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
Sidekicks are important. Batman had Robin. Captain America had Bucky. The Green Hornet had Kato. And Jeremiah had Baruch. As I’ve mentioned before, Jeremiah was called as God’s prophet to Zedekiah. Zedekiah didn’t like what Jeremiah was saying, so he had Jeremiah locked away, confined, or restricted in movement. That’s where Baruch came in. Baruch delivered messages. Baruch took dictation when Jeremiah’s hands were literally tied. Baruch was more than just Jeremiah’s assistant or secretary. Baruch was Jeremiah’s voice to the king in many instances.
Yet, Baruch didn’t have a vision. It is not recorded whether Baruch had a calling to assist Jeremiah. He was just a worthy servant.
But Baruch had delivered warnings to the Babylonian appointed governor that they should remain in Judah or they would surely die in Egypt (Jeremiah 36- 43). Yet, Jeremiah and Baruch are forced to go to Egypt (Jeremiah 43). Baruch is questioning whether this should have happened. He had done as he was told. The messages that he delivered were from God. The messages from God said that if you go to Egypt, you are going to die there. Finally, Baruch must have told Jeremiah that I am finally drawing a line in the sand. I was a faithful servant, but no more. I did not sign up for death. This is where we part company.
Otherwise, why the interruption in Jeremiah 45? The chapter is very short, only five verses. It is all dedicated to Baruch, son of Neriah. It is a personal message from God to Jeremiah’s sidekick. God doesn’t promise Baruch much. God admonishes Baruch to not seek greatness. Great things aren’t Baruch’s salvation, but Baruch will escape with his life if he takes God’s path, the rough, hard road with no great things at the finish line.
I guess this is one of the chapters in the Bible that the prosperity Gospel purveyors skip.
Jesus may have said in Matthew 21:22 that if we truly believe, we receive what is on our heart. But I have discovered that what is on my heart is what Jesus wanted. I want to love others. I want others to love Jesus. I’d like some of those others to tolerate me. (I’m kinda weird.) And I would like enough personal security to see beyond the end of the year (maybe eight weeks ahead instead of six).
Jesus also said for us to take up our cross and follow Him. If my pockets are loaded down with cash, the cross might get too heavy.
If I were granted more money, would I accept it? Of course. But Matthew 21:22 is talking about our deepest desires. Let’s avoid money to discover what a Christian’s true desires are. You look at a news program and you see bad people doing bad things. You whisper a prayer that justice is served, that these bad people get what’s coming to them. At this point, a photo of the ring leader of the bad people is thrown onto the screen. Then God asks, “What of this one? Let’s get personal.” Somehow the perfect position that you had found while lying on the sofa isn’t perfect. You shift your weight. Then you pray, “God, I don’t even know that guy, but if you could show him the error of his ways and bring him to a saving knowledge of You… I’d love that.” Instead of torment, you’d give him the key to the kingdom.
Now let’s look at the money. Can you receive more money than you could ever spend and then watch people starving in the world and do nothing? When you believe as Jesus was talking about when he promised your wishes to be granted, you would not be able to do so.
The guy who dies with the most toys does not win. He simply has a bigger target on his back. He simply has more regrets.
Baruch was given sage advice from God. Don’t seek greatness and I will let you barely escape with your life.
In other words, and the message to all of us: God is saying, “Don’t seek the comforts in life. Hold onto Me for dear life, and that is just what you will receive.”