Jeremiah 45:1 The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch
This is a gem—one more proof that the Lord is an attentive, personal God. While extremely unusual for the Old Testament, we see the Lord responding to the personal situation of one of his servants, so reminiscent of the early revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Some close associate of his would come to him and request the word of the Lord on their behalf. Joseph would ask; the Lord would respond. So we have: Section 4 to Joseph Smith, Sr., 5 to Martin Harris, 8 & 9 to Oliver Cowdery, 11 to Hyrum Smith, 12 to Joseph Knight, 14-16 to David, John, and Peter Whitmer (D&C 4-16).
Well, the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So the pattern didn’t start with Joseph Smith and his close associates. As destruction nears, Jeremiah has very few in his corner. How reassuring to have friends amidst the storm! Baruch was such a friend and received a personalized revelation from a personal God.
Jeremiah 45:3 Woe is me now? For the Lord hath added grief to my sorrow
It was Jehoiakim’s 5th year, not 4th, in which Baruch delivered his message and became a wanted man (Jer. 36:9-10, 26). Baruch’s “grief and sorrow” must have been a separate issue than the trial of being a fugitive when the Lord hid Jeremiah and Baruch from the king’s men. So what was the issue plaguing Baruch? We will never know. He was apparently exhausted and sad, familiar emotions to most of us.
Jeremiah 45:4-5 seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not
Had Baruch hoped to hold a prominent position in Jerusalem? If he had any such aspirations, the Lord puts them down. It doesn’t do any good to be a ruler in Jerusalem if there is no Jerusalem left! The city is doomed for destruction, but the Lord does promise Baruch one very important thing, “thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.” This means, “Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever” (D&C 122:9). His enemies would not have power over him to kill him. The next year, the word of the Lord would be fulfilled as Jeremiah and Baruch would be protected from the King.
“…in this short prophecy we get our only poignant, personal glimpse of Baruch's own sacrifice and suffering as he realized that Jeremiah's words of doom to Israel would affect his own life. The Lord said that he could offer no immediate comfort or relief from the terrible things that were then happening and that were soon to come about (Jer. 45:4). Those ‘great things’ that Baruch would like to pursue for himself in his personal life would not be attainable. The only consolation the Lord could offer was that his life would be spared (Jer. 45:5).
“Baruch remained faithful to Jeremiah to the end. The last we hear of him he was in Egypt, still recording the word of the Lord through Jeremiah. Perhaps the placement of this oracle at the end of the biographical material is the work of Baruch, who copied and edited those words, attaching his own personal oracle at the end as proof that the Lord had indeed spared his life and as evidence of his hand in the biographical section.” (Kent P. Jackson, ed., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 4: 1 Kings to Malachi [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 211)
L. Tom Perry
As I travel throughout the Church I marvel at all the positive things that are occurring. Yet I never feel that we, as a people, are living up to our real potential. My sense is that we do not always work together, that we are still too much interested in aspirations for personal honors and success, and show too little interest in the common goal of building the kingdom of God. (“United in Building the Kingdom of God,” Ensign, May 1987, 35)
Ezra Taft Benson
When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.
We should put God ahead of everyone else in our lives… Can we put God ahead of security, peace, passions, wealth, and the honors of men?... When we are required to choose, are we more anxious to please God than our boss, our teacher, our neighbor, or our date?...
We should give God, the Father of our spirits, an exclusive preeminence in our lives. He has a prior parental claim on our eternal welfare, ahead of all other ties that may bind us here or hereafter.
God our Father, Jesus, our Elder Brother and our Redeemer, and the Holy Ghost, the Testator, are perfect. They know us best and love us most and will not leave one thing undone for our eternal welfare. Should we not love them for it and honor them first?... Jesus said, “I do always those things that please [God]” (John 8:29). (“The Great Commandment—Love the Lord,” Ensign, May 1988, 4-5)