Since I haven’t written much about Jeremiah for a while, I thought I would just post about him again this week. Love this guy!
Towards the end of Jerusalem as they knew it, when it became very apparent that the city and the Temple of the Lord were on the verge of total destruction by the army of King Nebuchadnezzar, God gave Jeremiah a personal word. In Chapter 32, He told him that his cousin, Hanamel, was going to come to him and ask him to buy his (Hanamel’s) field back in Anathoth, Jeremiah’s home town. God told Jeremiah to buy the field from Hanamel.
There are a couple of pieces of background information helpful in making my point: 1) Jeremiah was “…shut up in the court of the guard, which was in the house of the king of Judah (in other words, he was in jail) when God gave him this word; and 2) it was part of the Jewish law that if someone became poor enough that they needed to sell their land then their closest living relative had an obligation to buy it from them (very simplified explanation of this complicated law) in order to keep the land in the family.
So, just to be clear, Jeremiah was in jail; the entire country was getting ready to fall to the hands of the King of Babylon; Hanamel (Jeremiah’s cousin) had become poor; and God told Jeremiah to buy his land from him.
I don’t know about you, but in the natural, this makes absolutely no sense. For us, this would be like buying a house in downtown Baghdad right after the United States declared war on Saddam Hussein. Crazy, right?
Not only did God tell Jeremiah it was going to happen, it actually did. And Jeremiah bought the field for seventeen shekels of silver. According to Jeremiah 32:14, Jeremiah had two copies of the deed, “…put in an earthenware jar, that they may last a long time.”
Why? It was a symbolic act meant to demonstrate the promise of God to His rebellious people that after their 70-year exile He would bring them home. According to 32:15, “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Houses and fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’”
Getting around to my point about living an abundant life in Christ…even in the crummiest circumstances we ALWAYS have hope. Even when our crummy circumstances are our own fault we can still have hope. At this point in the book of Jeremiah, jail (Jeremiah was imprisoned), poverty (Hanamel had to sell his land), and defeat (the Babylonian’s destroying Jerusalem) were not the end of the story. God is always the end of the story. God alone is the Author and Finisher of our faith.
Why? Because even though God includes us in the story and invites us to partner with Him in the story, IT’S NOT ABOUT US and the outcome does NOT depend on us. It all depends on God, His infinite Love, amazing grace, and His Sovereign plan. God is always the end of the story. God alone is the Author and Finisher of our faith, not our enemies and not even us.
Even though the Jews had completely rebelled against God here was His promise to them:
Jeremiah 32: 36 – 44 (ESV) – “Now therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, ‘It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword, by famine, and by pestilence’: Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. “For thus says the Lord: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them. Fields shall be bought in this land of which you are saying, ‘It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’ Fields shall be bought for money, and deeds shall be signed and sealed and witnessed, in the land of Benjamin, in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the Shephelah, and in the cities of the Negeb; for I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord.”
Notice how that entire passage is about what God is going to do. It’s about what only He can do. You know what our job is? Believe Him and trust Him to be Who He says He is and to do what He says He will do even when it doesn’t make sense to us. That’s it.
The gospel of John calls it abiding. Paul calls it reigning in life. I call it wonderful.
Stay tuned next time for: “Well, It’s a Little Bit About Us”