JEREMIAH 45:1 ¶ The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,
2 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch;
3 Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.
4 Thus shalt thou say unto him, The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land.
5 And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.
The Lord speaks to believers; He speaks here in Jeremiah's short prophecy to Baruch the son of Neriah, which interpreted means that this prophecy is addressed to the Blessed, who are born from the light of God; for that is what those names mean.
It comes from the prophet Jeremiah, who can be trusted to speak the words of The Lord, because his name – and thus his nature; his whole purpose – tells us that he is 'appointed by God'.
There is a time frame involved here too; the prophecy is for a specific time; the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.
This is the time [year] when the Lord raises up [Jehoikim = Jehovah raises up] His people [fourth = foursquare = creation = the world], whose hearts are full of praise and thanksgiving [who dwell in Judah, the land of praise] because they have been redeemed and restored [son of Josiah = whom Jehovah heals].
We can see that although the prophecy is addressed to one named Baruch [pronounced baw-rook], it is meant for all God's people. Scripture always speaks to us either personally or corporately.
And do we not say to ourselves 'Woe is me now!' for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.
Well, I have been in that place. Troubles seemed to pile up one upon another; nothing goes aright; having one of those days that no matter which way I turn it only adds to the calamity and confusion. I let my worries and minor grumbles get the better of me. I feel frustrated; angry with myself and others (but mainly with myself); my concentration goes I know not where and even crying out to The Lord seems to exacerbate my self-pity - not in a good place and working up a few irksome thoughts into an earth-shattering fury.
The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land.
The Lord allows us these times – maybe to teach us that we are not as composed and sorted as we like to think we are. And He is prepared to uproot us and turn us inside out.
And that is The Lord's way. In ISAIAH 55 we read this...
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
The Lord's ways are upside down or inside out to our way of thinking, and it is His desire that we change our thinking, our attitudes, and allow His governance to prevail in us; for us to become like Him ...to think like Him and view everything from His standpoint. In this way, our outward expression will be of Him also. His word to us will always accomplish its purpose. He will not allow otherwise, thus He is quite prepared to pluck up what He has planted. In fact, that is what His purpose is for each one of us – that our old life be put on the scrapheap, that we be recreated in Him.
And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not:
Are we seeking great things for ourselves? Is not being a great person a finer goal? I use the word great as it is often used in Scripture; great, as in godly, good, something or someone imbued with the Spirit of Christ. God wants us to be close to Him, leaning on the Beloved...
SONG OF SONGS 8:5 Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?
It is not just about His good gifts to us; the provision; the gifts of the spirit. [GALATIANS 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.] No, The Lord wants us to get to know Him, to be in an intimate relationship with Him. That really, is the basis of the Christian message in its simplest form. And there is nothing easier than getting into a right relationship with God, unless of course, it is not God we are seeking, but only what He can do for us. If we have only come to the place where our only desire is what God can give us, then we do not comprehend what 'I surrender all' really means.
All to Jesus I surrender,
all to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
in His presence daily live.
All to Jesus I surrender,
humbly at his feet I bow;
worldly pleasures all forsaken,
take me Jesus, take me now.
It is important that we come to Him on His terms, not ours. When I cry out to Him in my bewilderment, I believe that I get no reply. There will be no reply, because I am coming to Him in the wrong Spirit, I am not rightly related to Him. I demand that He fix things. No reply means He is having no truck with a wrong-headed attitude; it does not mean that He is not listening, nor does not mean 'no answer'. I have got my answer when I am genuinely and properly at the end of myself. Then He will answered my prayer, often because He puts it in my lovely wife Gill's heart to pray for me in my distress. Then – and only then – will I feel the peace of the Lord descend on me.
His response is that of a caring Father, (just like my own natural father, in fact). “I am not speaking to you while you are in that mood.” The Lord knew that I would not be listening. It did not mean that He was not working to change my mood and get me out of it. He got His way in the end, and I found that I could focus on priorities once again and not be distracted by needless fears.
God had identified the reason I was in such a state. I was not seeking Him at all, but something for myself. Jesus said, in MATTHEW 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you . . .
We are to ask God for what we want and not be concerned about asking amiss, because as we draw closer to Him, we will cease asking for things altogether. MATTHEW 6:8 your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Then why should you ask at all? So that we may get to know Him. All prayer is about getting each of us closer to Him.
God always ignores, or rather, forgives our present state of incompleteness, in favour of the end of the matter – our ultimate perfection. He is not concerned about making you blessed and happy right now, but He’s continually working out His ultimate perfection in us. JOHN 17:22 ...that they may be one just as We are one . . . The fact that we are trying to get closer to Him is what I believe The Lord values most.
"We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself." Oswald Chambers: 'My Utmost for His Highest'
behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD:
God says that this is part of His plan, that all in the natural will perish. Our hope of completeness and eternal life will never be realised if we cling to an inadequate life-raft, one not fit for purpose. We cannot save ourselves; thus, we must find the one who is able.
HEBREWS 2:18 For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.
HEBREWS 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
HEBREWS 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Three magnificent quotations from the Book of Hebrews, which point the way, whereby...thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.
We do not nowadays use the word prey as it is used here. Other translations say 'prize', 'purpose' or 'gain'. This is a promise indeed; I will give your life to you . . . What more do any of us really want or need but our own lives. It is the basic, essential thing; … your life … as a prize … means that no matter what, we will come out with our life, and nothing and no man can take that from us. It is sealed and protected by Almighty God. It is the life that is hidden with Christ in God. (COLOSSIANS 3:3).
Are we prepared to be in total oneness with God, paying no more attention to the great things of life?
Are we prepared to let go, to abandon all to The Lord?
The true test of this abandonment or surrender lies in questioning how The Lord goes about His business. We must look out for and beware of our own ideas about things. As soon as we start questioning God - “Lord, have you thought about this?”, “Eh, Lord, you haven't thought about that.” And we have all done it if we are honest with ourselves – we reveal where we really are – and it is not abandoned to God.
But once we surrender, we will no longer think about what God is going to do. It is an acceptance of The Lord's way of things over our own way of things. And when we grant The Lord free, unhindered access to ourselves, He will move in and take possession … and that means He gives us our life … as a prize.
2 CHRONICLES 14:7 Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.
The Lord is building Zion – the spiritual Jerusalem; the city of the Living God, wherein life abounds; everlasting life. That is a prize worth any price.
Recently, I found myself singing a version of the chorus of a song entitled I serve a risen Saviour. I couldn't get it out of my mind … didn't want to.
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
...He lives within my heart.