Buy the Land
For the past while my morning Bible reading has led me through the book of Jeremiah. I really love the rich stories and the drama of the Old Testament. I also really love how much there is to mine in the passages that provide profound truths that have application today.
In Jeremiah 32:6-17 (go ahead and read it right now. I’ll wait for you! It’s too long to include in this blog post), the land and the people of Judah are in turmoil. The Babylonians were besieging Jerusalem and Jeremiah himself was a prisoner in the courtyard of the royal palace. It seemed as though it were only a matter of time before Jerusalem would fall and all the people who did not die in the long siege would be taken away into captivity.
But in the midst of this chaos, God tells Jeremiah to buy a piece of land that his cousin is selling. Just to confirm that this strange idea was in fact of God, the cousin comes along offering to sell and using the same words God used in the first place. So there we have Jeremiah, living in a sort of house arrest, in a city under siege by the fierce and greatly feared Babylonians–and what does he do? He buys the land.
And in the presence of many witnesses, he signs, seals and stores the deed in an earthenware jar so that it will remain intact and preserved for a long time. Now the witnesses must have been watching this with their mouths hanging agape, wondering if Jeremiah had lost his senses. He had done some unusual things in the past of course–like when he walked about with an ox yoke around his neck to bring home the message that submission to Babylon was what God required. Or when he bought a pottery jar and then in the presence of all the leaders–smashed it at the garbage dump to demonstrate God’s intention to shatter the people because of their refusal to obey.
But by obeying God and buying that land, Jeremiah was demonstrating his obedience to God and his trust in God’s sovereignty. Jeremiah trusted that God would restore the people of Judah to their land and that once again they would live and marry and raise families and buy and sell land in their country.
This kind of trust is not easy. Jeremiah paid in valuable silver, during a siege, for land that was almost in the hands of the enemy. He trusted God when it made no sense.
These are the hardest times to trust God. When all the signs around you point to another answer, another solution, another way. When you ask God, “are You sure about this?”.
When Moses is told to take Isaak up to Mt. Moriah and lay him down before God on an alter. Not easy to trust.
When David is anointed as king even while Saul still reigned and actively pursued him with the intent to kill him. Not easy to trust.
When you get the call with the diagnosis you have dreaded, or when your child is in trouble, or when in spite of your best efforts, your family is falling apart. It is not easy to trust.
But this passage from Jeremiah contains a mighty promise for us as people of God
When we are living on this earth–we need to buy the land. We need to live and raise families, lay down traditions and roots. And we need to trust God that what we see is not all there is. Like Jeremiah, we need to trust that God knows more than we do and He is with us through it all.
As I lay in bed last night this passage came to me once again. I realized that what God asks Jeremiah to do here, God himself has already done in you and I. He paid with the blood of Jesus for our lives even while we were already in captivity. Jesus saw us in chains, captive, oppressed and he bought the land. He ransomed you and I to set us free.
Thanks be to God!