A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
Sins of Your Youth Jeremiah 32
By this time, Jeremiah had given many prophecies over many years about the future restoration of Israel to her land. Something happened that challenged his faith in those promises. This chapter records what happened and how the prophet responded.
GOD REQUIRES FAITH IN THE CERTAINTY OF GODS WORD
Verse 1-2 The specific time is given when Zedekiah was king in Judah and Nebuchadnezzar was king in Babylon, v 1. During this time, Babylon was besieging Jerusalem v 2. This siege lasted from January 15, 588, until July 18, 586, and Jeremiah... was shut up in the court of the guard, which was in the house of the king of Judah.
Verse 3-5 Jeremiah had been imprisoned by Zedekiah because of his prophecies v 3. He predicted the capture of both Jerusalem and Zedekiah and that Zedekiah would be taken captive to Babylon v 4. Jeremiah told Zedekiah, if you fight against the Chaldeans, you shall not succeed v 5.
Verse 6-8 God told Jeremiah that his cousin Hanamel would visit him in prison and ask Jeremiah to buy Hanamelís field in Anathoth (Jeremiahís hometown, north of Jerusalem) v 6-7. Hanamel was following the Mosaic Law which called for a person to redeem (purchase) the property of a relative who was forced to sell so that it would not leave the family (Leviticus 25:25-28; Ruth 4:1-6). So Hanamel told Jeremiah you have the right of possession and the redemption is yours v 8. Anathoth was already under Babylonian control, so this purchase would seem foolish. Who would buy land that had already fallen into the enemyís hands? Because of this seeming foolishness, God told Jeremiah in advance that Hanamel would come so Jeremiah would recognize Godís hand in the request. Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord. God regularly times his plan when it seems most foolish as a form of testing.
Verse 10-12 Following the legal customs of the day, Jeremiah signed and sealed the deed, and called in witnesses, and weighed out the silver on the scales v 9-10. Two copies of the deed were made v 11. One was sealed tied with a piece of cord and then having Jeremiahís official seal stamped into a lump of clay placed over the string. The other copy remained unsealed so it could later be examined. Jeremiah handed both copies of the deed to Baruch, Jeremiahís scribe and friend v 12.
Verse 13-15 Jeremiah instructed Baruch to take both copies of the deed and put them in an earthenware jar, that they may last a long time (like the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran) v 13-14. It would be many years before the people would return from the captivity and claim their land. Yet Jeremiahís purpose in buying the land and preserving the deeds was to show that houses and fields and vineyard shall again be bought in this land v 15.
Application: Our faith is not in faith but in the certainty of Gods Word v 15. God never asks us to trust without evidence. Past evidence is basis for certainty of future fulfillment of promises. Jeremiah will remind himself of Gods past faithfulness to Israel as evidence for faith in future faithfulness.
FAITH IS BOLSTERED BY RECOGNIZING GODS POWER & FAITHFULNESS TO HIS WORD
Verse 16-19 In Jeremiahís praise for Godís greatness, he began by focusing on Godís character. This is what spiritually mature people focus upon. Citing God as the Creator, nothing is too difficult for You v 16-17. Scripture teaches and then assumes creation never evolution. He is omnipotent, omniscient, loving, and just v 18. Therefore, He punishes sin and also gives to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds v 19.
Verse 20-23 Godís character was seen in His deeds throughout Israelís history v 20. God brought Israel out of Egypt with mighty signs and wonders, and with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm, and with great terror v 21. And God brought them into this land, which you did swear to their forefathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey v 22. They came in and took possession but they did not obey your voice or walk in your law. Therefore, you have made all this calamity come upon them v 23.
Application: What God gives us is good. We start good as believers. His bounty at salvation of love, grace, mercy, His Holy Spirit living in us, His Word to instruct us, fellow believers to encourage us, etc. But what do we do with it? Do we quench the Spirit, ignore His Word? If we turn our backs on God and what Heís given us at salvation, we invite calamity into our lives. We will lose His peace; itís replaced with anxiety. We lose the direction of His Word, itís replaced with chaos.
Verse 24-25 After reminding God of His mighty character and deeds, Jeremiah is still puzzled. The siege mounds have reached the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans v 24. Everything God has foretold through His prophets has happened. What you have spoken has come to pass. In light of all he said in verses 17-23, it seems he is wondering how God would accomplish this restoration rather than doubting if God could or would accomplish it. Yet God commands Jeremiah at this moment to buy a field already under Babylonian control (v 6-12) v 25. Jeremiah did not understand how Godís promised restoration related to Judahís present calamity. Its Gods character that is the basis of our trust in his faithfulness not trying to figure out the specifics of that future faithfulness to us.
Application: Godís will can seem puzzling especially when it cuts across the grain of worldly conventional wisdom. Lose to gain? Give up to receive? Holiness vs happiness? God wants our lives to be eternally valuable because rewards are of an eternal nature. If we cash in for the temporal, the worldly advice, we marginalize faith and without that we cannot please God or be rewarded. The eternal economy runs on faith and obedience. That demands a different purpose, perspective and mindset Col 3:2 ďSet your mind on things above not on the things of the earthĒ. Faith requires forward thinking.
FAITH IN GODS FUTURE PROMISES RESTS ON PAST FULFILLMENT OF HIS WORD
Verse 26-29 God answered Jeremiahís prayer. Yes, Jeremiah was correct in verse 17. God is the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me? v 26-27. Jeremiah could depend on Godís Word even if he did not understand how it would be accomplished. The Babylonians would destroy Jerusalem and burn it down because of the idolatry of the sons of Israel v 28-29.
Verse 30-35 God would destroy Jerusalem because of the peoplesí sin from their youth v 30. This sin was idolatry. The sins of our youth are not just the longest but the deepest sins in our lives. They are the sins we keep going back to because they have endured for so long, that hinder our fellowship with God. They are the ones we need to repent of too often. They are the ones that have worked for us before so become entrenched. Solomon completed building the city, and he was the first of Israel's kings to practice idolatry v 31-32. This included all the people involved in the sin kings, leaders, priests, prophets, men of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem. The people had turned away from the Lord rather than seeking Him. They have turned their back to Me and not their face. Though I taught them, teaching again and again, they would not listen and receive instruction v 33. They put their detestable things in the house which is called by My name, to defile it. They built the high places of Baal that are in the valley of Ben-hinnom. They caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech v 34-35. They had defiled the temple precincts by placing images of idols there, and had built places of worship for Baal in the Hinnom Valley. They had even practiced child sacrifice there, something that God had not even imagined, let alone commanded.
Verse 36-41 Nevertheless, the Lord promised to bring His people back into the land from which He was about to drive them out v 36-37. He would make them dwell securely in the same city He was about to hand over to their enemyó rebuilt. I will make an everlasting covenant with them. I will not turn away from them, to do them good v 38-40. I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me. I will rejoice over them to do them good. I will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul v 41. God would change all from the inside out.
Verse 42-44 So just as God had been faithful to His Word in bringing all this great disaster on this people because of their sin (Deut 28:15-68), so He will also be faithful to bring on them all the good that I am promising them (Deut 30:1-10) v 42. So Jeremiahís purchase of the field was a symbolic act to show that men shall buy fields for money, sign and seal deed, and call in witnesses in the land of Benjamin, Jerusalem, Judah for I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord v 43-44.
Application: Our faith in Godís promises for the future rest on His fulfillment of His Word in the past. He has kept His Word literally. He will also keep it literally.
1. Your greatest challenge to your walk with God will be the sins of your youth. They can break you spiritually just as they had with Israel. We can go to that well one too many times and it destroys you.