See how the siege mounds have been built against the city walls, and the Babylonians shall conquer the city by sword, famine, and disease. Everything has happened just as you said—as you determined it should! And yet you say to buy the field—paying good money for it before these witnesses—even though the city will belong to our enemies. [Jeremiah 32:24-25 (TLB)]
Jerusalem was under siege and Jeremiah was in prison for prophesying its fall. Times were dire for the Jeremiah when God told him to buy some land in Anathoth that his cousin Hanamel wanted to sell. Hanamel’s real estate deal would be like me offering you property in Kabul, Afghanistan, or Baghdad, Iraq. Although real estate is often considered a good investment, purchasing property in an active war zone is probably not a wise decision. In fact, the land the prophet bought, about three miles from Jerusalem, was already under enemy control and its Babylonian conquerors weren’t likely to recognize his bill of sale or deed. Nevertheless, Jeremiah purchased the land and instructed his loyal scribe Baruch to take the deed and preserve it in a safe place, assuring him that someday the worthless land would again have value. It’s not like Jeremiah would still be alive when that happened so he had no long term investment strategy. He simply purchased the land because God wanted him to do so.
Although Jeremiah had prophesied the fall of Judah, the destruction of Jerusalem, Zedekiah’s imprisonment, and the Jews’ captivity in Babylon, he’d also prophesied that the people would one day be restored to their land. In a way, he was simply putting his money where his mouth was; its purchase demonstrated that he believed God’s promise that the land would again have value and belong to the Jews. Jeremiah’s purchase of a worthless piece of acreage was simply an act of faith. It was a sign of hope for the future by the man who’d prophesied doom and gloom. It was proof of his belief that God would keep his promise to redeem his people.
If we want God to fulfill His promises to us, like Jeremiah, we must be obedient to God’s commands, no matter how difficult or confusing they seem to be. In the face of obstacles, hardship or overwhelming odds, we must demonstrate our faith and hope in God. Prayer and obedience go hand in hand. If we say we believe His promises, we must act as if we truly do believe them. We may not be instructed to buy a field in a war zone, but God does expect us to step out in faith and take a stake in the future.
Then this message came to Jeremiah: I am the Lord, the God of all mankind; is there anything too hard for me?… Just as I have sent all these terrors and evils upon them, so will I do all the good I have promised them. Fields will again be bought and sold in this land now ravaged by the Babylonians, where men and animals alike have disappeared. [Jeremiah 32:26-27,42-43 (TLB)]
For the time is coming when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, and I will bring them home to this land that I gave to their fathers; they shall possess it and live here again. … There is hope for your future, says the Lord, and your children will come again to their own land. [Jeremiah 30:3;31: 17 (TLB)]
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