Jeremiah 45 is one of the briefest chapters in the Bible. It is also one of the most personal, as God spoke through Jeremiah to the prophet’s scribe Baruch. This oracle came during the reign of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah. Jehoiakim was a wicked king. In Chapter 36 we learned about how he treated the Word of God, burning Jeremiah’s (and Baruch’s) great work piece by piece in the fire pot in his winter house. Jeremiah 45 came from God during the preparation of the scroll, but before it was read publicly.
We do not know the specifics of what was troubling Baruch. Baruch had brought a lament to God in prayer, but now the Lord brought His own complaint to Baruch. God, for His own good purposes, was breaking down His beloved nation that He had spent centuries building up. He was plucking up the whole unfruitful land that He Himself had planted. Jehovah did not have the slightest doubt concerning the good that He would bring through the exile of Judah. Such perfect knowledge did not take away the sadness that the Lord experienced over the disobedience of the nation and her upcoming destruction by foreign powers.
Was it right for Baruch to have a lament? It was. Even God laments. Yet Baruch needed a bigger perspective regarding his troubles. He was seeking great things for himself while God was bringing destruction upon the whole land. Through the Lord’s words the scribe could learn to measure his own expressions of sadness according to the scale of the Lord’s perfectly holy lament.
The exile of Judah was by no means the biggest trouble that God ever faced. The death of His Son was a far more horrific loss. God faced that trial not only with true grief, but with the perfect faith of One who knew the good that was ordained through the suffering of the Lamb.
Baruch was given a great promise from the Almighty. “I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places to which you may go.” More than that, Jeremiah’s scribe was granted eternal blessings through the death of a Messiah who had not yet been born. Jesus took our hell so that we might know His heaven.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Great God, You have grieved deeply over the trouble of Your covenant people. Help us to see our own trials in light of Your greater grief. Grant us faith in Your Word, for You have given us the gift of life today and forever.