the future in a jar
Jeremiah 32:1-15 (JDV)
Jeremiah 32:1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from Yahveh in the tenth year of King Zedekiah of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.
Jeremiah 32:2 At that time, the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was imprisoned in the guard’s courtyard in the palace of the king of Judah.
Jeremiah 32:3 King Zedekiah of Judah had imprisoned him, saying, “Why are you prophesying as you do? You say, ‘This is what Yahveh says: Look, I am about to hand this city over to Babylon’s king, and he will capture it.
Jeremiah 32:4 King Zedekiah of Judah will not escape from the Chaldeans; indeed, he will certainly be handed over to Babylon’s king. They will speak face to face and meet eye to eye.
Jeremiah 32:5 He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, where he will stay until I attend to him – this is what Yahveh declares. For you will fight the Chaldeans, but you will not succeed.'”
Jeremiah 32:6 Jeremiah replied, “The word of Yahveh came to me:
Jeremiah 32:7 Watch! Hanamel, the son of your uncle Shallum, is coming to you to say, ‘Buy my field in Anathoth for yourself, because you own the right of redemption to buy it.’
Jeremiah 32:8 “Then, as Yahveh had said, my cousin Hanamel came to the courtyard and urged me, ‘Please buy my field in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, because you own the right of inheritance and redemption. Buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of Yahveh.
Jeremiah 32:9 So I bought the field in Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, and I weighed out the silver to him – seventeen shekels of silver.
Jeremiah 32:10 I recorded it on a scroll, sealed it, called in witnesses, and weighed out the silver on the scales.
Jeremiah 32:11 I took the purchase agreement – the sealed copy with its terms and conditions and the open copy – Jeremiah 32:12 and gave the purchase document to Baruch son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah. I did this in the sight of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the purchase document, and all the Judeans sitting in the guard’s courtyard.
Jeremiah 32:13 “I charged Baruch in their sight,
Jeremiah 32:14 ‘This is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Take these scrolls – this purchase document with the sealed copy and this open copy – and put them in an earthen storage jar so they will last many days.
Jeremiah 32:15 You see, this is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’
the future in a jar
I believed that God called me to ministry, but my first pastorate could only be categorized as a disaster. For a time, I had to get out of the ministry to retool and wait on God’s timing.
If Jeremiah ever doubted that God would make good his promise to restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, all he had to do was look at the jar containing the deeds to the land he purchased. It was a visible symbol of the goodness and faithfulness of God in the time of his wrath. Bad things will happen in this life, and sometimes the LORD will not stop them, because he is the one who caused them for his own purposes. During those times, we need to remember our future, a bright future in which the LORD will restore the fortunes of his people.
In the midst of destruction and despair, the LORD calls on his people to believe in a future of restoration, peace, joy, prosperity, healing, forgiveness, cleansing, and righteousness. That takes faith: to look at loss and apparent rejection and still trust the very God who has allowed the loss.
God is sovereign. He is free to act in judgment even though his ultimate desire is our freedom and healing. He wants us to know peace permanently, but he might have to bring pain and anxiety in order to purify us right now.
We need the faith to trust in God’s promises, even as we see examples of his judgment all around us.
(This devotional was first published June 23, 2020 in Maranatha Advent Christian Devotional).