Do Not Seek Them

Monday, April 01, 2013, 5:11 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “Awaken the Dawn” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Jeremiah 45 (NIV):

When Baruch son of Neriah wrote on a scroll the words Jeremiah the prophet dictated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, Jeremiah said this to Baruch: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: You said, ‘Woe to me! The Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.’ But the Lord has told me to say to you, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will overthrow what I have built and uproot what I have planted, throughout the earth. Should you then seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them. For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life.’”

The Scroll

In Jeremiah 36 we read that God told Jeremiah to take a scroll and to write on it all the words God had spoken to him concerning Israel, Judah and all the other nations. The writings were to cover a specified period of time (see God then said that, perhaps, when the people heard it read to them that they would turn from their wicked ways, and he would forgive them. So, Jeremiah did as the Lord instructed. He dictated the words to his scribe, Baruch, who then wrote the words on the scroll. Then, Jeremiah asked Baruch to take the scroll to the temple on a day of fasting and to read it to the people there, because Jeremiah was under some restriction and could not do it himself. So, Baruch did everything Jeremiah told him to do.

Someone who heard the scroll read then asked Baruch to read it to the officials, and eventually it was read to the king by someone named Jehudi. The king, after the reading of three or four columns, cut off the portion of the scroll that had been read, and he threw it in the fire. The whole scroll was burned up. The king showed no fear of God. The king then ordered the arrest of Baruch and Jeremiah, but the Lord hid them. Then, the Lord told Jeremiah to take another scroll and to write on it all the words that were on the first scroll that had been burned in the fire. So, Jeremiah did as the Lord instructed, and once again he dictated all the words of the Lord to Baruch, and Baruch wrote all the words on the scroll.


Following this account of the burning of the scroll and the re-writing of the words that were contained on the burned scroll onto a new scroll, we read where Jeremiah warned the people to flee Jerusalem and Judah, and to surrender to the Babylonians in order to spare their lives, and not to think, just because there seemed to be a lull in the advancement of forces that it meant the enemy was not coming back. They were coming back, and they planned to burn the city down. Then we read of Jeremiah’s arrest, of him beaten and thrown into prison, and then of him released from that prison to be placed in the courtyard of the guard. Then we read how Jeremiah continued to preach that the people must flee the city and surrender to the Babylonians if they want to live. The officials did not like that, so they threw him into a cistern and he sunk down in the mud. Someone appealed to the king on behalf of Jeremiah and the king had Jeremiah pulled out of the cistern, and Jeremiah was once again placed in the courtyard of the guard. Wow!


Then, we have the account of Jerusalem being taken by the king of Babylon. The king of Babylon gave orders to spare Jeremiah’s life. Jeremiah was then set free for a time. Some battles took place between some groups of people. The people inquired of Jeremiah as to what they should do. The people promised to obey the Lord. The people were the remnant which survived the onslaught of the king of Babylon, and they were now in a safe place. Jeremiah told them to stay put, for the Lord would take care of them, and he would protect them, but if they fled to Egypt, they were to know that the king of Babylon would attack Egypt and they would lose their lives. The people, who had just said they would obey God, no matter the message, responded to Jeremiah by calling him a liar. So, the people disobeyed God and they fled to Egypt. It appears they took Baruch and Jeremiah with them. The officers led away the entire remnant to Egypt.

In Egypt, God spoke to the people through Jeremiah concerning their idolatry, but the people responded by saying they would not listen to the message God spoke to them through Jeremiah, and that they would continue their practice of worshiping the “Queen of Heaven,” as had been practiced by their ancestors. Culture and tradition are very strong forces (see So, Jeremiah told them to go ahead and do what they had determined to do, but they were to know that disaster would strike and that there would be great loss of life.


Then we have this small chapter 45 which is addressed to Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe. If we try to put ourselves in the place of Baruch, I think we can get a feel for what Baruch was feeling, and why he felt as though God had added sorrow to his pain, and why he was worn out with groaning and felt as though he had no rest. Just having to write all those messages of judgment must have been depressing enough, let alone to have to read them to the people, then to have his life threatened, then to take on the task of rewriting what he had written before, as was dictated to him by Jeremiah, then witnessing the fall of judgment on Judah and Jerusalem, then to be forced to flee to Egypt with the remnant of Judah, and then to have the people to continue to reject the words, to continue in their idolatry and disobedience, and to know that was only going to mean more judgment to come. Wow!

