“This is the word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch son of Neriah when he wrote these words on a scroll at Jeremiah’s dictation in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Joash, king of Judah: This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says to you, Baruch: You have said, ‘Woe is me because the Lord had added misery to my pain. I am worn out with groaning and have found no rest.’” Jeremiah 45:1-3 (HCSB)
Biblical authors do not always report God’s Word in chronological order. Often, they skip around as the Lord leads, much like a teenager tells a story. Today’s chapter can best be understood through the lens of chapter 36, which puts today’s chapter in its proper timeline.
“In the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah, and all the nations from the time I first spoke to you during Josiah’s reign until today.’… So Jeremiah summoned Baruch, son of Neriah. At Jeremiah’s dictation, Baruch wrote on a scroll all the words the Lord had spoken to Jeremiah. Then Jeremiah commanded Baruch, ‘I am restricted; I cannot enter the temple of the Lord, so you must go and read from the scroll which you wrote at my dictation – the words of the Lord in the hearing of the people at the temple of the Lord on a day of fasting.’” Jeremiah 36:1-2, 4-6a (HCSB)
Enemies of God’s Word are always out to silence it. At this time, Jeremiah was held captive and barred from entering the Temple. Jeremiah was banned from the Temple because he was prophesying God’s Word to the people, and Judah’s King and his officials would not accept it. Of course, nothing can silence God, so Baruch was summoned to be Jeremiah’s (i.e., God’s) mouthpiece. Lesson: Kill the prophet, and God will raise up another. That’s a great idea, as long as your name is not Baruch!
Baruch had the opportunity and responsibility of carrying God’s Word, unsupervised, to the Temple. This posed an opportunity for the young Baruch to compromise to “save face” with his colleagues at the Temple. This was such a temptation for Baruch that the Lord decided it was necessary to give him a warning at the onset of his calling.
“This is what you are to say to him: This is what the Lord says: ‘What I have built, I am about to demolish, and what I have planted I am about to uproot – the whole land! But as for you, do you seek great things for yourself? Stop seeking! For I am about to bring disaster on every living creature’ – this is the Lord’s declaration – ‘but I will grant you your life like the spoils of war wherever you go.’” Jeremiah 45:4-5 (HCSB)
So, what is our takeaway? It is of utmost importance to God that we receive His Word and deliver it to people without compromising. We should not be concerned with whether people are offended by our gospel message. We should be concerned with offending God by watering down what He has called us to share!
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