Jeremiah 32: Trust In The Lord In Times Of Trouble. By Kevin E. Jesmer 3-12-18

Trust In The Lord In Times Of Trouble

Jeremiah 32:1-44                                          Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 32:8                                          3-12-18

““Then, just as the Lord had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard and said, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. Since it is your right to redeem it and possess it, buy it for yourself.’ ‘I knew that this was the word of the Lord;’” (8)

Dear Lord Heavenly Father. I long for your word and your truth. Please help me to understand this passage and find inner, personal direction through this passage. Grow me spiritiually. I pray in Jesus name. Amen!

  1. Living With God’s Hope In Our Heart (1-15)

Verses 1-15,

“This is 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 The army of the king of Babylon was then besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was confined in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace of Judah.

3 Now Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him there, saying, “Why do you prophesy as you do? You say, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will capture it. 4 Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape the Babylonians but will certainly be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and will speak with him face to face and see him with his own eyes. 5 He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, where he will remain until I deal with him, declares the Lord. If you fight against the Babylonians, you will not succeed.’”

6 Jeremiah said, “The word of the Lord came to me: 7 Hanamel son of Shallum your uncle is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth, because as nearest relative it is your right and duty to buy it.’

8 “Then, just as the Lord had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard and said, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. Since it is your right to redeem it and possess it, buy it for yourself.’

“I knew that this was the word of the Lord; 9 so I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel and weighed out for him seventeen shekels of silver. 10 I signed and sealed the deed, had it witnessed, and weighed out the silver on the scales. 11 I took the deed of purchase—the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, as well as the unsealed copy— 12 and I gave this deed to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and of the witnesses who had signed the deed and of all the Jews sitting in the courtyard of the guard.

13 “In their presence I gave Baruch these instructions: 14 ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Take these documents, both the sealed and unsealed copies of the deed of purchase, and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time. 15 For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’

Jerusalem was under siege. Jeremiah had prophesied that the Lord would hand the city over to the Babylonians and send King Zedekiah into exile. He had warned the people not to fight. But, strangely, God told Jeremiah to buy a field and have the transaction properly witnessed.

The city of Jerusalem was in the throws of a siege. They were going to fall. There was no one to come and deliver them from the Babylonians.  Humanly speaking, it makes no sense to be buying land at that time. All of the contracts and land claims that were made among the Jews would be null and void when the Babylonians are in charge.

But the purchase of the land and making contracts shows the faith that Jeremiah had that eventually things would return to normal. It would not return to normal soon. No. Jeremiah was told to put the signed contract in a clay container so that it would be preserved for a long time. (That is a good way to preserve documents. The dead sea scrolls have been preserved for thousands of years in a cave, in clay pots).  The contract needed to be preserved for at least seventy years, for that was when the exiles would return to Judah at the end of their time of exile.

The whole signing of the contracts shows the certainty of God’s promise that he would bring his people back. They would surely be brought back by his power and outstretched arm. When God promised something, it will happen. We can trust God.

Jeremiah continued to preach that the king of Judah should surrender the Babylonians and submit and trust God and God’s word through this servant. Everything was coming to pass, for years, just as Jeremiah had spoken. Even this siege was foretold.  The royal house of Judah ad the official continually turned a blind eye to the truth. They held onto to nationalism and their false notion that God would never allow his temple to be sacked by Gentiles armies. But they were wrong. Everything was working out according to the plan of the Sovereign Lord.

They just resisted and resisted. They were stuck on their fixed ideas. It was like they were blinded. Maybe they were blinded by God. It was God’s decision that judgement would come upon his people. It was the only course left for them for they were unrepentant for hundreds of years, so much so that the religious and political leaders were all lost in the darkness of their sin.

I learned here that I need to always hope in God. To Jeremiah and the people of Jerusalem it must have seemed like the darkest time ever! But it always darkest before the dawn. Even though their situation may seem dark and dire and seem utterly hopeless, this is never true. As long as there is God and as long as you are alive, there is hope. God will come through in his time and in his way. Does that mean that you will not experience suffering as you wait? No. You may suffer if is part of the plan. As a matter of fact, there is always suffering in this world. Jeremiah was suffering a lot while in the courtyard Jesus himself suffered a lot as he lived on earth as our Savior. But there is hope that God will deliver us. That deliverance may be in this life. There could be joy and peace in the midst of the suffering. Deliverance may be beyond this life, to eternal life beyond the river. But we can trust God. I pray for grace and strength from God to bear up under any suffering and live with his hope and his kingdom in my heart.

