So Hanameel mine uncle’s son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD. — Jeremiah 32:8
Several years ago I had a good job at a bank in downtown Portland. I had just received a promotion, and had been assured of continued advancement at that location. However, God impressed upon my heart that I should post for a position at a much smaller branch. My wife and I prayed about it, and strongly felt that was what the Lord would have me to do, so I applied for a job at that smaller location.
My boss at the time was baffled at my decision, and did his best to convince me that this was a terrible career move. He could not understand why I would choose to leave what he felt was a very good position with much potential for advancement. His view of the situation seemed to be confirmed about a month or so later when I went to the new location and promptly found out that the branch was going to be closed! I began to wonder, God, why did You send me here? I felt so sure that You wanted me to take this position.
About a week later I received instructions to go to work at yet another location, and in the end several transfers were made, causing me to be promoted in a way that does not normally happen. I look back at it and just marvel. God had it figured out all along the way. All I had to do was trust Him and obey.
In our focus verse, the Prophet Jeremiah felt led of God to take an unusual step. God told Jeremiah that his cousin Hanameel would come and ask him to buy land in Anathoth, an area that had already been seized by the enemy Chaldeans. Given that Jeremiah was in prison and knew the captivity of Judah would last for seventy years, the command on the surface would seem illogical and poorly timed. However, Jeremiah was assured that this instruction was indeed from God, and he followed through in obedience. The prophet’s act of faith concretely demonstrated to the people of Judah that God would one day restore their land and rebuild Jerusalem.
In our day too, we may be called on by the Lord to follow Him in ways that we do not understand. Though the timing and circumstances may appear strange to us, we need to obey. We can trust that the God who fulfilled His “impossible” promises to Jeremiah is also in control of our future. He will work in our lives if we will only follow Him in obedience.
Today’s text tells of Jeremiah buying a field in his hometown, which was an object lesson illustrating God’s promise to restore the land of the Jewish people. The events of the chapter took place in the tenth year of Zedekiah. Jerusalem had been under siege by Babylon since the previous year. Verses 3-5 could be in parenthesis because they explain why Jeremiah was in prison.
According to the Law, Jeremiah met the qualifications to redeem the specified property in Anathoth. His purchase of the land was a demonstration of his faith that God would fulfill His promise to restore the Jewish people to their homeland. The transaction was accomplished using all the legal and business steps of the time. Gold and silver were weighed because there were not yet any Jewish coins. While the value of the shekel at that time is not known, it seems that the amount was small. However, scholars believe that Jeremiah paid what was considered the full price. A deed was signed and witnessed, and then it was stored in a pottery container that was probably sealed with pitch, which was a common method of preserving important documents. A duplicate deed was available for people’s review.
Baruch was a scribe and he recorded many of Jeremiah’s prophecies. This is the first time his name is mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah.
Verses 16-25 contain Jeremiah’s prayer after he had purchased the property. He needed reassurance, and his prayer is exemplary. He considered God’s greatness and omniscience, and recounted past miracles. Then he mentioned the “mounts” (verse 24), which were terraces the enemy built outside the wall of Jerusalem to gain a better firing angle to reach within the wall. Jeremiah’s obedience demonstrated his faith in God’s word, since the famine and pestilence that had been prophesied had already begun.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The pronouncement of judgment against Judah
C. The consolations of the prophet
2. The surety of restoration demonstrated
a. The purchase of land from Hanameel (32:1-15)
b. The prayer of Jeremiah (32:16-25)
It takes trust and faith in God to do what He has called us to do even when we do not understand, but we will be blessed if we do so.