Baruch lived at the verge of the captivity; we are living at that of the Lord’s coming. He could see nothing before him but chains and imprisonment; we anticipate the joys of the Father’s House.
Baruch had nobly assisted the prophet Jeremiah in his bootless labours, and had shed tears as well. He felt the sore pressure of the day. Things had all gone, as we say, to the bad. The people, stiff-necked as ever, had turned a deaf ear to the calls of God through His servants. Remedy there was none. All that could have been done for the vineyard had been done; and now the curtain of long-suffering must fall, and the cup must be drained.
Long-suffering—even God’s—has its limits. A greater and more tender servant of God than Jeremiah wept over that people ere He passed the terrible sentence—a sentence passed in sorrow and after long delay.
God was not, is not, in any hurry to judge, and never does He sit in judgment without giving plenty of warning; but doom comes at last, and meritedly.
When I said “we anticipate the joys of the Father’s House,” I referred, of course, to those who are His children, and only such. For them, through infinite grace, there can be no cup of judgment to drain. They are bought with a price; they are redeemed by the blood of Christ, and are indwelt by the Spirit of God. Should they fall by the way they must reap in time the sad result of their folly, but they “shall not come into judgment, they are passed from death into life” (John 5:24). Nonetheless “judgment begins at the house of God,” because that house is directly under responsibility to Him. It is there He scrutinizes everything that professes His name; there is the privilege infinitely great and blessed; there, too, the obligation.
Baruch, associated as he was with the privilege and the responsibilities of his day, felt keenly the general decay. He was a weeper. He fainted in his sighing; he found no rest. He was the prototype of Timothy in a later day, and a good example, too, for all who feel, as they should, the general breakdown of the profession.
Tears may not cause the enemy to tremble, but, when truly shed in the sympathies of Christ they obtain the “mark” of God, and His preservation (see Ezek. 9). They acquire God’s blessing.
Baruch—the man who fainted in sighing—means “blessed,” and such, spite of his sorrow, he was.
Timothy, too (“honoured of God” cared naturally for the state of the saints of God, and was highly commended of the Apostle. Oh! for more of such men—men of that spirit—men who feel—men of hearts, and pity, and sympathy, and moral power, who see more than ecclesiastical conditions; men—not machines!
And so Baruch was to seek not great things for himself. Self might well be obscured and hidden. The common failure demanded that. He was to be consciously small; he should be marked by sorrow and sighing; he should be little in his own sight. The one thing on which he could always reckon was his life; that was secured. It should be a prey—ever safe. His own interests were safeguarded whatever might break down. He should be ever “blessed.” May we not, in our day, trace some analogy between Baruch and those who “sigh and cry” for the condition of God’s House today? I think so. “First work” will accompany such repentance, and they will be works which, if not specially brilliant in the estimation of men, will be genuine in that of the Lord. He will seal them with His approval.