The Book of JEREMIAH
James J. Barker
JEREMIAH'S FAITH IN GOD'S PROMISES
- One of my favorite Scriptures is repeated twice here in Jeremiah chapter 32 -- "Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee" (32:17).
- "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?" (32:27).
- In Genesis 18, the LORD told Abraham that He was going to give him and Sarah a son. Sarah laughed and said, "Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?"
- The LORD answered her by saying, "Is any thing too hard for the LORD?"
- Then later on, in Luke chapter 1 the angel Gabriel visited Mary and told her that her cousin Elisabeth had conceived a son in her old age.
- In Luke 1:37, the angel Gabriel said, "For with God nothing shall be impossible."
- In Matthew 19:26, our Lord said, "With God all things are possible."
- These promises were given to encourage us and to strengthen our faith. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
- But Zedekiah, the king of Judah, was faithless. Jeremiah's fervent appeals had little effect on him. Rather than listen to Jeremiah's instructions (which came directly from the LORD), King Zedekiah was determined to silence him and put him in prison (32:1-5).
- H.A. Ironside said the prophet Jeremiah's preaching "was a most unwelcome message for the self-willed king. Having no thought to humble himself, he concluded to silence the seer rather than bow to his message. It has been the common resource of men in all ages, who being set upon their own ways are angered when coming judgment is proclaimed" (Jeremiah and Lamentations).
JEREMIAH'S FAITH WAS TESTED (32:6-15).
- The book of Jeremiah is not in strict chronological order. Chapter 37 gives us the details surrounding Jeremiah's arrest and imprisonment.
- The great theme in Jeremiah 30 and 31 is the restoration of Judah and Israel. Jeremiah's imprisonment and his purchase of his cousin's field is placed here in chapter 32 to demonstrate Jeremiah's faith in God's promises to restore Israel and Judah.
- While Jeremiah was shut up in prison, the LORD informed him that his uncle's son (his cousin Hanameel) was going to visit him, asking him to buy his field in Anathoth (32:7, 8). Anathoth was Jeremiah's hometown (1:1).
- Since Jeremiah was a relative, he had the right of redemption (Lev. 25:24-26).
- We see an example of this in the book of Ruth, chapter 4.
- When Hanameel came to Jeremiah with his request, Jeremiah "knew that this was the word of the LORD" (Jer. 32:8b). The LORD did this to encourage Jeremiah and to strengthen his faith.
- Assured that it was from the Lord, the prophet bought the property in question, paying seventeen shekels of silver for it (32:9).
- The deed was properly recorded, sealed, and attested by witnesses, in accordance with the laws and customs of that time (32:10, 11). The title-deeds were apparently contained in two rolls -- one was open and the other sealed (32:11). The deeds were then put into an earthen vessel (32:14).
- One of the witnesses of the purchase was Baruch, Jeremiah's good friend as well as his secretary (32:12-16; cf. 36:4).
- Anathoth was at that time under the control of Babylon. By telling Jeremiah to purchase the property from his cousin, the LORD was testing Jeremiah's faith.
- From a human standpoint, purchasing this land was a foolish thing to do -- the field was in the hands of the Babylonians, Jeremiah was in prison, and Judah's future looked bleak.
- But the LORD had told Jeremiah that the land would be restored again to Judah so Jeremiah agreed to it (32:15).
JEREMIAH'S FAITH WAS EXPESSED IN PRAYER (32:16-25).
- Jeremiah, like the other prophets, was a great man of prayer and we can learn much about prayer by studying his prayers.
- In his prayer Jeremiah begins with the power of God -- “Ah, Lord God!...there is nothing too hard for Thee” (32:17)."
- Merrill Unger says Jeremiah was assured that God would accomplish the restoration because of ten reasons (Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament).
- God is the omnipotent Creator of heaven and earth (32:17).
- God shows lovingkindness "unto thousands" (32:18a).
- God recompenses iniquity (32:18b).
- God governs the nations. "The Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name" (32:18c).
- The LORD is "Great in counsel, and mighty in work" (32:19). He is omniscient. His "eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings" (32:19).
- The LORD judged Egypt, and delivered His people from bondage in Egypt (32:20, 21).
- The LORD brought Israel into the Promised Land, just as He said He would (32:22).
- The LORD "caused all this evil to come upon them" (the Babylonian captivity) because of their disobedience (32:23).
- What God says will come to pass, comes to pass. In verse 24 Jeremiah refers specifically to "the mounts." These were the siege mounds, high embankments located outside the walls of Jerusalem, from which assault was made on the city. The LORD had said this would happen and it did (cf. 32:3-5).
- The LORD had said to Jeremiah, “Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses; for the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans" (32:25). The LORD always keeps His Word. Purchasing this property may have seemed foolish, but it was a sign that the LORD would restore the land to Judah (32:25; cf. 32:15).
THE LORD CONFIRMED JEREMIAH'S FAITH (32:26-44).
- The LORD said to Jeremiah, "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?" (32:27; cf. 32:17; 33:3).
- God is in control. It was He who gave the city of Jerusalem "into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon" (32:28).
- Once again, the LORD emphasized His wrath was coming down because the people of Judah and Israel had continually provoked Him by their idolatry (32:29-36).
- God uses the words "provoke" and "provocation" four times (32:29-32), and the word "anger" five times (32:29-32, 37).
- The LORD will restore Israel and Judah, but only after they are first severely chastened (32:37-44).
- The LORD confirmed Jeremiah's act of faith in buying his cousin's field. The situation was terrible at the time but the LORD assured Jeremiah He "will cause their captivity to return" (32:44).
Warren Wiersbe says, "The application of this Scripture for today's believer is obvious: The world laughs at us for our faith and our investments in the future, but one day God will keep His promises and vindicate us...Instead of living for the sinful pleasures of this present world, we seek the joys of the world to come. We refuse to sacrifice the eternal for the temporal. The unbelieving world may ridicule us, but ultimately God will vindicate His people" (The Bible Exposition Commentary).