We have seen a lot about the attitudes and mindsets of the people Jeremiah was called to minister to. We have also seen a lot about the mindset and attitude of Jeremiah. We have seen him ride an emotional and spiritual roller-coaster during his ministry. We have seen attempts on his life and physical abuse. Tonight what we see is a prophet who is simply confused.
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. 2 At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah. 3 For Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him, saying, “Why do you prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall capture it; 4 Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him face to face and see him eye to eye. 5 And he shall take Zedekiah to Babylon, and there he shall remain until I visit him, declares the Lord. Though you fight against the Chaldeans, you shall not succeed’?”
So Jeremiah is being held a prisoner by King Zedekiah, even while the city of Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonian army
Zedekiah imprisoned Jeremiah because he did not like the message Jeremiah was preaching
He did not believe that God would allow Jerusalem to fall to the Babylonians
Jeremiah responded by saying the Lord told him that He would give the city to the king of Babylon
Furthermore, Zedekiah would not escape the siege, rather will be taken to Babylon
Though Zedekiah and his army is committed to holding out and fighting Babylon, they will not succeed
There is no doubt in Jeremiah’s mind that what he is saying is the absolute truth, and that God will make good on those promises
Then God tells Jeremiah something else that cause him some confusion
6 Jeremiah said, “The word of the Lord came to me: 7 Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you and say, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.’ 8 Then Hanamel my cousin came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the Lord, and said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.
God tells Jeremiah that his uncle and cousin will come to him and ask him to buy family land in Anathoth, even though Judah has been conquered and Anathoth has already fallen to the Babylonians.
He knows that this is the word of the Lord because God told him it would happen, and it did.
So in verses 9-15, Jeremiah’s land purchase is documented.
He pays for the land, he signs the deed.
The deed is officially recorded.
Now Jeremiah is the proud owner of useless land that is occupied by a foreign power.
He is confused and Jeremiah prays for understanding.
16 “After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord, saying: 17 ‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. 18 You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts, 19 great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds. 20 You have shown signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and to this day in Israel and among all mankind, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day. 21 You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and outstretched arm, and with great terror. 22 And you gave them this land, which you swore to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey. 23 And they entered and took possession of it. But they did not obey your voice or walk in your law. They did nothing of all you commanded them to do. Therefore you have made all this disaster come upon them. 24 Behold, the siege mounds have come up to the city to take it, and because of sword and famine and pestilence the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans who are fighting against it. What you spoke has come to pass, and behold, you see it. 25 Yet you, O Lord God, have said to me, “Buy the field for money and get witnesses”—though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.’ ”
Jeremiah’s prayer begins with an acknowledgement and affirmation of God’s sovereign power.
He is the creator of all things.
There is nothing He cannot do because He is all-knowing and all-powerful.
He affirms the sins of the people, and the justice of God’s punishment for those sins.
At the same time, Jeremiah also affirms the steadfast love God has for people.
Jeremiah also reviews the history of how God established the Jewish people,
How he miraculously delivered them from Egypt and established them in the land of Israel.
He reviews how the people took advantage of God’s blessing, and eventually turned on Him.
Now the judgment God promised has come to pass.
The Babylonians have taken the majority of Judah, and now have Jerusalem surrounded.
It is only a matter of time before the conquest is complete, and the city falls.
Yet in the midst of all that, you want me to invest in real estate.
28 Therefore, thus says the Lord: Behold, I am giving this city into the hands of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall capture it. 29 The Chaldeans who are fighting against this city shall come and set this city on fire and burn it, with the houses on whose roofs offerings have been made to Baal and drink offerings have been poured out to other gods, to provoke me to anger. 30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth. The children of Israel have done nothing but provoke me to anger by the work of their hands, declares the Lord. 31 This city has aroused my anger and wrath, from the day it was built to this day, so that I will remove it from my sight 32 because of all the evil of the children of Israel and the children of Judah that they did to provoke me to anger—their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 33 They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to receive instruction. 34 They set up their abominations in the house that is called by my name, to defile it. 35 They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.
God responds to Jeremiah’s prayer.
First He affirms that the Babylonians will in fact take the city and complete the conquest of the southern kingdom of Judah.
When they do, they are going to completely destroy the city.
This is going to happen because the people of Judah brought God to the point where He was left with no other option.
In spite of all God did for them.
In spite of the love and long-suffering He has shown them,
they turned their back on Him.
Then God tells Jeremiah the reason He wants Jeremiah to buy the land now.
36 “Now therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, ‘It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword, by famine, and by pestilence’: 37 Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. 41 I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. 42 “For thus says the Lord: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them. 43 Fields shall be bought in this land of which you are saying, ‘It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’ 44 Fields shall be bought for money, and deeds shall be signed and sealed and witnessed, in the land of Benjamin, in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the Shephelah, and in the cities of the Negeb; for I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord.”
Even though God’s judgment is final, He will redeem His people.
He will bring them back from the countries they will be dispersed to.
He will bring them back into the land.
God is not done with them.
They will be His people, and He will be their God.
This punishment serves as a lesson for the people of Judah.
This was necessary in order to bring them back to Himself, so they can benefit from being His people.
Jeremiah’s purchase of the land serves as an example to all who will hear him.
God is not through with us.
Even though circumstances may be bad.
Even though the future may look bleak.
Even though we may not be able to envision a future for ourselves, look at Jeremiah.
He is fleshing out his faith in God’s promise that if we will have faith in Him, we will eventually be delivered from any difficulties we may face.
That faith is demonstrated by what we do.
The test of our faith is not what we face in this life.
The test of our faith is not the disease, hardship, losses, or other difficulties we may have in this world.
The test of our faith is how we respond to and what we do in the midst of facing those problems.