Jeremiah's Folly

They call him “the weeping prophet.” Jeremiah’s message of doom and gloom about the impending destruction of Jerusalem and the enslavement of her people didn’t win him any friends. In fact, the authorities of his day did their best to get rid of him or at least dull the impact of his message by belittling him. It was a tactic similar to today’s popular message to church leaders to get rid of anyone who dares to raise a dissenting voice—no one is supposed to ask if the dissent is actually a message from God!

Jeremiah’s task was not an easy one—being negative was no more appreciated then than it is now. But the Lord had commissioned the prophet to speak: “Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:9, 10).

Hey, there is actually a positive in there!

Yes, indeed there is. Much to everyone’s surprise—perhaps even to Jeremiah’s—there was a positive. Just before Judah was overrun, Jeremiah was given instructions by the Lord to do something that no one in their right mind would do in the face of the imminent reality of total destruction. Those who believed what Jeremiah had prophesied were cutting their losses and selling out.  But God told Jeremiah to buy a field in the land about to be subjected to “slash and burn.” Jeremiah obeyed. “I knew that this was the word of the Lord; so I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel and weighed out for him seventeen shekels of silver on the scales. I took the deed of purchase—the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, as well as the unsealed copy—and I gave this deed to Baruch, don 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. In their presence I gave Baruch these instructions: ‘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. For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bough in this land’” (Jeremiah 32:8-15).

This was one clay jar that wasn’t going to be reduced to dust when the Babylonians swept in. It contained not only a deed for a strip of land, but a promise from God that He would restore to the land the people He was about to remove from it. Jeremiah’s purchase might have been considered “Jeremiah’s folly” by some, but Jeremiah’s prayer following the signing of the deed reveals the faith that drove the act of obedience in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you…” (Jeremiah 32:17) to which the Lord responded, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:26, 27).

It is so easy for us to be overwhelmed by the impossibilities in our lives, forgetting that our God is the God of the impossible. It doesn’t matter whether those impossibilities are big or little, we too often see them instead of the One who is able to overcome them.

Someone posted this statement by Susie Larson on FACEBOOK the other day. It sums up nicely what needs to be our prayer in the face of the impossibilities.

May the Lord dig up the stones of pain, regret, and angst from your soil and deliver you once and for all. May He turn over the  soil of your heart and plant new seeds of faith, vision, and purpose specific to your life's calling. May He heal those deep places that nag you. May He strengthen those weak places that leave you feeling vulnerable. And may He overwhelm you with a fresh revelation of His love so you can believe that NOTHING is impossible with God on your side! Trust that God is up to something good.

Whatever the challenges of life may be, whatever the sin, whatever the devastation, the God of the impossible makes everything possible. He is ready, willing, and able to overcome, to forgive, and to restore. That promise holds us up when the world wants to push us down.

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