Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2010
Scripture: Isaiah 53:1-5; Jeremiah 7:1-11, 28, 45; Matthew 6:25-34.
Baruch’s world was quickly falling apart. In his role as a secretary/scribe for the prophet Jeremiah, he had the unpleasant task of writing out unpopular messages for the king of Judah who, at one point, had the scroll from which he read systematically sliced up and burned. The Word of God to King Jehoiakim was wasted and Baruch’s life was at risk. How much longer would the precious opportunities to repent last before destruction would strike? Not much.
Early last week a central Mexican city rocked with explosions when oil thieves attempted to tap and steal the precious black gold. The high pressure oil at the Pemex crude pumping station in San Martin Texmelucan gushed out of control and somehow ignited causing an explosion that killed at least 27 people. Rivers of burning oil flowed through some of the streets. The devastation impacted a three mile radius of the city.
“At least 52 others were injured and more than 100 homes damaged in what witnesses described as a series of blasts… The explosions flooded a stream with black crude and sparked ‘rivers of fire’ in the streets… Fires had been put out by early afternoon [Sunday] and the oil pipeline was closed down.” 1
The blast was so intense it “scorched homes and cars and left metal and pavement twisted from the intense heat and in some cases burned to ash. Relatives sobbed as firefighters pulled charred bodies from the incinerated homes, some of the remains barely more than piles of ashes and bones. 2
Is stealing oil a new problem in Mexico? No. Juan Jose Suarez, the head of Pemex, reported that the section of pipeline near the blast has been tapped 60 times. Nationwide there have been 550 cases of illegal tapping. Organized crime groups drained millions of dollars yearly from oil companies. Oil theft happens all the time. Not as common are explosions. For many residents in San Martin Texmelucan, time ran out.
In our Sabbath school lesson this week we look into the heart of a scribe who knew God’s warning messages would soon stop and the end of Jerusalem would come. It was depressing to even think about. Burning, devastation, death and destruction were prophesied. The emotional stress caught up with Baruch. As he expresses his woe and sadness, a message from God comes to this background character of Scripture. The Lord reminds Jeremiah’s secretary that the most important things in life are not seen, but unseen. Evidently, Baruch was thinking of some type of recognition for his role, when God reminded him that disaster would still come.
But the Lord did promise Baruch one thing … his life would be spared. Such was not the case for many this last week in San Martin Texmelucan when their world blew up.