Comfort and Promise
God’s messages of hope are often embedded in warnings of impending judgment. At the conclusion of Jeremiah’s message to the Jewish inhabitants of Egypt, He promised His Chosen People they ultimately will return from captivity:
“Do not fear, O Jacob My servant,” says the Lᴏʀᴅ, “for I am with you; for I will make a complete end of all the nations to which I have driven you, but I will not make a complete end of you. I will rightly correct you, for I will not leave you wholly unpunished” (Jer. 46:28).
God promised, “But do not fear, O My servant Jacob, and do not be dismayed, O Israel! For behold, I will save you from afar, and your offspring from the land of their captivity; Jacob shall return, have rest and be at ease; no one shall make him afraid” (v. 27). It is a message of comfort to Israel, with a promise of a future despite punishment and judgment.
Jeremiah 45 is a parenthetical notation that contains another embedded message of hope. During the challenging years of Jeremiah’s ministry, a faithful scribe named Baruch recorded the unpopular prophet’s messages. At a moment of extreme disillusionment, God spoke comfort to Baruch through Jeremiah as Baruch documented prophecies of judgment. Reminding the scribe of His sovereignty over the nations, God informed Baruch, “What I have built I will break down, and what I have planted I will pluck up….But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go” (45:4–5).
Sandwiched between a warning to the people of Judah living in Egypt and a word of judgment against the Egyptian empire, God declared His authority to judge those who defy Him. Yet only a loving God would respond to Baruch’s mournful sighing with the comfort that his life would be spared no matter where he lived.
Jeremiah, by then an old man, was taken to Egypt against his will by unbelieving Judeans; and there he probably died. Baruch experienced the horrors of exile in Egypt as God’s judgment was poured out.
Sometimes the righteous suffer with a disobedient generation. But they can be assured that whatever may happen, God is with them; and their hope is secure in Him.