Jeremiah’s Land Purchase
Open Your Bible
Jeremiah 32:1-44, Psalm 62:11-12, 1 Peter 1:17-19
Confession: often, when I read the Bible, I’m less interested in what’s happening in the passage and more focused on what’s in it for me: What does this passage mean for me today? How can it help, comfort, console, or advise me right now? But rather than trying to turn it into a self-help book that is tailor-made to fix all of my own personal problems, I need to remember that the book of Jeremiah is a prophetic book written to a specific people at a specific point in history, though it also gives us a glimpse of the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31–34).
In Jeremiah 32, something strange happens. Jeremiah dreams that someone will come and offer him the chance to purchase a field. Sure enough, his cousin comes to him and offers him the chance to buy a piece of land. However, the timing of this land purchase is odd; while the entire nation of Israel is in exile, away from the promised land, Jeremiah is reinvesting in it, doubling down on God’s promise. In essence, Jeremiah’s actions are saying that even though God’s people are in exile, He still has plans for the land and for His people. Jeremiah’s purchase is designed to demonstrate his faith in God’s promised restoration, and in purchasing the land, he participates in that restoration.
Jeremiah’s prayer is simultaneously one of great faith and confusion. At the end of his prayer of praise, Jeremiah rehashes all of the disaster that has come upon Judah. Their city is under siege, sword, famine, and plague, and yet God has asked the prophet to do this seemingly ridiculous thing: to buy a piece of land in the middle of a war zone. But God keeps His promises, something Jeremiah knew well. So while he was perplexed by God’s request, he continued to act on God’s orders anyway.
Though I should resist trying to translate this story directly to my own life, I cannot help but be amazed by Jeremiah’s willingness to follow the Lord in everything. He did not wait to completely understand God’s calling, to understand why, in order to obey Him. Obedience is hard, and the truth is, we need God to help us obey Him.
Lord, Your thoughts and ways are better than our own. Help us to trust you and strengthen us to obey You, even when we do not understand what You are doing.