation, he would have become sad and would have been tired while going round and round in circles as same as Jeremiah. Jeremiah also understood that sorrow of Baruch. Since Jeremiah was praying for such Baruch, God would have spoken to Jeremiah the "word of the Lord", as the answer to Baruch.
Ⅲ Comfort of the Lord
So, God says to you thus; Jeremiah continued. "Behold, what I have built I am about to tear down, and what I have planted I am about to uproot, that is, the whole land. 'But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh.' declares the Lord, 'but I will give your life to you as booty in all the places where you may go.'" (4-5) In a sense, as in the case of Jeremiah, this lament of Baruch was challenge to God. He himself felt being forced to stand in front of God. He would have felt, the judgement of severe God for this nation is also that he has beckoned it by notice it. Jeremiah was agonized in the same place and learned that he must entrust all to full power of God; but Baruch was the same as Jeremiah, and had to stand in a trial of the faith, and now, he would be struggling it.
The judgement to the kingdom of Judah must be carried out under the sovereignty of God. Baruch needed to know thoroughly about it. Jeremiah was so; but "the work of the ceramist" that Jeremiah watched in Chapter 18 was the perfect material which let him remember sovereignty of God rightly. Since Baruch had written also of its neighborhood, he would have had a clear memory. It might have been thought that it was only for Jeremiah when he has written it, but now, it is directed to him. "Behold, what I have built I am about to tear down, and what I have planted I am about to uproot, that is, the whole land."; to me, it sounds to the words which was packed the thought of God and Jeremiah who wished that Baruch remember it closely. It is also said "Do not seek great things for yourself.". The pitfall that Baruch fell was there. It is not only Baruch. Jeremiah was also so; and would it not be a common problem of all believers to the present? If we make an objection against sovereignty of God, a problem of our faith occurs there. Problems that Baruch fell was also the same.
Time to worry was needed to him. "Declares the Lord"; this formulated statement is in the strange place. The following phrase "but" would have been told a little later. Like Jeremiah did so, Baruch was troubled, and remained silent before the sovereignty of God. And to Baruch who prostrated himself before His sovereignty, a promise was given, "I will give your life to you as booty in all the places where you may go". "In all the places where you may go"; it is the same meaning with the words that Jeremiah has heard, "I have made you as walls of bronze" (1:18 15:20). God is always with Baruch. To Baruch, would it not have been the answer more than enough? Surely, danger and fight to be associate with "plunder" would also come around to us today. Among such, the Lord says to protect. We can hear that it is the promise and comfort to Jeremiah and Baruch and to us. "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;" (Philippians 3:20) Nationality of heaven, it means that He invites us to His own place. Don't we step like those who are invited?