Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hot and Cold (04/09/09)
TITLE: Build Up Baruch
By Maria Kana Santos
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Strength depleted. Hopes deferred. The Babylonian conquest caved in the land of Israel with shadow of despair and expected doom. By Divine Will, the time it happened stretched back to 586 B.C. The people of promise had fallen into the hands of the Chaldeans.
There were two men singled out, in favour with GOD in these times of turmoil: Baruch, a devoted friend; and Jeremiah, the prophet.
Even in severe afflictions, Jeremiah dared not pave a way of admiration from the people. Instead, these people have become enemies that sorely increased every day from morning til night.
The priests vehemently stormed at Jeremiah, “Away with you!”
In spite of it all, Jeremiah gained a loyal and faithful friend in Baruch. Indeed, a grim picture of a lonely path together.
Baruch, a learned man of the Mosaic Law and customs, might have risen to a high position and seemed aware of this. But he chose to repress his ambition. Being content to throw in his lot with the prophet Jeremiah whose secretary and companion he became.
As Jeremiah dictated to Baruch the words of GOD against Judah; and as Baruch carefully penned the exact words, he must be feeling with Ezekiel,
“So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me.”
Greatly distressed because of the heavy message which he was to write; and without disguise, he read the words of GOD, the sharp message of reproof to the ear of the people.
Baruch pleaded, “Hear the words of GOD!”
“Wake up and present your supplications.”
“Humble before GOD, and call for mercy!”
“Return every one of you from your waywardness!”
“Awake to the great anger and fury of the LORD!”
How grievous are the sinful hearts of God’s chosen people! They turned cold and stiff-necked in their love; eventually succumbed to utter disobedience to GOD.
Judah’s King Zedekiah heard about the foretold ruin of the land. It angered the king and eventually had Baruch arrested, sentenced to death, and the roll burnt.
Now, all the people of Judah regarded the confrontation as a sitting duck for imprisonment, possibly death for the two inseparable friends. The spirit of their surroundings continued to bitterly oppress them.
As a team, Jeremiah and Baruch earnestly pressed on. Even though they knew they would be arrested, cast out, or banished. But imploring with God and burning devotion to HIM had not deserted Jeremiah and Baruch.
Later on, as said in Jeremiah 45, Baruch despaired. It behoved him to discouragement. Disheartened as he was now, all that were the enemies of Jeremiah became his too.
“Woe is me now,” he cried. “For the LORD has added grief to my sorrow,...”
Baruch had mourned for the spiritual deadness that was expected of his country, and now he mourned for the dangers to which he felt his own life was exposed.
"And as for you, are you looking for great things for yourself?” GOD’s gentle rebuke pursued Baruch, not leaving him comfortless.
“Have no desire for them: for truly I will send evil on all flesh,” says the Lord. “But your life I will keep safe from attack wherever you go."
Are there Baruchs in your different circles of friendship? It’ll be worthy of grace to encourage them to hold fast the Truth in Christ’s perfect love.
Our hopes in reference to this world are all broad and vain. Nothing better can be expected of it. But the narrow path, in which GOD had chosen for His obedient children, is LIFE.
GOD has done all to save at the high cost of His Son’s patient pursuit of obedience, even unto death.
“Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to the Truth and saving mercies of GOD.”
How faithfully has each of us been keeping the flame of pure love burning in our hearts for GOD?
I am blessed to think it sufficient that God has determined to preserve the Jeremiahs and the Baruchs of our day.
Baruch would have penned these words with Jude,
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
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