JUST DO AS YOU ARE TOLD
Holy Spirit, speak to me in fresh ways and make me attentive to your guidance—however it comes.
Read JEREMIAH 32:1-15
Jeremiah Buys a Field
32 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. 2 The army of the king of Babylon was then besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was confined in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace of Judah.
3 Now Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him there, saying, “Why do you prophesy as you do? You say, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will capture it. 4 Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape the Babylonians[a] but will certainly be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and will speak with him face to face and see him with his own eyes. 5 He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, where he will remain until I deal with him, declares the Lord. If you fight against the Babylonians, you will not succeed.’”
6 Jeremiah said, “The word of the Lord came to me: 7 Hanamel son of Shallum your uncle is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth, because as nearest relative it is your right and duty to buy it.’
8 “Then, just as the Lord had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard and said, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. Since it is your right to redeem it and possess it, buy it for yourself.’
“I knew that this was the word of the Lord; 9 so I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel and weighed out for him seventeen shekels[b] of silver. 10 I signed and sealed the deed, had it witnessed, and weighed out the silver on the scales. 11 I took the deed of purchase—the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, as well as the unsealed copy— 12 and I gave this deed to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and of the witnesses who had signed the deed and of all the Jews sitting in the courtyard of the guard.
13 “In their presence I gave Baruch these instructions: 14 ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Take these documents, both the sealed and unsealed copies of the deed of purchase, and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time. 15 For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you experienced situations where God’s direction or activity made no sense at the time, but later his wise plan was made clear?
We find ourselves now in the dark, final days for Judah, with Jerusalem surrounded and Jeremiah a prisoner in the besieged city. King Zedekiah refuses to change his mind. Even at the very end, the last king will not hear God’s word, preferring to lock up the true prophet. With Babylonian arrows flying and Israelite families starving, it seems an odd moment at which to focus on the details of an apparently pointless land purchase. However, God did sometimes inspire his prophets to perform symbolic enactments of his purposes in addition to spoken and written words. Remember the potter’s flask (chapter 19) and the yoke bars (chapter 27). For Jeremiah, it was enough to know that ‘ … this was the word of the Lord,’ (v 8), and he did exactly as instructed.
It was the ancient custom to store important documents in clay jars. The famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered well preserved after they had been stored in this way for 2,000 years. The point is clear. The deed of purchase given to Baruch is intended as a permanent record (vs 12-15). To the desperate survivors in the city, this might have seemed a meaningless document. To those still trusting in God’s word and his deeds, this purchase of land is an act of faith: God’s covenant with his people is forever.
Is there somewhere in your life God is calling you to trust him for the outcome?
Gracious God, I lift up to you those who are in refugee camps, who might feel no hope for the future today. With the loss, danger, and uncertainty that engulfs them, may they find reason to put their trust in you and find you faithful.
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