Jeremiah & Contradictions

As I’ve made my way back & forth from the days of Revolution past to today’s revolutionary conflicts and crises, on numerous occasions I have been guilty of promising a Part 2 and not delivering it, or starting a topic and fading away from it. I am definitely aware of that, but, yet again…here I go. Very good chance I may not return to Afghanistan and its revised war strategy, though my interest in that is strong. ‘Out of the blue’ the other day, I had this thought about the taking captive of Jerusalem way back in time, and one thought led to another…

Early on in my then newly birthed relationship with God, (and to my dismay I might add!) I found myself identifying with the prophet Jeremiah. Now, if you have even a little knowledge of the man, you know that his was not a joyful mission. His burden was heavy. To me, his way seemed sorrowful, and his responsibility was great. Imagine being “set…over the nations and over the kingdoms”! (Jeremiah 1:10) Authority from the Most High over whole countries! Personally, not wantin’ that kind of power! Especially when it involves bringing bad news! And, as if that wasn’t enough of a buzz-kill, Jeremiah was also called “…to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down… (v.10) He was given the horribly awesome task of proclaiming to Israel the coming invasion of King Nebuchadnezzar, and his 70 year captivity of Jerusalem. In this task he had to persevere for decades. Not an easy life…

What appears as a very intriguing twist to this plot is found in Chapter 32. By now the invasion has taken place, and Jerusalem is being besieged by Nebuchadnezzar’s army. Jeremiah is imprisoned for declaring his message from God; frankly, the king of Judah at that time didn’t want to hear it! (As can often be the case, ya do the right thing & end up getting kicked to the curb.) So, the prophet is “shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah’s house.” (I think I see a whole other message right here, in this one sentence! Maybe another time…) And he gets a word from God to buy land (v.7-9, 25). What? Jeremiah has got to be thinking, huh? What am I going to do with land? I’m in prison, and You’ve shown me there will be a 70 year exile for my people!

Jeremiah buys the land, which was located just north of the besieged Jerusalem. He has the transaction witnessed & documented, and the evidence sealed for a future time. And herein lies the kernel of hope – ‘for a future time.’ In days to come, though they be yet far off, “houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.” (v.15) Though at this time, “the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans {enemy}” (v.25), there comes a time when, through His processes, God turns it all around. When He does, not just this one field shall be possessed by an Israelite, but “men shall buy fields…in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south.” (v.44)

Because, as it is written, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” (v.27)

Israel made wrong choices, and she crashed & burned. But a plan for a return to health and prosperity was always in place. I am hoping that this same principle holds true for America today.

ooo
Another interesting aspect to Jeremiah’s story: God’s intention of having the prophet buy land was not hindered by the fact that Jeremiah was incarcerated. In verses 7 & 8, we read how the LORD told Jeremiah that his cousin was going to show up, offering the prophet a real estate opportunity. Which is what happened. It took no effort on Jeremiah’s part to bring God’s word to him to pass. God brought the manifested word to Jeremiah. True, he had to act on the offer (which he did), but my point is that your physical & circumstantial obstructions don’t stop God. He will show up. With His promise to you.

ooo

And one more tidbit before I finish this: Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that are anywhere from unpleasant, difficult & inconvenient to downright painful. And we want out! That’s normal, understandable, & perhaps the path to take is to get out if you can…but in Jeremiah’s scenario, surprisingly, that table was turned!
In a chat with Jeremiah regarding the coming exile, the LORD showed him 2 baskets of figs. One basket, healthy, fresh figs; the other, figs so rotten they couldn’t be eaten. Now, you would think the bad figs would represent the captivity of Jerusalem. I mean, being basically kidnapped and dragged out of your home and your country, by an invading army no less!…how can that be a good thing (good figs)? But not so fast, my friend…”Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive…whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good. (Jeremiah 24: 5) The prognosis for those remaining in the land was not so good…really not good. (Check out v.8-10)
Sometimes that which we would escape, if we could, will prove to be our salvation.

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3 responses to “Jeremiah & Contradictions

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