Yet, this chapter could have been placed in the writings of Jeremiah out of order, because the indication is that God spoke to Baruch when he wrote on the scroll the words dictated to him by Jeremiah, which would place this writing prior to the fall of Jerusalem and Judah. Still, Baruch evidently wanted relief from his suffering. That is understandable. We don’t really know what all he said to God or what was going through his head or what “great things” he wanted for himself, but perhaps he was lamenting the loss of property, the future he thought he was going to have, the loss of friends and family, and a not-so-great prospect of what was yet to face him, and perhaps he was hoping life would return to “normal.”

Making it Personal

I’ve been there. Perhaps many of you have, too. Sometimes life throws curve balls at us, and sometimes darts, yet God is absolutely sovereign over all things. Nothing takes him by surprise. Nothing can touch us but what God allows it, and he allows it for a purpose. And, if we think the grass is greener on the other side, think again. If we think, “If I just had a different job, or I moved to a new location, or I had a different car, or spouse, or house, then things would be different,” then think again! We may have some temporary relief or gratification from something new or different, but ultimately we take ourselves with us wherever we go, and life has its ups and downs no matter where we live or where we work, and marriage is hard no matter what. There is no perfect anything! And, we should never look to things of this earth to bring us peace, joy, satisfaction or to heal what ails us, because the things of this life are temporal and are bound to disappoint us and leave us empty and longing for more.

The Apostle Paul said he learned the art of being content no matter what his circumstances. When we realize that God is absolutely sovereign over all things, and that he allows circumstances in our lives for our good – to teach, mature and purify us and to make us holy – then we realize that running away is never the answer. “If only we had this or that, then we would be happy” is also not the answer. And, if we try to live our lives to please people, we will find that no matter where we go, and no matter how hard we try to do what we think people expect of us, someone will always not like us, and the rules will keep changing from place to place and from people to people. And, if it is God’s purpose for you or I to go through something in our lives, he may take us through it no matter where we end up. We can never run from God (see Psalm 139).

Yet, sometimes God says “Go! Flee! Get outa town!” That is what he was telling the people of Jerusalem and Judah before the fall of Jerusalem. And, if this is the timing of God’s words to Baruch, then perhaps the message to him was for him not to hold on to the life he had before, or the future he thought he was going to have for himself, nor to hold on to his earthly possessions, but he was to go and to leave it all behind him, yet he was not to expect that a change in location was necessarily going to be any better, for God planned to judge the whole earth.

So, a move with God, upon his orders, may not bring the promise of improvement over circumstances. Yet, we can go in the hope and promise that God is with us, and if we are going out of obedience to God, with the peace and blessings of knowing we are in the center of his will. The main thing is to bring all things to God in prayer, to trust him with our circumstances, and to not think that natural changes in environment or circumstances is our “hope,” but to always put our trust in the Lord in all things and to follow him wherever he leads us, even if it is into dark valleys or on mountain tops.

Awaken the Dawn / An Original Work / January 15, 2013

Based off Psalm 57 (NIV 1984)

O my God, have mercy on me!
In the Lord, my soul takes refuge.
In the shadow of Your wings, Lord,
I find shelter till the storms pass.
I cry out to my God Most High.
He fulfills His purpose for me.
He sent His Son to die for me,
So I could be saved.

I am in the midst of lions;
Men whose teeth are spears and arrows;
Whose tongues are sharp; words accusing.
They spread a net, my feet to catch.
They dug a pit, in hopes I’d fall.
O God, be exalted o’er all.
Let Your glory shine to all men,
So they may be saved.

Steadfast is my heart, O my God;
I will sing of all Your wonders.
Awake, my soul! Sing praise to God!
Early I will rise and praise Him!
I’ll praise God among the nations;
I will sing among the peoples.
God’s love reaches to the heavens,
So we may be saved.