God Has Big Plans for Little People

Jeremiah had a hard job, being a prophet in Israel when God was bringing the nation to judgment. Most of the political and religious leaders rejected him, and even when they heard something worth considering and brought it to King Jehoiakim it turned out badly.

When they heard all these words, they looked at each other in fear and said to Baruch [Jeremiah’s scribe], “We must report all these words to the king.” Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us, how did you come to write all this? Did Jeremiah dictate it?”

“Yes,” Baruch replied, “he dictated all these words to me, and I wrote them in ink on the scroll.”

Then the officials said to Baruch, “You and Jeremiah, go and hide. Don’t let anyone know where you are.” (Jeremiah 36:16-19.)

These officials did their job, taking the scroll to King Jehoiakim.

It was the ninth month and the king was sitting in the winter apartment, with a fire burning in the firepot in front of him. Whenever Jehudi [a court attendant] had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribe’s knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire. The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes. Even though Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. Instead, the king commanded Jerahmeel, a son of the king, Seraiah son of Azriel and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet. But the Lord had hidden them. (Jeremiah 36:22-26.)

Jeremiah didn’t always avoid imprisonment, though. He was thrown in a dungeon (Jeremiah 37:15-16), kept under guard in a courtyard (Jeremiah 37:21), tossed in a muddy cistern to rot (Jeremiah 38:4-8), and taken captive by his fellow Israelites and forced to accompany them when they fled to Egypt (Jeremiah 43:4-7) in an effort to escape the armies of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon as he overran Israel.

There is no biblical record of Jeremiah’s death.

Baruch, the little guy

Other than a couple of mentions, not much more is heard of Baruch after the scene in King Jehoiakim’s chambers. He was taken to Egypt along with Jeremiah and, like Jeremiah, there is no record of his death.

There is record of his life, though.

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.’” (Jeremiah 45:1-5.)

Baruch must have done some complaining, apparently. Who wouldn’t? What “great things” Baruch sought are not specified, but God’s assurance must have been a comfort. While disaster falls on others around Baruch, God promises him life.

And when it comes to great things, consider the life God promises. We receive it in abundance in the fulfillment of God’s greatest promise, the Messiah of Israel and hope of the nations, Jesus who said:

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10.)

This is what Paul wrote of as well in describing our life in Christ:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ … . (2 Corinthians 5:17-18.)

Yearning for “great things” is the way of the world, but it is not what God wants us to long for.

For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. (Philippians 3:18-19.)

We who are given life in Christ are to set our sights on heavenly matters.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4.)

Whether you are a great person in the world’s eyes or not, you have God’s promised life. He makes you greater than you could imagine possible.


[This is the second post in a two-part series on the latter portion of the Book of Jeremiah. Part one appeared on Monday: How to Stay Faithful When Someone Hijacks Your Faith.]


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4 Responses to God Has Big Plans for Little People

  1. TRY MUCH??? OK, I promise this is the first and last time I will ever do that 😀

    Kids can be a great antidote to the yearning for greatness — at least mine is. Jonathan does not aspire, compare, or manipulate: his focus is on the little joys and comforts of life (snack, a new DVD from the library, watching the recycling truck, going for a drive, seeing seagulls and windmills). For him, abundant life looks very simple. It’s a great lesson for me.

    • Tim says:

      I can be very trying, Jeannie, haven’t you noticed?

      OK, now seriously: “abundant life looks very simple” has to be one of the best descriptions of life in Christ I’ve ever read.

  2. roscuro says:

    When I was a teen, there was a lot of doom and gloom coming from the Christian adults around me. It really seemed that there was nothing to hope for in my future as a Christian, and I was already struggling with symptoms of depression and anxiety. My family had a wonderful habit of reading through the Bible together, a chapter a day. It just so happened that we were reading through Jeremiah. It appealed to me, as I realized that I wasn’t the only one who had faced a bleak future. When we got to chapter 45, it was like a lifeline had been thrown to me. Since then, that promise to Baruch has been an inspiration to me to take risks in my life as I try to follow God’s will. I’ve done some things that the people around me thought I was crazy to do because of the risks, but I knew that they were the right things to do. It isn’t easy, but God has given me my life in Christ and that’s all I really need.

    • Tim says:

      I had always just blown right by that short chapter on God’s promise to Baruch until reading through the book again now. I can see how it would have been an encouragement to you in your struggles, Roscuro.

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