Baruch begins about 5 1/2 years after the Chaldeans took Jerusalem into Captivity. This book is considered a long national prayer which confesses sins. We’ll pick up in this chapter at verse 6.
They made also a collection of money according to every man’s power: And they sent it to Jerusalem unto Joachim the high priest, the son of Chelcias, son of Salom, and to the priests, and to all the people which were found with him at Jerusalem, At the same time when he received the vessels of the house of the Lord, that were carried out of the temple, to return them into the land of Juda, the tenth day of the month Sivan, namely, silver vessels, which Sedecias the son of Josias king of Jada had made, After that Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon had carried away Jechonias, and the princes, and the captives, and the mighty men, and the people of the land, from Jerusalem, and brought them unto Babylon.
And they said, Behold, we have sent you money to buy you burnt offerings, and sin offerings, and incense, and prepare ye manna, and offer upon the altar of the Lord our God; And pray for the life of Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, and for the life of Balthasar his son, that their days may be upon earth as the days of heaven: And the Lord will give us strength, and lighten our eyes, and we shall live under the shadow of Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, and under the shadow of Balthasar his son, and we shall serve them many days, and find favour in their sight.
Nebuchadnezzar was painted in a very negative light in the Bible, though modern history treats him far more kindly. Despite all of this, the story opens with a prayer for Nebuchadnezzar’s prosperity.
Given that Baruch is believed to have been written by Jeremiah’s scribe, it should be no surprise to find this within the text. For we see in Jeremiah 29:7
And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.
Paul acknowledges this in 1 Timothy 2:1-2
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
Pray for us also unto the Lord our God, for we have sinned against the Lord our God; and unto this day the fury of the Lord and his wrath is not turned from us. And ye shall read this book which we have sent unto you, to make confession in the house of the Lord, upon the feasts and solemn days.
And ye shall say, To the Lord our God belongeth righteousness, but unto us the confusion of faces, as it is come to pass this day, unto them of Juda, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,And to our kings, and to our princes, and to our priests, and to our prophets, and to our fathers:For we have sinned before the Lord,And disobeyed him, and have not hearkened unto the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in the commandments that he gave us openly: Since the day that the Lord brought our forefathers out of the land of Egypt, unto this present day, we have been disobedient unto the Lord our God, and we have been negligent in not hearing his voice.
Wherefore the evils cleaved unto us, and the curse, which the Lord appointed by Moses his servant at the time that he brought our fathers out of the land of Egypt, to give us a land that floweth with milk and honey, like as it is to see this day. Nevertheless we have not hearkened unto the voice of the Lord our God, according unto all the words of the prophets, whom he sent unto us: But every man followed the imagination of his own wicked heart, to serve strange gods, and to do evil in the sight of the Lord our God.
How often do we pray and say “we have sinned” or “I have sinned”? I don’t actually know, I’m asking because I really don’t know how often you or others do. I, myself, say it often in regards to myself and on occasion I find myself saying it about America or the world when I’m lamenting about the state of humanity. I feel wretched for the things I’ve done historically, like I can never really escape it. It’s probably at the root of why I started this blog, so that maybe with more focus on God’s word, I can come to terms with myself by coming to terms with the fact that God still loves the tribes of Israel despite their own historical sins of the past.
What makes this passage so much more important to me, is that the people have accepted God’s Will, but still want to make things right by offering prayer.
Just think, how easy would it be to turn away from God when He’s angry. We have all kinds of literary works that deal with this very trope, though less as it concerns a deity and more focused on the human-to-human psyche. But I think they bare a lot of value in terms of our ability to cope with God too.
It’s in our darkest times that we hear ourselves saying “God please help us”, but I wonder how often we think “God I accept your will”. Admittedly, it wasn’t until about a year ago I started to acknowledge “God I accept your will”, even if I said it during prayer. Israel, in this prayer, acknowledged something that has taken me years to acknowledge. I wonder if it’s because of a difference in upbringing. Or if it’s something we have to struggle with until we get it. Maybe even those which drew up the prayer for Baruch to read before God didn’t quite understand it either, but acknowledged it was spoken of by the Prophets.
What about you? Have you taken the time to really consider what it means to accept God’s Will? Christ asked that the cup be taken from him, but he would accept God’s Will if it was not (Matthew 26:39), and long before him, Job 2:10
Will we recieve good from God, but not also recieve evil?