December 17: Land and Deeds
Jeremiah 32:1–44; Romans 7:7–25; Proverbs 21:13–31
Those of us who have purchased a home know the frightening feeling of closing day—“Am I signing my life away? Am I binding myself to this building forever?” Imagine, on top of those feelings, knowing that the place you’re buying is about to be overrun by a foreign nation and may no longer belong to you. That’s what the prophet Jeremiah experienced.
Yahweh tells Jeremiah that his cousin will arrive with an offer to purchase a field. So when Jeremiah’s cousin shows up, Jeremiah views it as Yahweh’s will that he purchase the land, and he does (Jer 32:1–12).
Meanwhile, Jeremiah knows that the Babylonians are coming and that they will overrun the land of God’s people, including the land that he has just purchased. This is not a reckless act; this is a moment of faith. Jeremiah seizes the opportunity to proclaim Yahweh’s faithfulness.
Turning to his assistant, Baruch, Jeremiah remarks in front of everyone witnessing the purchase, “Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Take these deeds, this deed of the purchase, the sealed one, and this opened deed, and you must put them in an earthenware jar so that they may be kept preserved many days.’ For thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Houses and fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land’ ” (Jer 32:14–15).
Each of us has moments when we must do what no one else will do—and that includes saying what others are not willing to say. What “land” is God asking you to buy, and what is He asking you to proclaim about it?
What deed is God asking you to do today? What are you to say about Yahweh’s faithfulness, and how are you to act upon it?
JOHN D. BARRY
Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
The word that came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. For then the king of Babel’s host besieged Jerusalem: and Jeremiah the Prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the King of Judah’s house. For Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying, Wherefore dost thou prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will give this city into the hands of the King of Babel, and he shall take it? And Zedekiah the king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the hands of the king of Babel and shall speak with him mouth to mouth, and his eyes shall behold his face, And he shall lead Zedekiah to Babel, and there shall he be, until I visit him, saith the Lord: though he fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper. And Jeremiah said, The word of the Lord came unto me saying, Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum thine uncle, shall come unto thee and say, But unto thee my field, that is in Anathoth: for the title by kindred appertaineth unto thee to buy it. So Hanamel 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 the possessions is thine, and the purchase belongeth unto thee: buy it for thee. Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord. And I bought the field of Hanamel, mine uncle’s son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the silver, even seven shekels, and ten pieces of silver. And I wrote it in the book and signed it, and took witnesses, and weighed unto him the silver in the balances. So I took the book of the possession, being sealed according to the Law, and custom, with the book that was open, And I gave the book of the possession unto Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the sight of Hanamel mine uncle’s son, and in the presence of the witnesses, written in the book of the possession, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison. And I charged Baruch before them, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel saith thus, Houses and fields, and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land. Now when I had delivered the book of the possession unto Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed unto the Lord, saying, Ah Lord God, behold, thou has made the heaven and the earth by thy great opwer, and by thy stretched out arm, and there is nothing hard unto thee. Thou showest mercy unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: O God the great and mighty, whose name is the Lord of hosts, Great in counsel, and mighty in work, (for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men, to give to everyone according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his works) Which hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt unto this day, and in Israel and among all men, and hast made thee a Name, as appeareth this day, And hast brought thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and a stretche dout arm, an with great terror, And hast given them this land, which thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. And they came in, and possessed it, but they obeyed not thy voice, neither walked in thy Law all that thou commandedest them to do, they have not done: therefore thou hast caused this whole plague to come upon them. Behold, the mounts, they are come into the city to take it, and the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans, that fight against it by means of the sword, and of the famine, and of the pestilence, and what thou hast spoken, is come to pass, and behold, thou seest it. And thou hast said unto me, O Lord God, Buy unto thee the field for silver and take witnesses: for the city shall be given unto the Chaldeans. Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am the LORD GOD of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me? Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babel, and he shall take it. And the Chaldeans shall come and fight against this city, and set fir on this city, and burn it with the houses, uon whose roofs they have offered incense unto Baal, and poured drink offerings unto other gods, to provoke me unto anger. For the children of Israel, and the children of Judah have surely done evil before me, from their youth: for the children of Israel have surely provoked me to anger with the works of their hands, saith the Lord. Therefore this city hath been unto me as a provocation of mine anger, and of my wrath, from the day that they built it, even unto this day, that I should remove it out of my sight, Because of all the evil of the children of Israel, and of the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke me to anger, even they, their Kings, their Princes, their Priests, and their Prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And they have turned unto me the back and not the face: though I caught them, rising up early, and instructing them, yet they were not obedient to receive doctrine, But they set their abominations in the house (whereupon my Name was called) to defile it. And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech, which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do such abomination, to cause Judah to sin. And now therefore, thus hath the Lord God of Israel spoken concerning this city, whereof ye say, It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babel by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence. Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, wherein I have scattered them in mine anger, and in my wrath, and in great indignation, and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. And they shall be my people, and I shall be their God. And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever for the wealth of them, and of their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will never turn away from them to do them good, but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. Yea, I will delight in them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart, and with all my soul. For thus saith the Lord, Like as I have brought all this great plague upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. And the fields shall be possessed in this land, whereof ye say, it is desolate without man or beast, and shall be given into the hand of the Chaldeans. Men shall buy fields for silver, and make writings and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and round about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the plain, and in the cities of the South: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 32:1-44)
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? God forbid. Nay, I knew not sin, but by the Law: for I had not known lust, except the Law had said, Thou shalt not lust. But sin took an occasion by the commandment, and wrought in me all manner of concupiscence: for without the Law sin is dead. For I once was alive, without the law: but when the commandment came, sin revived, But I died: and the same commandment which was ordained unto life, was found to be unto me unto death. For sin took occasion by the commandment, and deceived me, and thereby slew me. Wherefore the Law is holy, and that commandment is holy, and just, and good. Was that then which is good, made death unto me? God forbid: but sin, that it might appear sin, wrought death in me by that which is good, that sin might be out of measure sinful by the commandment. For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For I allow not that which I do: for what I would, that do I not: but what I hate, that do I. If I do then that which I would not, I consent to the Law, that it is good. Now then, it is no more I, that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know, that in me, that is, in my flesh dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present in me: but I find no means to perform that good, For I do not the good thing, which I would, but the evil, which I would not, that do I. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but the sin that dwelleth in me. For I delight in the Law of God, concerning the inner man. But I see another Law in my members, rebelling against the law of my mind, and leading me captive unto the law of sin, which is in my members. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord, Then I myself in my mind serve the Law of God, but in my flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:7-25)
Love not sleep, lest thou come unto poverty: open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread. It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone apart, he boasteth. There is gold, and a multitude of precious stones: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel. Take his garment, that is surety for a stranger, and a pledge of him for the stranger. The bread of deceit is sweet to a man: but afterward his mouth shall be filled with gravel. Establish thy thoughts by counsel: an by counsel make war. He that goeth about as a slanderer, discovereth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips. He that curseth his father or his mother, his light shall be put out in obscure darkness. An heritage is hastily gotten at the beginning, but the end thereof shall not be blessed. Say not thou, I will recompense evil, but wait upon the Lord, and he shall save thee. Diverse weights are an abomination unto the Lord, and deceitful balances are not good. The steps of a man are ruled by the Lord: how can a man then understand his own way? It is a destruction for a man to devour that which is sanctified, and after the vows to inquire. A wise King scattereth the wicked, and causeth the wheel to turn over them. The light of the Lord is the breath of man, and searcheth all the bowels of the belly. Mercy and truth preserve the king: for his throne shall be established without mercy. The beauty of young men is their strength, and the glory of the aged is the gray head. The blueness of the wound serveth to purge the evil, and the stripes within the bowels of the belly. (Proverbs 21:13-31