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First, we need to recognize that Baruch was a faithful servant of the Lord. His life was characterized by courage and hardship in remaining a partner to Jeremiah in bringing difficult words of judgment to a stubborn and unrepentant nation. But even a faithful minister of God’s Word can be subject to times of discouragement. Here Baruch is impacted by the overwhelming sorrow of Judah’s plight. But that sorrow is compounded by some degree of frustration over his unfulfilled personal ambitions. God needs to caution him against selfish ambition in the ministry and then reassure him that the mere preservation of his life in the midst of such challenging times of judgment should be viewed as a blessing in itself.




(:1-2) Introduction

“This is the message which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written down these words in a book at Jeremiah’s dictation, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying: ‘Thus says the LORD the God of Israel to you, O Baruch:’”

Very personal message to Baruch

Guzik: Chronological order was not important to the one who arranged the Book of Jeremiah. The previous chapters in this section dealt with the time after the fall of Jerusalem and Judah. This chapter deals with a time many years before that catastrophe, something like a flashback in a film or novel.

Constable: It was wrong, therefore, for Baruch to expect a life of comfort and ease. Baruch was an educated man whose brother was a high official under King Zedekiah (Jeremiah 51:59). His grandfather had been the ruler of Jerusalem during Josiah’s reign (cf. Jeremiah 32:12; 2 Chronicles 34:8). He may have entertained hopes of attaining a position of distinction in the nation, but Hebrews, too, would have to participate in the fallout of Yahweh’s judgment. The Lord promised to bless Baruch by preserving his life wherever he went because of his faithful service.

A. (:3a) Burned Up — Woe is Me – Emotionally Drained

“You said, ‘Ah, woe is me! For the LORD has added sorrow to my pain;’”

Baruch is ticked off – this ministry deal has not worked out the way he imagined; he is not being treated fairly for all of his faithful efforts

Adam Clarke: He had mourned for the desolations that were coming on his country, and now he mourns for the dangers to which he feels his own life exposed; for we find, from Jeremiah 36:26, that the king had given commandment to take both Baruch and Jeremiah, in order that they might be put to death at the instance of his nobles.

B. (:3b) Burned Out — Weary am I — Exhausted

“I am weary with my groaning and have found no rest.”

Baruch is ready to call it quits; no relief in sight

Thompson: It may be that as he dictated Jeremiah’s words of judgment, and knew in his heart that they were true and would certainly come to pass, he became depressed at it all and was filled with foreboding about his own future


(:4a) Introduction

“Thus you are to say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD,’”

Parunak: God does not encourage us to ignore the tragedy around us, but to persevere through it. Believers are not Pollyannas, always viewing the world through unnaturally rosey glasses. We see the evil in the world; indeed, we see it more acutely than does the unbeliever, because we see it in contrast with the perfect righteousness of Christ, and we know, as the unbeliever does not, that judgment is coming. The Lord does not take us out of the world, but he does deliver us from the evil one (John 17:15).

A. (:4b) Find Rest in the Sovereign Control of God

“Behold, what I have built I am about to tear down,

and what I have planted I am about to uproot, that is, the whole land.”

Make sure you are not seeking your treasure in the things of this world

B. (:5) Find Rest in God’s Protection – Not in Personal Recognition and Perks

1. Don’t Seek Personal Recognition or Perks

“’But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh,’ declares the LORD,”

Parunak: What does it mean, not to seek great things for oneself? Ps. 131:1 associates it with a haughty heart and lofty eyes. Recall Ecclesiastes. Life is full of uncertainty and disappointment, so don’t set your hopes on high achievements, but be content with what you have, and enjoy God’s daily blessings. Cf. Rom. 12:16, this lack of ambition will enable you to live in harmony with others, in a way that a grasping, striving spirit would make impossible.

Thompson: Baruch was an educated man, qualified as a secretary, whose brother (Jeremiah 51:59) was an officer of high rank under Zedekiah. He may have entertained hopes of some distinction in the nation. But whatever ‘great things’ he sought for himself were forfeited by his loyal support of Jeremiah.

Constable: The Lord’s command not to seek great things for himself presupposes a proud motive. Seeking to serve the Lord in a significant position of ministry is not wrong in itself, provided one’s motive is to glorify God. It is seeking position for one’s own glory that is wrong.

Wiersbe: The Lord cautioned him not to build his hopes on the future of Judah, because everything would be destroyed in the Babylonian siege. A “soft job” in the government would lead only to death or exile in Babylon.

Mackay: Living in a generation that is under the curse of God’s judgment, his priorities are to be governed by the divine message rather than human hopes. His faith is not to be viewed as a step on the ladder of self-advancement; it is sufficient reward in itself.

2. Be Content with God’s Protection Over Your Life

“but I will give your life to you as booty in all the places where you may go.”

Adam Clarke: But thy life will I give unto thee for a prey – This is a proverbial expression. We have met with it before, Jeremiah 21:9, Jeremiah 38:2, Jeremiah 39:18; and it appears to have this meaning. As a prey or spoil is that which is gained from a vanquished enemy, so it is preserved with pleasure as the proof and reward of a man’s own valor. So Baruch’s life should be doubly precious unto him, not only on account of the dangers through which God had caused him to pass safely, but also on account of those services he had been enabled to render, the consolations he had received, and the continual and very evident interposition of God in his behalf. All these would be dearer to him than the spoils of a vanquished foe to the hero who had overcome in battle.

Spoil may signify unlooked-for gain. The preservation of his life, in such circumstances, must be more than he could reasonably expect; but his life should be safe, and he should have it as a spoil, whithersoever he should go. This assurance must have quieted all his fears.