Faith in God’s Faithfulness
This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:10–11
Zedekiah, king of Judah, imprisoned Jeremiah the prophet because he didn’t like the message from God that Jeremiah delivered: the king of Babylon would capture Jerusalem and Judah would lose the battle against the powerful Babylonian army (Jeremiah 32:1–6).
While Jeremiah sat in prison, God gave him another prophecy: a relative would ask him to redeem land that belonged to their family by buying it. Jeremiah agreed and a deed was written. God also told Jeremiah to put copies of the deed into a clay jar so they could be kept for a long time.
Not only was Jeremiah, the purchaser of the land, in prison, but also the land, located just outside Jerusalem, was under enemy possession. Purchasing the land seemed like a waste of money. The city would fall; the people would be taken into exile for seventy years.
Why would Jeremiah buy land occupied by enemy soldiers? God promised Jeremiah, “Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land” (Jeremiah 32:15). Jeremiah refused to please the king by saying what he wanted to hear. He refused to fear the actions of the enemy. He refused to sit back in his prison cell and feel sorry for himself. And because he believed God, he bought the land.
God allowed the enemy to conquer and take the people into captivity because of their idolatry (Jeremiah 32:29). But later, he would gather them from all the lands where he had banished them. He promised, “They will be my people, and I will be their God” (vv. 37–38). Prosperity would follow. Fields would again be bought (Jeremiah 32:43).
Jeremiah’s prayer in chapter 32:17–25 begins, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you” (v. 17).
Do enemies surround you? Is your world collapsing? Even if the situation is your fault, don’t think that God has abandoned you. He doesn’t promise that we’ll be free of enemies and live in a world of peace. Nor does God promise that we’ll escape the consequences of our actions. But he reminds us that he is in control and that his love for us is steadfast.
Do we respond in faith as Jeremiah did, “Nothing is too hard for you”?
Read Jeremiah 32:26–36. What had the people done to arouse God’s anger? Did that include the actions of political and religious leaders?
Read Jeremiah 32:37–43. What parts of God’s promise extend beyond the time of the return of the exiles—to a future restoration of God’s people?
The Bible contains many examples of tasks God gave people that seemed impossible: He told Noah to build an ark and Moses to cross the Red Sea, to name two. Has God ever asked you to do something that seemed impossible? What happened?
Denise K. Loock
This devotion is part of our series on Prayers of the Bible.