“Then I said to Baruch as they all listened, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Take both this sealed deed and the unsealed copy, and put them into a pottery jar to preserve them for a long time.’ For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Someday people will again own property here in this land and will buy and sell houses and vineyards and fields.’” – Jeremiah 32:13-15.
Land purchases are risky ventures. Although land used to be an excellent long-term investment, the sharp drop in prices all over the U.S. and especially in Florida during the recession has changed all of that. Which brings us to a story of Jeremiah purchasing land found in Jeremiah 32:1-17. Although the risks are different today than in Jeremiah’s time, land purchases then were still radical financial investments. Based on the timing and the circumstances, Jeremiah’s land purchase looked like the selling of Florida swampland to gullible purchasers.
First, a little background. The army of Nebuchadnezzar had laid siege to Jerusalem. It was clear that Jerusalem would be destroyed and the Israelites would be taken as captives to Babylon. Jeremiah is in jail, in a city under siege, in a country fairly full of enemy troops. This is the context in which he decides to buy real estate which has already become enemy-occupied territory. This seems like a truly epic fail – an investment that has no chance of providing any returns. But Jeremiah heeded God’s instruction and bought what was to be the Promised Land in nearby Anathoth. From that jail cell, Jeremiah was exercising his faith more than exercising his need to be conservative or rational. He invested in the land because he believed God’s promise.
This act declared that there would be life after Babylon captivity, and that captivity hadn’t even begun for many of them. The deeds for the land are put “… into a pottery jar to preserve them for a long time.” (Jeremiah 32:14). Jeremiah’s action only makes sense if the future is more than just wishful thinking.
We, like Jerusalem and Jeremiah, sometimes find ourselves in situations where it is hard to see any hope. We may not be in jail or in exile or an outcast like Jeremiah, but we know what it is like to be in places where hope for the future is hard to see, let alone act upon. Maybe you’re worried about getting a job, or keeping your job, or making ends meet. Perhaps you are looking for a mate, but you just can’t seem to meet the right person. Maybe you are struggling through a divorce. Proverbs 23:18 reminds us that “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”
Our own personal experiences can make us feel helpless and hopeless, that whatever we would do in anticipation of the future makes no difference. But that is not true. Hope is for now, it is for today, and it is for tomorrow too. Jesus clearly says He will never leave us, never forsake us, and will never, ever reject us (John 6:37). This promise is for tomorrow morning, next week, and next year. This hope is the believer’s hope that covers their entire life. It is without end and will stay with us until Jesus comes for us. “Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.” (Psalms 131:3)
- Read Jeremiah 32: 1-17. What is your reaction?
- What gives you hope in the future?
- What can we do this week to think long-term and trust God as Jeremiah did?