Scriptures

Jeremiah 45

Introduction

This small chapter, it only has five verses, is a message from God to Baruch. Many scholars believe that this chapter should, chronologically, follow Jeremiah 36:8. But it could have been placed here intentionally. We know from our study of this book so far that very little of it is in chronologically order.

You get the impression that Jeremiah has just finished writing something and then remembers something else, and because there is no space to include it after what he wrote a few chapters back, he therefore inserts this extra story just where he is when he remembers.

It reminds me of the difference between the typewriter I had for years and the computer that I have now. With the typewriter, if I wanted to add something at the very beginning of my message, I would have had to retype the whole thing again. But with the computer I can add or delete whole paragraphs without disturbing any of the other material.

I will say what I have said before, when Jeremiah wrote this chapter, or why it was placed where it is, is of very little importance to the story anyway.

Baruch, this faithful scribe, Jeremiah’s secretary, is being told off for being concerned about his own personal future, and is being given a message of hope. Some scholars make statements about Baruch that I don’t think are justified. One scholar says that Baruch had great influence over Jeremiah. However, the only time that we have any comment of this nature is from the remnant in Egypt who were lying through their teeth anyway. They were trying to find excuses so that they didn’t have to accept the commands of God.

I don’t believe anything they said, so why should I believe this?

Other scholars believe that Baruch wrote some of the prophecies without Jeremiah’s knowledge.

Why should we believe that, when Scripture tells us that, on every occasion that Baruch was used, the words came from the mouth of Jeremiah?

‘When Baruch son of Neriah wrote on a scroll the words Jeremiah the prophet dictated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, Jeremiah said this to Baruch: ‘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 45:1-5

The scroll mentioned here, we would call it a book today, and some versions do, would be the scroll dictated by Jeremiah to Baruch in Jeremiah 36:2-4.

‘I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.’

This is the only place that we find out just how Baruch felt, about things in general and about his personal reactions to the current situation in Judah. So, Jeremiah has to remind him of God’s own sorrow, at seeing the destruction of what He, God, had laboured for, for so long.

Baruch is to count himself lucky that he will live through this terrible ordeal, the day of God’s wrath. What was the reason, or reasons, for Baruch’s ‘groaning’? Possibly threefold.

1. Listening to Jeremiah dictating the prophecies he realised just how serious God was at the sins of His people, and of the severe punishment to come.

2. Because of his association with Jeremiah, he had probably already have suffered somewhat from the people who wouldn’t accept Jeremiah’s prophecies from God, guilty by association.

3. He could see that he himself was going to suffer from the punishment to come.

God says,

‘I will overthrow what I have built.’

When God overthrows a whole nation, or a whole society, many people will suffer from the disaster. So, stop thinking about yourself, Baruch, because everyone will suffer in some way, even if they don’t all suffer death from the sword, famine or the plague.

Verse 5 begins,

‘Should you then seek great things for yourself.’

God continues in this verse,

‘I will bring disaster on all the people, but I will let you escape with your life.’

God is going to bless those who are faithful to Him. They will be affected in some way by the war and the disaster. They would not necessarily have the peace and prosperity that they would have liked.

But God would grant Baruch, and others who were faithful to Him, their lives. When death is all around them, they will have life. And life is a precious gift, no matter what the conditions are.

I like what Albert Barnes says, so I will end this chapter with a quote from him.

‘The long catalogue of calamities pronounced against Israel by Jeremiah made a painful impression upon Baruch’s mind. He was ambitious, of noble birth, being the grandson of Maaseiah the governor of Jerusalem during the times of Josiah, he was a scribe and probably looked forward to high office of state. This short prophecy commands Baruch to give up his ambitions and to be satisfied with being able to escape with his life. When the last memorials of Jeremiah’s life were added to the history of the Fall of Jerusalem, Baruch added this chapter in his old age, and then, being humbled by the weight of years, and by the sorrows of private and public disasters, he probably read this little chapter with far different feelings from those which he had when first Jeremiah revealed to him what the Lord had prophesied concerning his faithful scribe.’

Go To Jeremiah 46

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

Colossians 3:12

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