There is a very interesting account in Jeremiah 32. The prophet had told the people that God was going to judge the nation and take them as slaves to Babylon. In Jeremiah 32, that time is at hand. The army of Babylon had surrounded Jerusalem. Jeremiah knew that the city would be destroyed and the king in Judah would be taken captive.
Most of the nation had already been defeated by the Babylonians. This was an extremely dark time in the nation’s history. There were metaphorical black clouds descending. The Jews could see them on the horizon.
In the midst of these sad circumstances, God told Jeremiah to make a strange investment. A relative was going to come to him and ask the prophet to buy a piece of land. This piece of land was in a part of the nation that had already been defeated by the Babylonians. It was worthless. The only reason the relative made the request is because the Law of Moses directed family members to buy land from relatives with financial problems in order to keep the land in the family.
But what was the use? Jeremiah could never live in it. The Babylonians would possess the land and do with it as they saw fit. As the Jewish owner of the field, Jeremiah would receive no benefit from it.
Since God told Jeremiah to do it, Jeremiah buys the field. He then makes sure that the sale is publicly recorded. He calls in witnesses to verify what he was doing. The “deed” was sealed in a jar in order that the proof of the transaction would last a long time (Jer 32:14).
At first glance, this looked insane. Why would Jeremiah make such a foolish investment? In the rest of the chapter, the prophet tells us. God has promised that the Jews will one day return to the land. Jeremiah was going to be able to pass this field to others. He was not throwing away his money. He was investing it in a Jewish kingdom that was to come. By his actions, Jeremiah was also proclaiming that God would fulfill His promises and the people would return. This would have been a great encouragement to the people who were listening to what the Lord was saying in the midst of their trials.
I think it is easy to apply this story to ourselves. While our Capitol is not surrounded by an enemy army, many are concerned about the political, economic, and moral storm clouds we see. We are in the midst of a pandemic that not only has caused the deaths of thousands, it has caused the financial ruin of many. Our nation has never been a Christian nation, but it has always been friendly and at least open to Biblical principles of morality. For some time now, however, that has been changing. Recently, it seems that the changes have been dramatic and rapid. Many also feel that those who will be placed in power will be the most unfriendly towards the Church that any of us have seen in our lifetimes. Not surprisingly, many fear that believers will lose many of the freedoms we have enjoyed.
How should we respond to these storm clouds? First, I think we ought to take the teachings of the Lord to heart. We should not be anxious about the things we suspect will happen (Matt 6:34). We should certainly ask the Lord to take away any fear we may have, knowing that God will use any difficult times to teach us what we need to know.
These things are clear enough. But in addition to them, maybe we ought to respond just like Jeremiah did. We should “buy” some land in a kingdom that is to come. As the Lord teaches us through whatever may come, we should pray that we would remain faithful to Him. As we do, we are purchasing rewards and even cities in His coming Kingdom (Matt 6:20; Luke 19:17). We know that this world is passing away, but there is a glorious future coming. Let’s live in light of it and provide an encouragement to ourselves and the others who see our actions.