A Little Comforting Hug from God
Reading: Jeremiah 32-35
Sometimes God asks us to do the most humanly illogical things.
He asked that of Jeremiah on more than one occasion.
Jeremiah is known as the “weeping prophet.” He spent a lot of his time delivering messages of doom and gloom to God’s people. There was nothing left for them except punishment for the offenses they had committed against God. Israel had already been decimated and now it was Judah’s turn. Jerusalem was about to be invaded and destroyed by the Babylonians. The message was: Don’t resist. Resistance is futile. It sounds like the message from the undefeatable Borg set on assimilating the universe on the old Star Trek: The Next Generation series, doesn’t it?
Except this was no fantasy, no make-believe.
Everything would be leveled. Most everyone would go into captivity. They would lose everything.
Then God asked Jeremiah to buy a piece of land (32:6-12). Jeremiah did as he was told because the Lord also gave him this word of encouragement: “For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyard will again be bought in this land” (32:15, NIV). But, though he didn’t come out and ask the question directly, Jeremiah wondered about the divine request. He confessed the sovereignty of the Lord and then reminds God that the siege machines outside the city are already in place so what’s this about investing in a future in a land that was about to be destroyed?
Listen to how the Lord responds: “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (32:26, NIV). Then He reminds Jeremiah that He is fully aware of the sin His people have committed and the punishment that is about to come. But He is also fully aware that there is hope for the future. He will restore His people. He will change their hearts. “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. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul…As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them” (32:40-42, NIV).
That piece of land was going to flower once more.
What a comfort this message must have been to Jeremiah. It’s no fun delivering bad news all the time. It’s not nice to be the “bad guy.” Jeremiah suffered some unpleasant consequences because he was the bearer of news that people didn’t want to hear. At this point in the story he was being held prisoner.
Sometimes we really can’t see the light at the end of that proverbial tunnel. Whether God is disciplining us as He was in this case, or shaving off some rough edges that only difficulty can accomplish, we wonder what He’s up to, whether there will ever be an end.
And then He comes along and asks us to invest in the future because there WILL be one!
In Jeremiah 33:1-3, the Lord comes to Jeremiah again with another word of comfort: “While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time: ‘This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it–the Lord is his name: Call on me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you did not know.’”
Yes, the present seems bleak, but don’t focus on the dark. Ask me, says the Lord, and I’ll comfort you with a glimpse of the future. And it isn’t bad as all.
Just ask me.