  1. Prayer Is Not Just Making Requests (16-25)

Verses 16-25, “After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord:

17 “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. 18 You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the parents’ sins into the laps of their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, 19 great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve. 20 You performed signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours. 21 You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror. 22 You gave them this land you had sworn to give their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey. 23 They came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey you or follow your law; they did not do what you commanded them to do. So you brought all this disaster on them.

24 “See how the siege ramps are built up to take the city. Because of the sword, famine and plague, the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians who are attacking it. What you said has happened, as you now see. 25 And though the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians, you, Sovereign Lord, say to me, ‘Buy the field with silver and have the transaction witnessed.’”

Jeremiah bought the land. But he couldn’t understand why. (25) He prayed, confessing his faith in God’s almighty power and unchanging love and his trust in the ways of the Lord. What was he praying for? In this prayer there is no request. He is simply talking with God and trying to reveal God’s character and upholding God to the best of his ability. He is also confessing the sins of his people. It is interesting that he is not blaming God for what is happening. He is saying that it is for the sins of his people and the sins of his ancestors. He is also confessing that he doesn’t fully understand why God asked him to buy the land, but he did it, in trust and obedience.

Prayer is not always asking God for something. Prayer can be simply coming before God in the way that Jeremiah is doing. Prayer can be a pouring out of our hearts to God. It can be opening up to God. I need to learn this. I end up making many requests to God and if there are no requests then I do not pray. How wrong this idea is.

The Gospel has given us this privilege to pray like this. When Jesus died the curtain of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The Most Holy Place was only accessible to the High Priest that year. He would enter there and offer up sacrifices and pray for the people. But since Jesus came, and his Gospel has been put into effect, all believers can come before the throne of God to pray to God. “Lord, help me to come to you in prayer and communicate with you in ways that are not just making requests.

After Jeremiah prayed, would the imminent Babylonian conquest be averted? No. God had his purposes and those purposes for the conquering and the exile must come to fruition. But buying the land planted hope in people’s hearts, for it meant that someday property in this city under siege would again be worth owning.

  1. God’s Redemptive Love Even When We Suffer (26-44)

Verses 26-44, “ Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 27 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? 28 Therefore this is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who will capture it. 29 The Babylonians who are attacking this city will come in and set it on fire; they will burn it down, along with the houses where the people aroused my anger by burning incense on the roofs to Baal and by pouring out drink offerings to other gods.

30 “The people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth; indeed, the people of Israel have done nothing but arouse my anger with what their hands have made, declares the Lord. 31 From the day it was built until now, this city has so aroused my anger and wrath that I must remove it from my sight. 32 The people of Israel and Judah have provoked me by all the evil they have done—they, their kings and officials, their priests and prophets, the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem. 33 They turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline. 34 They set up their vile images in the house that bears my Name and defiled it. 35 They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molek, though I never commanded—nor did it enter my mind—that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.

36 “You are saying about this city, ‘By the sword, famine and plague it will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon’; but this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 37 I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. 38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. 41 I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.

42 “This is what the Lord says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them. 43 Once more fields will be bought in this land of which you say, ‘It is a desolate waste, without people or animals, for it has been given into the hands of the Babylonians.’ 44 Fields will be bought for silver, and deeds will be signed, sealed and witnessed in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, because I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord.”

God would carry out his judgment on Jerusalem. Things had gone that far. It had gone on for centuries. They were without hope in their present situation. God was administering the cure, though it was a very painful one.

But there is redemptive theme in this passage. Through God’s discipline, his people would learn to fear and love God with singleness of heart and action. He would gather them. He would forgive them bring them back to the land to live in safety. They would be one. They would be part of an everlasting covenant and that would be of God’s doing and not theirs. Praise God for that. God would do good to them and keep them close to him. They would prosper. These are all good things…no great things! They are because of God’s wonderful grace.

Jesus accomplishes for us, through the Gospel, many of the components of this promise that God was giving to his people. What God promises here is exactly what we need. It is not a promise of a lot of money and a healthy, pain free life with many perks. No. There are spiritual blessings that are worth much more than anything that this world can offer.

Life in Christ is a life living in God’s grace and love and blessing. But it is not devoid of pain, as the people in Jeremiah’s time suffered. The only time that we can experience God’s grace and experience some suffering is when we enter into the kingdom of God. Jesus promises to take his people there. But he also promises to be with us, while we live out our lives on earth.

Prayer: Lord, there are times when I wonder what is happening in my life and in this world? It doesn’t make sense sometimes. But I trust you and your redemptive love. I am holding onto your wonderful promises. I know you are a loving God leading us to according to your redemptive purpose. I taste your redemption even now. Thank you, Lord.

One Word: Trusting In God in times of trouble.

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