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JEREMIAH: STAYING UPRIGHT AMIDST EVIL PRESSURES
Part XII: Events After Jerusalem's Fall: Crises Caused By Straying From God's Word
D. Baruch's Crisis For Adopting The World's Priorities Over God's Word
(Jeremiah 45:1-5 with 36:1-32)
Lesson: Baruch sought fame in Judah to fill his lust for pride, and when that goal was crushed by Judah's evil king, he had to heed Jeremiah's WORD that such a goal was a FUTILE one where SAVING his LIFE for giving out God's word in God's will was the truly WORTHY goal to have!
- One of the most seductive sins that can creep up on God's servants is that of worldly pride where we subtly wish to be exalted in the view of others out of pride for giving out God's truth, cf. 1 John 2:15-16!
- In writing about those who faced crises for straying from God's Word just after Jerusalem's fall, Jeremiah had a final admonition, one for his secretary, Baruch who had adopted a worldly view of his ministry with Jeremiah that ignored God's Word; God addressed him with insight for God's servants of any era:
- Baruch's Crisis For Adopting The World's Priorities Over God's Word, Jer. 45:1-5 with 36:1-32.
- God's message through Jeremiah in Jeremiah 45 was directed to Baruch, the son of Neriah who was the brother of Seraiah, a court official under Judah's king Zedekiah, cf. Jer. 45:1 with Jer. 51:59; Zond. Pict. Ency. of the Bib., vol. One, p. 481. As a man of influence, Baruch sympathized with Jeremiah and so served as his personal secretary to write down and send Jeremiah's prophecies to others, Jeremiah 36:1-7.
- This message for Baruch critiqued an errant, worldly view he had relative to his ministry under Jeremiah, an errant view that had led Baruch to be frustrated due to the rejection he faced for delivering Jeremiah's words to the court [Jeremiah 45:1b-5 in view of the extended context in Jeremiah 36 (as follows)]:
- Being in contact with Judah's royal court, Baruch sought great things for himself, Jeremiah 45:5a.
- Armed with this agenda that fed his lust of pride, a worldly goal (1 John 2:15-16), Baruch obeyed Jeremiah's call to record his words and to read them to the people in the temple, cf. Jer. 45:1 with 36:1-7. Baruch did so in an apparent hope that Jehoiakim, who was king Josiah's son, might repent as had Josiah before him (Jer. 36:2-3 with 2 Kings 22:11-23:3), leading to a second national reform as had occurred under Josiah; such an event could doubtless mean exaltation for Baruch in Jehoiakim's court as Baruch would then have become the reform's "starter" for having read Jeremiah's scroll!
- After Baruch then read Jeremiah's dictated words to the people, an official named Michaiah reported them to officials in the palace, and they invited Baruch to read them in their presence, a move that would seem to Baruch to be a step "up" in ministry in keeping with his agenda for fame, Jer. 36:10-15!
- Yet, due to the hardened state of Jehoiakim's heart, the court officials decided to get the scroll read before him, but not by Baruch; they suggested Baruch and Jeremiah hide themselves lest Jehoiakim not respond positively toward them when the scroll was read to him by someone else, Jeremiah 36:16-20.
- As events unfolded, king Jehoiakim cut up and burned the scroll while it was being read to him rather than repent as had his ancestor, Josiah, Jer. 36:21-25; indeed, just as the officials had feared, Jehoiakim ordered Jeremiah and Baruch be arrested for their harm, but God hid them, Jeremiah 36:26 with 36:19.
- Jeremiah then told Baruch to rewrite the words of the first scroll king Jehoiakim had destroyed, and that with the addition of many more words of divine judgment on Judah and her king, Jer. 36:27, 32.
- With Baruch's apparent hope of being elevated by king Jehoiakim for reading the words of Jeremiah now completely crushed, he complained, saying, "Woe is me now! for the Lord hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest," Jeremiah 45:2-3 KJV.
- God's message through Jeremiah to Baruch countered this complaint by Baruch, for his hope had been a very futile one to say the least; God planned to destroy Judah and its court for sin, anyway, so his goal of gaining great things for himself in that doomed administration was futile, Jer. 45:4 with Jer. 1:10.
- Accordingly, God directed Baruch not to seek worldly fame for himself in Judah's doomed institutions: he was rather to view the saving of his life THOUGH he had been connected to Judah's officials his reward in view of the coming Babylonian invasion that aimed to bring down that Judaean court, 45:5.
Application: May we not seek to fill our worldly lusts in serving the Lord, a truly futile goal, but seek to do the will of God, the only worthwhile goal in this life as well as in the life to come, 1 John 2:15-17!