Saturday, September 19, 2020

Grief To My Sorrow

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In the New Testament, Jesus sent the Apostles out two-by-two. Essentially, it was to fulfill the testimony requirements that a thing was established by the witness of two, or three. Hmmm. God follows His own advice! What a concept!

At different times in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul had several different companions in ministry travels: Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, and Luke. What wonderful co-ministers to work beside him! Also, Aquila and Priscilla, as husband and wife traveled together spreading the Gospel. They even crossed paths with Paul.

In the Old Testament, Moses had his brother Aaron, Abraham and the other prophets all has wives or other helpers with them. So today in Jeremiah 45, we are introduced to Baruch, the scribe of Jeremiah. We’ve read of him briefly since chapter 32, but today we see God giving Baruch a message. Just like in our own families, some names tend to repeat from generation to generation. So upon introducing him to us, God differentiates Jeremiah’s Baruch from two other Baruchs in the Old Testament.
The family tree is how God does this. This Baruch was the son of Neriah, and the son of Maaseiah. Nehemiah records the other two Baruchs, and they too are identified by their father’s lineage, clearly identifying them as different from each other and Jeremiah’s Baruch.

If I haven’t confused you too badly and you are still following along, we see that God knows all the Baruch’s personally, knowing all about them; who their fathers were and the grandfathers too. Nothing is hid from God. It should remind us that Jesus Christ (God) is a very personal Savior.

Acts 4:12 says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” When we consider the personal knowledge that God is with us, that last phrase becomes “…there is none other name under heaven by which (insert your name here) must be saved.”
“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be batptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?”  - Matthew 3:13, 14
(Notice the personal pronouns used. And this little exchange of words comes between Jesus, and the Baptist, of whom Jesus said, “among men born of women, there is no greater prophet.”)

Jesus is a most personal Savior to all of us!

Today's Audio Message: "Grief To My Sorrow"

Chapter 45 is a flashback to the 4th year of Jehoiakim, a king of Judah. While one might think that someone made a mistake placing this chapter towards the back of the book rather than several chapters earlier, they would be wrong. Though the book of Jeremiah is not in chronological order, God makes no mistakes. It is a timely reminder that God is faithful to those He has called, no matter the hardships they face along the way.

We can be very proficient at feeling sorry for ourselves, can’t we? When things don’t go quite the way we expect we are disappointed and discouraged. When we’ve invested our lives in the service of our Lord only to be met with hatred, criticism and even failure, our eyes begin to focus inward.

Here we see Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe, feeling beaten down and questioning everything. He would be alongside Jeremiah to pen some of the most difficult prophecies from the Lord, and we see his transparent nature coming out in despair.

We have all been here, haven’t we? Anxiety that overwhelms us, that pit in our stomach caused by fear and doubt until at last we cry, “Woe is me!”

The frustration that had been festering in Baruch’s heart does not go unnoticed by God. In fact, as he is writing down the Words of the Lord, he realizes that these strong words are specifically directed towards him. God chastens those whom He loves. While we are looking for a quick fix to our circumstances, or a way out of them, it is the nature of God in Scripture to give us what we need, not what we want.

The Lord instructs Baruch to stop looking at himself, and shift his eyes to Him.  The Lord instructs us to do the same.  We will endure tough times, and God allows it for our spiritual growth, to correct us, to teach us, to prove our faith,  and to glorify Him. 

The world may crumble around us, but the Lord’s promises are sure. He will never leave or forsake us, and He will fulfill His purposes in the lives of His people. 

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