The prophet Jeremiah receives a promise—a word from the Lord—which seems poorly timed. A war rages, and Jeremiah is in jail. Those looking at the situation from the outside would find God’s promised future for Jeremiah and the Israelites hard to believe. God’s promise of a new covenant with the people (31:31) and of redemption and deliverance (32:15) appear far from current reality. Yet, God tells Jeremiah to act on the promise.
The Israelites have put their trust in the power of Egypt to save them from the Babylonians. Jeremiah’s warnings to King Zedekiah have gone unheeded, and Jeremiah finds himself under “house arrest” for his prophesying. If you were in Jeremiah’s situation, what would be at the forefront of your mind? I cannot imagine that buying property in a city under siege would be a priority for many of us when battles rage around us and we are held captive in the walls of our lives. Worry about survival would probably occupy all our time. But the prophet Jeremiah acts (with God’s prompting) on God’s promise of redemption and restoration.
In believing a promise from God, we accept responsibility to act. Acting on promise, when we cannot see promise’s fulfillment, is the responsibility that comes with the privilege of being an heir to promise. When life is hard, and we cannot see our way forward, we continue to remember and act on God’s promised redemption and deliverance in our lives. Jeremiah bought land in his doomed hometown because he listened and acted on the word of the Lord. What has God promised you? What keeps you from acting on the promise?
Lord, when it is hard to see that you will keep your promises to us, give us “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow” so that we may act on what you’ve said and see your promises fulfilled. Amen.
The Bible warns about the delusions that wealth brings, repeatedly directing readers’ attention to the poor and the destitute. Luke’s Gospel text culminates in Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus. Only in the next life, when the rich man is rid of his riches, can he see Lazarus, now secure at Abra- ham’s side. First Timothy contains a series of warnings to pros- perous readers that having the basic necessities of life should be enough. Greed diverts attention away from the God “who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” And against the best wisdom of all the nancial planners of Judah, Jeremiah purchases the eld at Anathoth. The prophet invests his money in the divine promise, in the outlandish conviction that God is faithful.
• Read Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15. Where do you see God’s prom- ises in your life? How do you act on them? What keeps you from acting on them?
• Read Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16. In what setting do you experience a sense of God’s shelter?
• Read 1 Timothy 6:6-19. With what do you nd yourself content?
• Read Luke 16:19-31. How do you maintain an ability to see those in need? How do you address those needs?
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