The Scriptorium

Baruch's Complaint

He was discouraged, and God reached out to him. Jeremiah 45.1-3

Judgment in Egypt: Jeremiah 43-45 (5)

Pray Psalm 8.3, 4.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?

Sing Psalm 8.3, 4.
(Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
When I regard Your heavens, Your handiwork above,
ordained by Your good pleasure, according to Your love,
then what am I, O Savior, that You take thought of me?
Or I should know Your favor and thus delivered be?

Read and meditate on Jeremiah 45.1-3.

1. When did the events in this chapter take place?

2. Why was Baruch complaining?

Let’s recall the setting for this chapter – not in Egypt, but several years earlier, in Jerusalem, while Jehoiakim was king.

Right, Jehoiakim – who cut up and burned the book of Jeremiah which Baruch had written down (Jeremiah 36). Most of us grimace from time to time trying to keep up with a teacher or preacher as we’re taking notes. Imagine being charged with the high responsibility of writing the Word of God as Jeremiah dictated it, and making sure that every word was just right. The possibilities exist for mishearing, failing to catch a word or phrase, or just writing too sloppily for anyone to be able to read.

Baruch had to be very careful to concentrate diligently and give his best effort to this work. It was not an easy task, and we can imagine that, by the time it was finished, he was worn out.

Only to have the book cut up and thrown in the fire, then back to the drawing board all over again.

Now wonder he was complaining. He was sad that the book was cut up, and it grieved him to have to do the job all over again (v. 3). He was probably groaning, griping, and complaining within himself alone. What use was he to anyone? He served Jeremiah faithfully, but what did that get him? He must have reckoned that, sooner or later, both he and Jeremiah were going to jail.

But God knew Baruch’s heart, and He exposed his thoughts to Jeremiah, who confronted his faithful scribe and made him examine his heart and mind.

Baruch’s reaction is very human, much as we might experience ourselves. We may tryt to keep our griping, complaining, and fretting to ourselves. We know it’s unbecoming and unedifying to be pouting and fuming before others, so we just let it eat us up inside. But Jesus sees. Do we see Jesus, seeing us as we fume and fret and fluster over everyday disappointments? Jesus holds out nail-scarred hands to draw us to Himself at such times. Remember that in His deep suffering, He rejoiced to see the coming of God’s Kingdom (Heb. 12.1, 2; Ps. 22.21-31). God looked into the heart of Baruch and sent His prophet to speak to Him. Jesus has sent His Spirit into our hearts, and He sees everything that’s in there, all the time. The strength and rest we desire in all our labors (Jer. 45.3) come only from Jesus, not from any external circumstances or things.

1. Do you ever feel like Baruch was feeling? Why?

2. How can we find rest in Jesus in times of disappointment?

3. How would you describe your calling from the Lord? How can you continue to find joy and fulfillment in that calling, no matter what happens?

When, therefore, he saw that he could not discharge his duty without danger, he began to complain and to murmur; and it was on this account that the Prophet, by God's command, reproved his weakness. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 45.1-3

Help me to keep focused on Jesus, Father, especially today as I…

Pray Psalm 8.1, 2, 5-9.

Praise God, your Creator, and thank Him for your calling in life. Seek His help to refract His excellence into all your relationships, roles, and responsibilities today.

Sing Psalm 8.1, 2, 5-9.
Psalm 8.1, 2, 5-9 (Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
O Savior, how majestic, Your Name in all the earth!
The heav’ns display Your glory, and tell Your wondrous worth!
From babes and nursing infants, Lord, let Your strength increase,
till all Your foes surrender, and all their boasting cease.

Yet we in Your own image with glory have been crowned,
to worship and to serve You throughout creation ‘round.
These works that sing Your glory in our poor hands are placed,
that we may rule before You to magnify Your grace.

Let every beast and creature, in sky or sea or field,
in our hands bring You glory as we Your favor wield.
Let all things sing Your praises, let all declare Your worth!
O Savior, how majestic, Your Name in all the earth!

T. M. Moore

You can also now listen to a weekly summary of our daily Scriptorium study. Click here for Jeremiah 39-42. Download for free all the weekly studies in this series on the book of Jeremiah by clicking here.

Check out the special offer on our book The Church Captive. Are churches today captive like the people of Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day? Order your copy of The Church Captive and decide for yourself (click here).

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore