"The Road to Captivity", Part 10; A Study in Jeremiah, Chapters 41b-45
April 1, 2010

C. R. Oliver

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April 1, 2010

"The Road to Captivity", Part 10
A Study in Jeremiah, Chapters 41b-45

          Last month's study concluded with Jeremiah chapter 41 and included a foray against the people of God ever returning to Egypt. This meant spiritual Egypt as well as the physical country. To review verses seventeen and eighteen of that chapter will reveal the trepidation which surrounded the remnant of Judah in those days.
          Because Gedaliah, the appointed governor under the occupying forces of Nebuchadnezzar, had been deceived and murdered by the upstart, Ishmael, an Amorite revolutionary and because the entire remnant captured by his forces felt too vulnerable in their decimated homeland (even after being miraculously rescued at Gibeon), they decided Egypt offered them safety.
          Dwelling temporarily in Chimham, near Bethlehem, they huddled in fear and dread. They knew their population could not expect the federal government of Babylon to protect them from marauders or invaders. Ishmael's assault proved that! They must have felt small and vulnerable to all sorts of real and imagined threats.
Then Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were with him, took from Mizpah all the rest of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah after he had murdered Gedaliah the son of Ahikam - the mighty men of war and the women and the children and the eunuchs, whom he had brought back from Gibeon. And they departed and dwelt in the habitation of Chimham, which is near Bethlehem, as they went on their way to Egypt, because of the Chaldeans; for they were afraid of them, because Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had murdered Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had made governor in the land.
Jeremiah 41:16-18
It is clear from Scripture their determinations were derived from a carnal assessment of their situation. They did not base their decisions on faith or reliance upon the Almighty, who had rescued their forefather's and more recently used Johanan to rescue them from Ishmael. They relied on their own understanding. (Many Christians today are following the example of the remnant. They are moving to other countries, shifting locations within their own territories and establishing places where they feel relatively safe against foreign and domestic governmental invasion. Most of them are motivated by what they fear from their own government. Their concerns are not unfounded.)

Note, however, that Johanan was among the chieftains who came to visit the prophet Jeremiah. (Leadership, whether political or religious, often feels compelled to "derive a plan," one by which they seek the approval of the clergy. Man's plans have one fatal flaw, however, "cursed are those who rely upon man.") Johanan and company appeared to be a humble and contrite people, reverencing the Lord and seeking the prophet's assistance through prayer. They were not!
Their opening appeals would soon reveal a charade of hypocrisy.
Now all the captains of the forces, Johanan the son of Kareah, Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least to the greatest, came near and said to Jeremiah the prophet, 'Please, let our petition be acceptable to you, and pray for us to the LORD your God, for all this remnant (since we are left but a few of many, as you can see), that the LORD your God may show us the way in which we should walk and the thing we should do.'

Then Jeremiah the prophet said to them, 'I have heard. Indeed, I will pray to the LORD your God according to your words, and it shall be, that whatever the LORD answers you, I will declare it to you. I will keep nothing back from you.'

So they said to Jeremiah, 'Let the LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not do according to everything which the LORD your God sends us by you. Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.'
Jeremiah 42:1-6
Author's note: In the center of this passage is an interesting point. Jeremiah does not say that he would petition God as he would from a personal point of view, but using their words. "We are left but a few of many." If this sounds familiar, it is. It is the same type report issued by the spies of the promised land with the exception of two men of faith. Self appraisal is a dangerous sport.
Several considerations emerge from these passages. First, the entire group entreated Jeremiah to approach, "The Lord YOUR God." These people are the remnant of Judah they sound as if they had been worshipping a different deity from the God of Jeremiah. (In actuality, they did. Herein lays the great disparity in Christianity today. It is almost impossible, when addressing a small group or even crowds, to know who the audience worships. No one can assume a gathering of "Christians," under any banner or purpose, is a convocation of the saints. Their premise for convening may appear to be good; they may sound wonderful; they may even appear doctrinally and morally correct, but no assumptions can be made from surface observations anymore. Dependence upon the Holy Spirit's assessments is the only reliable measure available in such situations.)

Second, their appeal was "that the Lord YOUR God may show us the way in which we should walk and the thing we should do." (How many times has this chronicler been in meetings and among assemblies where the plea of "show us the way" was invoked while the road to Egypt had already been determined? Too many!)

Faithful Jeremiah agreed to carry the petition to "the Lord your God." He realized they must embrace the Lord as their God. He promised two things: He would sincerely pray, regardless of the time required, and He would bring them the exact answer given him, withholding nothing.

Immediately, the petitioners declared their allegiance. (Personally, I don't think Jeremiah was duped by their declarations. He had been a prophet used of God many years, and declarations of faithfulness like this one had a hollow ring.) (
Author's note: Had such a declaration taken place in a modern church setting, a thousand presses would have been started and a web announcement would have been issued concerning a "revival" outpouring engulfing a nation. Notice how they invoked the Lord into their verbal covenant, "Let the Lord be a true and faithful witness." With God as witness, things will get complicated.
Their offer of covenant with Jeremiah (and the Lord) was easy for them to ratify, but when God came back with His offer, they found themselves foundering. Listen as they make their communal pledge:
Everything which the LORD your God sends us by you. Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.
Jeremiah 42:5-6
The goal in all this is "well being."

The significant word in their initial offer was, "Everything." "Yes, 'everything' you command, we will do." To strengthen their appeal, they further pledged, "We will OBEY," those words (on other words, put them into action immediately upon hearing them). They knew that tied to obedience was blessing, "that it may be well with us when we obey."

True obedience does not predicate itself on "things going well with us." (One has to give these remnant folk credit for exemplifying to future generations a people whose mouths spoke what their hearts did not. [Consider how much illustrative material Old Testament Israelites supplied].)

For ten days, the prophet sought the Lord diligently in prayer and supplication. While he was engaged in this labor, the multitudes went about their routines but anxiously kept an eye out for Jeremiah's return. In verse seven, the opening phrase is one repeated many times in Biblical literature, "And it happened." (A study of that phrase will open many venues for the pursuer.)
Although the following quote is a long set of verses, they must be reviewed as a unit because of the answer God gave these inquirers. Make no mistake, the summation of the treatise was, "Don't go to Egypt." This, after all, was His final analysis.
And it happened after ten days that the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah. Then he called Johanan the son of Kareah, all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest, and said to them, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition before Him: "If you will still remain in this land, then I will build you and not pull you down, and I will plant you and not pluck you up. For I relent concerning the disaster that I have brought upon you. Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid; do not be afraid of him," says the LORD, "for I am with you, to save you and deliver you from his hand. And I will show you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and cause you to return to your own land."

'But if you say, "We will not dwell in this land," disobeying the voice of the LORD your God, saying, "No, but we will go to the land of Egypt where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor be hungry for bread, and there we will dwell" - Then hear now the word of the LORD, O remnant of Judah! Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "If you wholly set your faces to enter Egypt, and go to dwell there, then it shall be that the sword which you feared shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt; the famine of which you were afraid shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there you shall die. So shall it be with all the men who set their faces to go to Egypt to dwell there. They shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. And none of them shall remain or escape from the disaster that I will bring upon them."

'For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "As My anger and My fury have been poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so will My fury be poured out on you when you enter Egypt. And you shall be an oath, an astonishment, a curse, and a reproach; and you shall see this place no more."

'The LORD has said concerning you, O remnant of Judah, "Do not go to Egypt!" [Jeremiah at this point began to preach to them out of his heart] Know certainly that I have admonished you this day. For you were hypocrites in your hearts when you sent me to the LORD your God, saying, "Pray for us to the LORD our God, and according to all that the LORD your God says, so declare to us and we will do it." And I have this day declared it to you, but you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God, or anything which He has sent you by me. Now therefore, know certainly that you shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence in the place where you desire to go to dwell.'
Jeremiah 42:7-22
God's answer was beautifully constructed. Tones of mercy were conveyed in His primary offer to a broken people. He forthrightly declared He had relented of all the destruction He had brought upon them, then He promised them He would turn and be their defender. They were to remain in the land of promise (knowing they had discussed and had already decided to go to Egypt).

The Sovereign knew their hearts feared Nebuchadnezzar, so He said, "And I will show you mercy, that he (the king of Babylon) may have mercy on you and cause you to return to your own land." (The Lord knows our fears. He knows where we are weak and irresolute. He is not taken by our declarations and pronouncements… He knows they are merely fleshly expressions as weak as Simon's pledge to Jesus. Jehovah gave His solemn assurance of His personal attention to all their needs, if they obeyed Him.)

Next, Jehovah developed a scenario for them that included His wrath and their death by the three horsemen: famine, sword and pestilence. He began with a simile in the third paragraph. He told them they would experience the same destruction of life and property as He poured out in Jerusalem if they went to Egypt. This promise included everyone: every man, woman and child. He promised to make them an oath, astonishment, curse and reproach. He promised they would never return to their beloved land. God's offer was "on the table," and the prophet had delivered it in exactness.

At this point, Jeremiah rose to a place of personal order. He waded into the leadership and the people who supported Johanan and called them all "hypocrites." (Would anyone care to relate this to the modern church?) Jeremiah was not fooled by their inquiry; he had been inquired of by many political "professionals" during the years of his ministry. He knew their long history of hearing the word of truth, and he knew the dereliction of the human will. He knew they had already determined to go to Egypt.

(Author's note: Any of my reader's who might determine to "fix" their denomination or "straighten out" their pastor or local churches would do well to observe Jeremiah. The prophet only gave them a pure word upon their request and acquiesced to their will by saying, "Go on and do what you have ALWAYS done!") Jeremiah declared that during his entire ministry, not once had any of them heeded his prophetic words. (Does anybody out there wish to relate this to the modern church?)
but you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God, or anything which He has sent you by me.
Jeremiah 42:21
Chapter 43

          There's that phrase again, "Now it happened." This time it is associated with the response of the "proud men."
Now it happened, when Jeremiah had stopped speaking… that Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men spoke…
Jeremiah 43:1, 2
(Author's note: Don't you just love it when the "proud men" rise up to speak? They are about all I hear among the churches and television speakers today!)

If this were a modern political arrangement, the "opposing" side would be those taking the stage at this point. Come to think of it, political scenarios haven't changed much. They start by discrediting the prophet. (Does one see a pattern arising?) Below is, in essence, what they said while assailing the prophet:
  1. You are a liar!

  2. God did not send you to tell us not to go to Egypt

  3. You are working under orders from an outside source, Baruch. He would have us killed, by remaining here in this place of vulnerability.

  4. You are "non compos mentis" [out of your mind]. Pure reason would determine to amass in a place of safety, under the federal programs of a strong centralized government, not what you propose.
After sufficiently "Putting the prophet in his place," the forward thinking, brilliant strategists gathered the whole nation and proceeded toward Egypt. (Note the "daughters of the king [Zedekiah] were among them, including all those who came out of hiding and even included the prophet Jeremiah.)
(Author's note: Yep, it's real interesting to see organized religion at work with its Johanan's and "proud folks" in total charge. In my book, En Punto, I gave an illustration of a church group determining to build a building using mission monies and how the Lord appeared to me to give a clear word for them not to proceed. God would provide by other means. I felt in close fellowship to Jeremiah during that ordeal! By the way, when the building was complete, it was struck by a tornado.)
So they went to the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the LORD. And they went as far as Tahpanhes.
Jeremiah 43:7
At Tahpanhes, the whole nation was in their "place of disobedience." Pagan gods were worshipped there; demons were everywhere. This place housed the palace of the Osirian King (Ra supposedly giving him Divine Right). Sure, it was just inside the border, but Tahpanhes was in EGYPT. No doubt they were at this palace to request asylum and declare their intentions.

The Lord God was about to present them, however, their last opportunity to turn around. He was going to use Jeremiah to illustrate graphically what would surely take place physically (and historically). God used stones as symbols.

Stone symbols were a method the Lord had used for years (The rock pillar of Jacob, the rock of Moses, the rocks of testimony and the many rock altars of the patriarchs). So, the Lord chose a symbolism to which all of them could readily relate.

Jeremiah was instructed to bury large rocks beside the palace's brick courtyard. This act must have been interesting to watch as the multitude milled about in a foreign land. Let one assume this was a large parade ground or at least a place great enough to house incoming chariots, carts, and/or a host of people attending functions. Regardless of the task, Jeremiah was known for carrying it out. So, here is ole Jeremiah digging holes and burying rocks along the perimeter of the parade ground. It was like building a shoulder for a highway. Someone inquired as to what he is doing. He replied, he was putting in place the necessary rock foundations for the large pavilion of King Nebuchadnezzar when he conquered Egypt and killed all of them.
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: 'Behold, I will send and bring Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will set his throne above these stones that I have hidden. And he will spread his royal pavilion over them. When he comes, he shall strike the land of Egypt and deliver to death those appointed for death, and to captivity those appointed for captivity, and to the sword those appointed for the sword. I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt, and he shall burn them and carry them away captive. And he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd puts on his garment, and he shall go out from there in peace. He shall also break the sacred pillars of Beth Shemesh that are in the land of Egypt; and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians he shall burn with fire.'"
Jeremiah 43:10-13
Now this must have seemed impossible, for previously Nebuchadnezzar had backed away from Jerusalem because the Egyptians had come up against him. But something had changed, "ole Nebu" had conquered the known world by now and only Egypt stood apart… so, the inevitable had to happen and God was on his side. (Would someone like to make an application to modern countries? Would anyone care to associate this passage to the U.S., Britain, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, while declaring their impregnability? Would someone care to write and offer a treatise on how these nations are exempt from the unimaginable and the "impossible?" I thought not.)

Chapter 44

          Jeremiah received further word from the Lord about the Jews. ("Jew" was a slang term used only for those of the tribe of Judah during that time. It has been used to characterize all the people of Israel in modern times… incorrectly, of course.)

In this next verse, had Jeremiah become a bit cynical?
The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews who dwell in the land of Egypt…
Jeremiah 44:1
The message is plain: "Don't mess up like you have in the past and as your fathers before you." God reviewed the Jews history of idolatry and worshipping other gods (reminding them of the carnage and destruction that many witnessed happening to Jerusalem because of doing so).
… because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke Me to anger, in that they went to burn incense and to serve other gods whom they did not know, they nor you nor your fathers.
Jeremiah 44:3
These are the church folk!

They entered Egypt with a Torah in one hand and a Toll receipt in the other (having to pay for a ferry to cross where dry ground had been provided centuries earlier). They arrived at Tahpanhes, and God reminded them how He had warned them and had taken the lead in sending His prophets to them early on. When the Lord saw them beginning to stray (years before), He sent His prophets. (Wow, think of how many prophets and men of God were sent and for how long before the final drop fell. Now, He sent Jeremiah.)

They didn't listen. Though the summary message given to all these watchmen was one clear call, "(Jer. 44:4) Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate."

God reminded them that those perished who didn't listen or even take time to hear His messengers. In other words, "Look where you are, instead of where you should be." (Does anyone care to make an application to the modern church? Any one?)

A huge question is posited to them, "Why are you doing all this to yourselves?" "You have complete control of your destiny here. Turn around and get out of Egypt, before it too late."
Why do you commit this great evil against yourselves, to cut off from you man and woman, child and infant, out of Judah, leaving none to remain, in that you provoke Me to wrath with the works of your hands, burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have gone to dwell, that you may cut yourselves off and be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth?
Jeremiah 44:7-9
Did they turn? No! Did they become a curse and reproach among all the nations of the earth? Yes! Are the Jews still stubborn toward the Christ? Yes! Are they still under the curse? Sadly, Yes! Listen as God spelled out their determined, sealed destiny:
"Behold, I will set My face against you for catastrophe and for cutting off all Judah. And I will take the remnant of Judah who have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to dwell there, and they shall all be consumed and fall in the land of Egypt. They shall be consumed by the sword and by famine. They shall die, from the least to the greatest, by the sword and by famine; and they shall be an oath, an astonishment, a curse and a reproach! For I will punish those who dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, so that none of the remnant of Judah who have gone into the land of Egypt to dwell there shall escape or survive, lest they return to the land of Judah, to which they desire to return and dwell. For none shall return except those who escape."
Jeremiah 44:11-14
(Note: They set their face toward Egypt. God set His face against them for catastrophe. No one wants a stand off with God.)
How many of those Jews would return? A few escapees would be exempted in order to tell the tale. Judah was decimated, but Jeremiah and Baruch and the daughters of the King would escape.
The populous stood guilty as charged. God knew their hearts; they were filled with idol worship. One by one they started their rebellious self assertion against the prophet's words. Read carefully their reply, it is as odious as a modern politician. Notice the change of place.
… all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to other gods, with all the women who stood by, a great multitude, and all the people who dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying: 'As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you!'
Jeremiah 44:15-17
Now look:
'But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth.'
Jeremiah 44:17
Whoa! Observe what they are saying as a corporate body in unison. It didn't matter what the prophet said. It didn't matter what the Lord said. It only mattered what they said. (No clearer picture can be garnered than what is exemplified by this interchange. Remember, they had just escaped the Babylonian travesty in their home town of Jerusalem. Most had witnessed dead bodies littering the streets, starving people in chains being trouped to slavery, unimaginable conditions as their houses were torn down and their beautiful temple destroyed. After they escaped that tragedy, they were huddled under Babylonian rule to be governed by Gedaliah, who Ishmael slew [remember they were the poorest of the land and considered cast offs-they had nothing; the speakers are the one's who owned nothing]. In Israel, they would have had parcels of land distributed to them; in Egypt, they would be wards of the state.)
(We Will) burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble. But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.
Jeremiah 44:17-18
Hear that confession? They openly confessed to all the allegations the Lord presented to them and declared they weren't going to stop. (Is anybody brave enough to compare them to the modern generation?)

Further, they claimed to be "well off." Just how "well off" was a person considered so poverty stricken-they were unfit to be taken captive? How "well off" could a reject have been in those days? But, O' Yes, they felt super intelligent with their low spiritual IQ's; they determined it was the blessings of their gods which was the missing ingredient to their welfare. Then the women spoke for themselves.
Self aggrandized women spoke with supercilious tongues:
The women also said, 'And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes for her, to worship her, and pour out drink offerings to her without our husbands' permission?'
Jeremiah 44:19
(Note: the husbands did not stand against their wives idolatry. Hmm! How does that play out today?)

Separate the items of the message given by Jeremiah to this profligate group.

His answer literally burned with the holy fire of God to that arrogant, pride filled multitude who called themselves the church (Pardon me, I meant to say, Jews).

(Is there anyone among the readers who can hear the confession of the modern church mingled in the answer the Jews gave Jeremiah? Is any among you who would dare verbalize a confession of modern sins, to catalogue the iniquity inside the ranks of so-called "believers?" Who among you would dare summarize the snobbery and assertiveness of modern church woman [in or out of congregations]?

Are Jeremiah's words not affectational?
Then Jeremiah spoke to all the people - the men, the women, and all the people who had given him that answer - saying: 21 'The incense that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and did it not come into His mind? 22 So the LORD could no longer bear it, because of the evil of your doings and because of the abominations which you committed. Therefore your land is a desolation, an astonishment, a curse, and without an inhabitant, as it is this day. 23 Because you have burned incense and because you have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD or walked in His law, in His statutes or in His testimonies, therefore this calamity has happened to you, as at this day.'

24 Moreover Jeremiah said to all the people and to all the women, 'Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah who are in the land of Egypt! 25 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: "You and your wives have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled with your hands, saying, 'We will surely keep our vows that we have made, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her.' You will surely keep your vows and perform your vows!" 26 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, all Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt: "Behold, I have sworn by My great name," says the LORD, "that My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, 'The Lord GOD lives.' 27 Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them. 28 Yet a small number who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah; and all the remnant of Judah, who have gone to the land of Egypt to dwell there, shall know whose words will stand, Mine or theirs. 29 And this shall be a sign to you," says the LORD, "that I will punish you in this place, that you may know that My words will surely stand against you for adversity."
Jeremiah 44:20-29
(Note: The Lord accepts the challenge and says in essence: "We shall see whose words stand.")
Several judgments are made over the Jews in Taphanhes/Pathros. First, God called judgment upon their idolatry that very day-so, it was sealed, as if it had already taken place. Second, the Lord "locked in" their words. (Note: He has the kingdom keys, with power to loose or bind; He bound them to destruction.) He guaranteed they would die, along with the destruction of their idols, when Nebuchadnezzar arrived. Third, He removed His Name from them. Fourth, He assumed the "watchman" position to oversee their demise through the three horsemen of famine, pestilence and sword. Fifth, He made Taphanhes/Pathros a special place, "I will punish you in this place."
Now, the last verse of this chapter is a signature verse:
'Thus says the LORD: "Behold, I will give Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies and into the hand of those who seek his life, as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, his enemy who sought his life."'
Jeremiah 44:30
God placed His signature on this covenant of death by declaring Pharaoh a thing of the past. Egypt has never gotten over it---from that day to now. They became, at best, a third rate nation. Remember, Egypt ruled over all Africa in the days of their power. (Will anyone dare draw a modern day conclusion? O Yes!) The Lord signed the document saying what happened to Zedekiah would happen to Pharaoh. (In other words, "If I did it once, I can do it again." Is there anybody out there who will draw the parallels?)

Chapter 45

A flash back occurred in this chapter; Jeremiah returned to the time when a special word was given Baruch, his scribe. It was during the time of King Jehoiakim, which was years before the events chronicled in chapter 44. Baruch must have been feeling like a second rate adjunct. Even though he addressed the chamber of Princes, the King and many others, it was always in behalf of the Prophet. Many times he walked away with great consternation. Often, he took messages from the prison where Jeremiah was incarcerated, and acted as the delivery boy. He served Jeremiah through many dangers and perils. Often, he took the barbs of Jeremiah's critics, when they deemed him a Jeremiah Clone. His own words belied him.
'Woe is me now! For the LORD has added grief to my sorrow. I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.'
Jeremiah 45:3
God sent a special word to Baruch. Imagine, God spoke a prophetic word about Baruch through the great prophet Jeremiah, His chosen vessel. It was a two part word. First, God told Baruch to stop internalizing all the things happening around him. Judgment was not directed against him. Baruch was to let God do His work of "plucking up," since He was the one who "planted." Second, the Lord struck at the root of the real problem… Baruch's annoyance in playing second fiddle to Jeremiah. The Lord didn't mince words. He told Baruch not to seek greatness for himself.
"Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, what I have built I will break down, and what I have planted I will pluck up, that is, this whole land. 5 And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,' says the LORD. 'But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.'"
Jeremiah 45:4-5
Baruch never ceased being a faithful servant from that day forward. (Sometimes it may seem that one is in a "thankless" situation by serving the Lord-but God knows right where you are and "greatness" is in His eyes. His definitions are different than those of the world).
(Author's note: In the halls of religion today, there is much seeking after greatness. As a matter of fact, there has been a perpetual vying to fill the shoes of Billy Graham, as the spokesman for evangelical Christianity. Many voices have risen and much maneuvering has taken place. Super stars have risen in T.V. and "Hollywood style churches," but none yet have achieved the fame of Graham in having the interviews, being consulted when issues arise and more or less the popular name support Graham has achieved. Perhaps these aspirants have never heard the advice of God to Baruch, and for sure they have never preached them. In the words of Dr. M.B. Wade, "A lot of good can be accomplished as long as you don't care who gets the credit.")
Baruch was forever identified as the man Jeremiah trusted at all times, and he never once failed him. (Yes, judgment is the Lord's business; our duty is to deliver the message!)

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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