Last week, we asked why in the world Jeremiah would buy a piece of land he knew was going to be destroyed. Well, let me tell you. You see, there is always a promise in the word of the Lord. There’s always a promise in obedience. There’s always a promise, even when the call to obey God seems so wacky – like buying land before a hurricane or a tornado or a flood. Maybe we wouldn’t make the business deal based on what we could see, but what if we could see differently? Would we make the deal then?
The promise, as we see in the text, is that “…houses and field shall again be bought in this land” (Jeremiah 32.15). All that stuff of the transaction seemed so regular; all that stuff – deeds and witnesses and money – that seemed so ordinary; all that stuff of regular life we tend to do, but rarely pay attention to; all that stuff holds a truth, an order of life. These are just the things of normal life.
what is normal, anyway?
Yet, there’s nothing normal about the situation Jeremiah faces. “…[H]ouses and fields shall again be bought in this land.” Hidden in that promise of the Lord is hope, a return to what we know is “normal.” Because once the disaster comes, everything changes. Who knows at that point what normal will look like? We get a small hint at what normal will look like.
There’s one difference, though, from the normalcy we knew. It’s easy to miss because we are so intent on returning to a regular life. When disaster happens to our lives, what we want is normal, a return to the every day regularity of life. We want to be able to buy groceries, get our hair cut, chat with the neighbors over the fence, and watch a little TV. Disasters totally disrupt that life, that way of living.
But there’s that little difference that comes after the disaster, after we’ve done what God asked us to do. You see, when we obey in time like that, we grow in our trust and knowledge of the Lord. When we obey in a time like that, we may seem to be crazy.
we are the ones who are changed
When we obey in a time like that, and here’s the point, we are the ones who are changed. We are the ones who are changed. God’s promise of normalcy certainly applies to the everyday things of life, but we who have obeyed God in times like these will most certainly be different.
The trust and the hope come in obedience. The trust and the hope come in that relationship with God. The trust and the hope come when we look beyond what we can see in destruction, to what God can see in hope and healing. What makes this text work is that we learn to see not from Jeremiah’s standpoint or the standpoint of the folks in the story, but from God’s standpoint. And what God says is, “…houses and field shall again be bought in this land.” Just the regular stuff of life.
What we must learn is to somehow see things not from our standpoint, but from God’s standpoint. Make no mistake there are always more opportunities to learn and grow in our lives. But each step in obedience and trust allows us to live the promises of God, learning that hope comes. Hope comes.
“For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields shall again be bought in this land.” Hope comes. And we will be able to buy groceries, get our hair cut, chat with the neighbors over the fence, and watch a little TV – once again.
All for just seventeen shekels of silver. Just a little bit of our time; just little bit of our resources; just a little bit of ourselves given in obedience and trust to our gracious God, and hope comes. Hope comes when we learn to see with God.
God makes the deal, anyway
That’s why God provided a way for us “while we were yet sinners.” And, knowing what we know about ourselves, it’s really not much of a business deal for God. But he made the deal anyway in Jesus, and hope comes. We truly have been bought with a price – the purchase price of redemption is Jesus. God knew something about us. God knew more than the brokenness and hurt in our lives. God knew that investing in us was a loving, hope-filled exercise.
For God, that’s just the everyday stuff of his business. Loving, giving, promising, hoping. In the word of the Lord for us today there is a promise. In our lives the obeying, the trusting, the giving, there is a promise. Hope comes. Just imagine with me, but this time, imagine from God’s point of view. Just imagine what that might be like. God can see it. Can we?
A text for the table: Jeremiah 32.1-3a, 6-15.
Take a moment to read “Seventeen Shekels for Salvation, Part 1.”