Judgment in Egypt: Jeremiah 43-45 (6)
Pray Psalm 77.1-3.
I cried out to God with my voice—
To God with my voice;
And He gave ear to me.
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord;
My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing;
My soul refused to be comforted.
I remembered God, and was troubled;
I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.
Sing Psalm 77.1-3.
(Leoni: The God of Abraham Praise)
My voice to God shall rise; I seek Him on His throne.
In days and nights of trouble I seek God alone!
When I remember Him, then am I sore distressed!
My spirit faints and longs to find in Him its rest.
Read and meditate on Jeremiah 45.4, 5.
1. What command did God give Baruch through Jeremiah?
2. What did He promise him?
I can’t help myself. Every time I read this passage, I recall an old TV commercial for a brand of shoes. It featured a backwoods fella and his father, who had just given him a pair of those shoes, which he tried on and was walking around in, joy on his face. The young man raised his hands to heaven and cried with ecstatic joy, “I can war shoes! I can be somebody!”
We all want to be somebody. Even the US Army used to exhort us to “Be all you can be.” And I think we as believers should aspire to greatness, as even Jesus indicated (Matt. 5.17-19; Mk. 10.42-45). Baruch had been imagining great things for himself. He had just scribed the powerful, glorious book of Jeremiah – only to have it burned by King Jehoiakim. His dreams of greatness, which were bound up in Jeremiah and his powerful tome – had been dashed, and now he was grieving and sorrowful.
Baruch’s problem wasn’t that he was seeking great things. His problem was that he was seeking great things for himself. He wanted to cry out for all to hear, “I can be somebody!” Our narcissistic age is full of people who want to be noticed and regarded as great. They keep preening and self-reporting on social media, hoping that people will “like” and “follow” them, and thus confirm their hopes of being somebody great.
But God’s promise to Baruch was, that if he would give up trying to achieve great things for himself, and continue in his God-appointed role faithfully and at peace, God would give his life to him – full and true and real and abundant life in the favor of God. We hope Baruch was wise enough to see this kind of greatness as far more to be desired than finding himself on the friends walls of the people of his day.
Jesus wants us to aspire to greatness – Kingdom greatness, Jesus greatness, glory of God greatness. Who are we, that God should be mindful of us, and that He should visit us in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and do the great work of delivering us from our sins? Who are we? We are His chosen scribes and servants, entrusted with His Word, indwelled by His Spirit, called to His Kingdom, appointed as His witness, and promised His everlasting glory and bliss.
It doesn’t get any greater than that. Don’t let your puny, self-centered aspirations get in the way of knowing the true greatness of Jesus.
1. We live in what one author has described as a “culture of narcissism.” What do you suppose he meant by that?
2. What kind of greatness should Baruch have aspired to realize? What about us?
3. When we are great in Jesus and His Kingdom, then we are the humble servants of all. Explain.
We now see clear enough why he reproved Baruch, it was, because he was too careful as to himself, and too timid; and thus it was that he was impeded in his duty. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 45.4, 5
Lord, help me to seek You and Your Kingdom and righteousness today as I…
Pray Psalm 77.4-20.
Wait in silence on the Lord to show you how to seek Him and His Kingdom in specific situations and ways in the day ahead.
Sing Psalm 77.4-20.
Psalm 77.4-20 (Leoni: The God of Abraham Praise)
I scarce a word can speak, so troubled is my soul;
yet I recall Your grace to Israel long ago.
I sing Your praise by night; my heart will meditate;
my spirit ponders all Your grace and wonders great.
O Lord, will You reject Your people without end?
Has favor ceased, are You no more our heav’nly Friend?
Your promise and Your love in anger are obscured;
my sin has turned Your hand away, Your beauty blurred.
Now let us call to mind Your deeds and wonders, Lord,
and meditate on all Your works and praise Your Word.
Full holy is Your way, great God of earth and heav’n,
to You, O God of strength and pow’r all praise be giv’n!
The waters and the deeps all tremble ‘neath Your hand.
The clouds give forth, the sky resounds across the land.
Your lightning flashes forth and lights the earth around;
we feel beneath our feet the trembling of the ground.
Your way leads through the sea; Your path the waters parts.
Your footprints are to us deep mysteries in our hearts.
As then by Moses’ hand and Aaron’s law-filled voice,
You led Your sheep, lead us that we may all rejoice!
T. M. Moore
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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).