A Message for Baruch
Chronologically this chapter is out of order. Evidently time order was not important to the one who put this book together!
The prophet Jeremiah gave a message to Baruch son of Neriah in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, after Baruch had written down everything Jeremiah had dictated to him.
“Baruch happens to be the only man from the Old Testament who has been fingerprinted. In 1975 a group of archaeologists purchase some clay document markers from an Arab antiquities dealer. The archaeologists did not decipher the markers – which were the bookmarks of the ancient world – until 1986. When they did, they discovered that one of them bears the seal of Baruch son of Neriah. Since then, another document marker has been discovered that bears not only Baruch’s seal, but also a thumbprint, very probably the thumbprint of the scribe himself.”
–Philip Graham Ryken
He said, 2 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: 3 You have said, ‘I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already? And now the Lord has added more! I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest.’
4 “Baruch, this is what the Lord says: ‘I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted. 5 Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the Lord, have spoken!’”
God used this word to Baruch to speak to many throughout the centuries. Dr. J. Oswald Sanders coveted a certain job in a Christian organization, and he almost lobbied some influential friends for it. But walking through downtown Auckland, New Zealand, these words came to him with authority: “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not!” Consequently, he didn’t seek the position, but it later opened to him on its own in God’s timing.
When Charles Spurgeon was eighteen, he applied to Regent’s Park College. An interview was set and Spurgeon rose early and set out. But through a misunderstanding he missed his appointment and was not admitted. Bitterly disappointed, Charles walked through the countryside trying to calm down. Suddenly Jeremiah 45:5 came to mind: “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not!” Spurgeon never made it to college, but he went on to become the most effective preacher in England.
This is a promise given to you for the difficult places in which you may find yourself—a promise of safety and life even in the midst of tremendous pressure. And it is a promise that adjusts itself to fit the times as they continue to grow more difficult, as we approach the end of this age.
What does it mean when it says that you will “escape with your life”? It means your life will be snatched from the jaws of the Enemy, as David snatched the lamb from the lion. It does not mean you will be spared the heat of the battle and confrontation with your foes, but it means “a table before [you] in the presence of [your] enemies” (Psalm 23:5), a shelter from the storm, a fortress amid the foe, and a life preserved in the face of continual pressure. It means comfort and hope from God, such as Paul received when he and his friends “were under great pressure, far beyond [their] ability to endure, so that [they] despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8). And it means the Lord’s divine help, such as when Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7) remained, but the power of Christ came to rest upon him, and he learned that God’s “grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
May the Lord “wherever you go . . . let you escape with your life” and help you today to be victorious in your difficulties.
from Streams in the Desert, November 30
HERE is a real treat — Mahalia Jackson and “God Will Take of You.” She is singing it directly to YOU! You can believe it!
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.