Black clouds lingered over Jerusalem and Judah in 588 BC. Both Egyptian and Babylonian armies were rampant in the land. In just over a year Jerusalem and all Judah would be destroyed, and the populace would be slain except for the fortunate who survived to be slaves. In the malaise of that moment, God spoke again to the prophet Jeremiah: “Hanamel, the son of Shallum, your uncle will come to you, saying, ‘Buy my field which is in Anathoth, for the right of redemption is yours to buy it’” (Jer 32:7). God instructed Jeremiah to pay the money to Hanamel!
Jeremiah must have wanted to respond, “Do what?” The silver of Judah is virtually worthless, and whatever I have must be hoarded. In a few days, holding the deed to any property will be futility. Why would anyone purchase more, especially at going rates? But our biblical prophet knows very well to whom he is speaking. A little thought about the plans and purposes of God, and then His command made perfect sense.
The fall of Judah would engender despair among surviving captives:
1 By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion. 2 We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it. 3 For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song In a foreign land? (Ps 137:1-4).
Hopelessness would course through the souls of God’s people like a tsunami!
And then someone would remember the prophet Jeremiah. He purchased a field during the height of the chaos. He could not have been oblivious to the circumstances. Why did God ask Jeremiah to buy a field? Nothing could be more apparent. God is not through with Israel. The deed has been recorded for the sake of future generations. When Israel returns in the latter days (Hos 3:5), the field would belong to Jeremiah. He had purchased the field as a mark of his faith in God. The promises of God remain true regardless of present circumstances. God will yet arise to meet His people with healing in His wings.
Observing the spiritual demise of denomination after denomination and watching the apparent unstoppable march of secularism and the corresponding loss of evangelical zeal in our churches presents enough evidence to cause the love of many to grow cold (Matt 24:12). However, before you embark on a horticultural mission to find a willow tree on which to hang your harp, pause and recall that God has promised not to leave Himself without a witness. He has personally promised to return to this earth and to create a kingdom in which righteousness based on the power of His atoning death and magnificent resurrection on the third day will rule.
Jeremiah, prophet of coming doom, certainly was commissioned “to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down” (Jer 1:10). But please never forget that he was also commanded “to build and to plant.” Find a preacher like Jeremiah, willing to root out the heresies like those creeping into this generation, many of whom have succumbed to believing Scripture is insufficient for all of life. Pray for a man of God who does not fall before voices of cultural accommodation. Get with the Lord’s prophet who stakes his ministry on the call to evangelism and winning the lost to Christ and who does not fear what those who are preoccupied with their own relevance are saying.
Purchase a field so to speak and refuse to be manipulated by sorrow over the way things are. Believe God’s promises and seek His face. Invest in the souls of men and women. Lead everyone you can to Christ. Teach the biblical revelation to God’s people, and wait on the Lord. Those who wait on the Lord shall “mount up as eagles” (Is 40:31). The future is bright. Like the Babylonian and Egyptian cultures, the present culture engulfing America will fail and be destroyed. BUT God’s kingdom will stand forever.