October 2, 2019
Scripture Jeremiah 32:1-3, 6-15
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, in order that they may last for a long time. 15For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.
Jeremiah 32:14-15 NRSV
The prophet Jeremiah was delivering a message of hope and endurance to a vanquished people: They were being defeated in war, displaced to foreign lands far from their original homes. Of course, they were downcast and sad. But, the message from God is something of a revelation: Continue to live in hope. They will return and build houses, plant fields, harvest gardens, marry, and prosper. Jeremiah’s message meant that God had not forgotten the people of Judea. In fact, God had been there with them all throughout the ordeal.
As for Jeremiah, he had been thrown into prison because he spoke the truth, the Word of God, to the king of Judah, Zedekiah. Like all true prophets of God, Jeremiah could not keep himself from speaking God’s words, and it got him into a lot of trouble. Eventually, these actions for God cost him his life.
These particular verses of scripture tell us that in the middle of the prison in the palace, Jeremiah learns from God that he is going to get an offer to buy land in a village called Anatoth near Jerusalem. The sale of the land began with his uncle. In an act of courage, Jeremiah was going to demonstrate the judgement and will of God through a land purchase transaction in the middle of a war with powerful Babylon.
Of course, with Jerusalem under siege and about to fall, this makes no sense at all. It is pure foolishness. But, Jeremiah knows from God that the people of Judea will return to the very land that has been destroyed by war and from which they have been vanquished.
Because of this, Jeremiah has lived out and demonstrated a bold proclamation that there is a future for Judea and its people. The land that Jeremiah purchased is a legally durable action that will be enacted in a major way by Jeremiah for his estate and for those who would inherit his holdings. The field in Anatoth will be cultivated sometime in the foreseeable future. It will provide food and income for those who own it and work it. And, God was, is, and will be at the center of every step of it all.
God remains with us today- and every day. Thanks be to God, who knows our every fault and weakness, but remains with us through each and every decision we make.