Instead, the king commanded Jerahmeel, a son of the king, as well as Seraiah son of Azriel and Shelemiah son of Abdeel, to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet. But the LORD had hidden them.
I. TO WHAT STRAITS THE CAUSE OF GOD IS SOMETIMES REDUCED! Those in high position are opposed to it, and its advocates and representatives have to seek concealment. No open ministry was, therefore, possible. Self-preservation had to be first attended to. There have been times when religion was tolerated, but as under apology; this was an instance of utter exclusion. How good men must have despaired and bad men triumphed! All that God could do for his servants seemed to be to hide them. At the same time, how easy it would be to miscalculate the moral power of the Word! Is not persecution better than languid indifference?
II. HOW HOPELESS THEIR EFFORTS WHO CONTEND WITH GOD! With seeming ease and yet mysterious skill, the secrets of nature are made to subserve his will. And even that which is, as it were, an extremity - a last resource - is so mysteriously effected as to convey the impression of infinite skill and endless resources.
1. They are baffled at the very outset. There seems to have been some interposition of the Divine in making the concealment of the prophet and his companion so inscrutable; and it impressed men. All the means at their disposal were exhausted in their efforts to discover them, but in vain. It is:
2. With an apparent ease. It is but one move on the great chessboard, but it is effectual and sufficient. It is even conceivable that the pursued took no special pains to conceal themselves, but left it in the hand of him whom they served.
3. And with significant gentleness. Some grander deliverance he might have effected, but this is enough. And it simply prevents the wicked king and his court from adding further to their guilt. How thankful ought wicked men to be that they are not suffered to carry out all their evil designs! So God sometimes "prevents," that he may not have to pursue and destroy.
III. HOW SECURE GOD'S SERVANTS ARE WHEN HE UNDERTAKES FOR THEM! It is merely said he "hid them," that their concealment was effectual and inviolate being understood without further words. Elijah (1 Kings 17:2) and his successor (2 Kings 6.) were so hidden. The Lord of the universe knows its every secret.
1. In temporal things. The children of God will not escape misfortune or sorrow. Persecutions are amongst the promises. But the true evil of evil will not reach them. They cannot know it. He hides them in his "secret place" until the storm and fury are overpast. Nay, in distress his tenderness will be the more conspicuous and manifest. "Hide me under the shadow of thy wings" (Psalm 17:8); "I flee unto thee to hide me" (Psalm 143:9). There is an inward, inaccessible peace, which is the gift of every true disciple (John 14:27).
2. In things spiritual. Isaiah spoke of the day when "a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind," etc. (Isaiah 32:2). And we know that our "life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3). When the unpardoned shall call upon the rocks to fall on them, and the hills to cover them from his wrath, they that believe shall be safe in the keeping of their Lord.
3. And this is so because the saints are precious in his sight. He keeps them as the apple of his eye. Not a hair of their head shall fall to the ground without their Father. They are the firstfruits of his Son's agony and sacrifice, and bear his likeness. All the resources of his kingdom are held in readiness for their salvation. - M.
But the Lord hid him.! — "The Lord hid him." What that precisely means it is impossible to say: Was there a John of Gaunt for this Wycliff, an Elector of Saxony for this Luther? Did Ahikam, who had before interposed on his behalf, or his sons — Gemariah, who lent Jeremiah his room in the Temple for the reading of his roll, and Gedaliah, who became Governor of Judah after Zedekiah's deportation — take the prophet under their care? Or was this hiding something more Divine and blessed still? These Divine hidings are needed by us all. We must obey the voice that cries to us, as it did to Elijah, "Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself." We are too prominent, too self-important, too conscious of ourselves. And God must sometimes hide us in the sick-chamber, the valley of shadow, the cleft of the rock. He calls us to Zarephath, or Carmel, to the privacy of obscurity, or of solitude. It is stated that on one occasion when the dragoons of Claverhouse were scouring the mountains of Scotland in search of the Covenanters, a little party of these godly folk, gathered on the hillside for prayer, must have fallen into their hands had not a cloud suddenly settled, down, effectually concealing them from their pursuers. Thus the Son of God still interposes for His own.
II. HE RE-EDITED HIS PROPHECIES. To this period we may refer the Divine injunction: "Thus speaketh the Lord, the God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book" (Jeremiah 36:2). It may be that throughout, this period Baruch continued to act as his faithful amanuensis and scribe. He, at least, was certainly included in the Divine hidings (Jeremiah 36:26-32). It was at great cost to his earthly prospects. He came of a good family, his brother being Seraiah, who held high office under King Zedekiah, and he cherished the ambition of distinguishing himself amongst his compeers. "He sought great things for himself." But he was reconciled to the lot of suffering and sorrow to which his close identification with Jeremiah led him, by a special revelation assuring him of the speedy overthrow of the State; and that, in the general chaos, he would escape with his life (45). By the aid of this faithful friend, Jeremiah gathered together the prophecies which he had uttered on various occasions, and put them in order, specially elaborating the predictions given in the fourth year of Jehoiakim against the surrounding nations. The word of the Lord came to him concerning the Philistines, and Moab, and the children of Ammon and Edom, Damascus and Kedar. This time of Jeremiah's seclusion was therefore not lost to the world. It was fruitful as Bunyans in Bedford Gaol; Luthers in the Wartburg; Madame Guyon's in the Bastille. Unseen, the prophet busied himself, as the night settled down on his country, in kindling the sure light of prophecy, that should cast its radiant beams over the dark waters of time, until the day should dawn, and the day-star glimmer out in the eastern sky.
(F. B. Meyer,. B. A.)
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