The world as the Israelites knew it is ending. With an enemy army moving in on Jerusalem, it is clear that Judah is lost to this foreign, conquering power. Their families, livelihoods, and way of life will all be destroyed as Babylon takes them captive far away from Jerusalem.
We might feel some of this same sense of things falling apart as the world has been reshaped in recent years by pandemic, racial injustice, and economic loss. Entire social structures of work, church, school, and commerce have been wiped away in a matter of weeks. We know something of Jeremiah’s time.
Into this disintegration and disorientation, the Lord speaks a word of hope. In fact, the Lord tells Jeremiah to do something that seems crazy: Go buy property. Go buy this land that is soon to belong to a foreign power, this land the Israelites are soon to be exiled from, this land on which they will no longer live! It seems ridiculous to invest in land they are leaving behind; yet the Lord says, go buy a field on this land.
The fall of Jerusalem is not the end of the story; it is only one chapter. God insists here that Jeremiah stake a claim for the future. Jeremiah’s purchase of this field commits him to the future, an expectation that they will return to this promised land, trusting that captivity in Babylon is not the final word. God promises that “houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.”
What in your life right now feels like the end of the story but perhaps is not? What concrete step is God inviting you to take toward the future? How might your expectations stay open for God to do a new thing?
O God, remind us that this is not the end of the story, that you are calling us into your abundant life. Amen.
While Jeremiah is in prison, God tells him to buy a field. This transaction shows that in the future, life will return to normal. It is an “enactment prophecy,” where a prophecy is given through actions instead of just words. The psalmist rejoices in the protection that God provides to the faithful. God is a fortress, a covering, and a shield. Paul admonishes his readers not to fall into materialism. The love of money, not money itself, is the root of all kinds of evil, and those obsessed with it build their hopes on shifting sands. Jesus tells a parable about a rich man who has fallen into that very trap. Only after death, when it is too late, does he realize his mistake.
Read Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15. How do you live as if God’s promises were already true?
Read Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16. How do you turn toward God with hope in times of darkness?
Read 1 Timothy 6:6-19. Whether you have few or many possessions, how do they get in the way of your following Jesus?
Read Luke 16:19-31. God knows each of us by name. Do you know the names of the persons in your community who have obvious or internal unmet needs?
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