JEREMIAH CHAPTER 32: A man is one who builds a house using bricks that others are throwing at him: My message from my fiancée when we first dated.
Today’s chapter is not exclusive of the great consolation message. Actually, Jeremiah does something that reveals faith and it just makes me remember when I ever used the bricks that were being thrown at me and I constructed a great house using them. Jeremiah did it too and you can do it too. Today’s exposition is not mine. I have stolen it from the authors of The Wiersbe Bible Commentary.
“It wasn’t enough for the prophet merely to preach God’s promises; he also had to practice them and prove to his hearers that he believed them himself. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). Therefore, God directed Jeremiah to give another “action sermon” and purchase a piece of property at a time when the fortunes of Judah couldn’t have been lower. In so doing, Jeremiah got the attention of the people and was able to affirm God’s great promises to them. He had to put his money where his mouth was, and God blessed him for it.
An “illogical thing” (32:1–45). The tenth year of Zedekiah’s rule was 587 BC, one year before Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians, when Jeremiah was confined in the court of the prison (37:21). King Zedekiah didn’t like Jeremiah’s messages concerning himself and the city (32:3–5), but perhaps his imprisoning the prophet was God’s way of protecting Jeremiah from his enemies and providing food for him during the terrible siege. People can imprison God’s workers, but God’s Word is not bound (2 Tim. 2:9). God’s word came to Jeremiah telling him to do a most illogical thing: Buy a piece of the battlefield
The transaction (32:6–15). God told Jeremiah that his cousin Hanamel was coming with an offer to sell property in their hometown of Anathoth. If Hanamel had suddenly shown up, Jeremiah probably would have refused the offer. After all, the field was in the hands of the Babylonians, Jeremiah was in prison, and the future of the nation was bleak indeed. Of what use would a field be to Jeremiah who couldn’t possibly live for another seventy years? That, however, is what faith is all about: obeying God in spite of what we see, how we feel, and what may happen. It’s well been said that faith is not believing in spite of evidence but obeying in spite of consequence, and Jeremiah’s actions illustrate that maxim.
When word got out that Jeremiah was investing in worthless real estate, many people must have laughed, others shook their heads in disbelief, and some probably thought he was crazy. The transaction was probably carried out in the court of the prison with all things done legally. Jeremiah signed the deeds, paid the money, and gave the legal documents to his secretary, Baruch, who is mentioned here for the first time.9 The witnesses attested to the signature and the deeds and probably went away wondering whether Jeremiah had lost his mind. The transaction was the talk of the city, you can be sure, with Hanamel the hero. Hanamel may have thought he engineered a shrewd deal, but he only gave evidence of his unbelief.
The reaction (32:16–25). As was often the case with Jeremiah, a testing experience of doubt followed a triumphant experience of faith. Having obeyed God’s command by faith, Jeremiah was now wondering how God would ever give him his property; he did the right thing by praying about it. The best way to handle doubt is to talk to God, be honest about your feelings, and then wait for Him to give you His message from His Word. True prayer begins with worship (vv. 17–19) and focuses on the greatness of God. No matter what our problems are, God is greater; and the more we see His greatness, the less threatening our problems will become. True prayer also involves rehearsing what God has done for us in the past and remembering how He kept His promises and met the needs of His people (vv. 20–23). Jeremiah’s prayer concluded with the prophet sharing his difficult situation with God and turning it over to Him (vv. 24–25). Outside the city was the besieging Babylonian army; within the city were famine, disease, and disobedience; and in Jeremiah’s heart was a nagging doubt that he’d made a fool of himself.
The confirmation (32:26–44). God met the needs of His servant and confirmed that his decisions were right. The basic theme of Jeremiah’s prayer was “Nothing is too hard for you” (v. 17 niv), and God reaffirmed that very truth to His servant (v. 27).10 Good theology always leads to a confident heart if we put our trust in the Word, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17 nkjv). The Lord’s reply to Jeremiah affirmed what He had told him in the past: The city was heading for certain destruction because of the repeated sins of the people (Jer. 32:28–35). Their sin of idolatry had provoked the Lord, and the only solution was to put them in the land of Babylon and give them their fill of idols. Because the people had resisted the prophets and refused to obey the law, they would have to take the consequences.
The Lord then affirmed to Jeremiah that the situation wasn’t lost, for He would gather His people and bring them back to their land (vv. 36–44). This promise seems to apply to the end times when Israel will be gathered out of all “countries” (v. 37) and the new covenant will be in force, for the people will have a changed heart toward the Lord. Next, Jeremiah heard the word that gave him joy: “And fields shall be bought in this land” (v. 43). The day would come when Jeremiah’s purchase would be validated and his “action sermon” vindicated!
The application of this Scripture for today’s believer is obvious: The world laughs at us for our faith and our investments in the future, but one day God will keep His promises and vindicate us before people and angels. Instead of living for the sinful pleasures of this present world, we seek the joys of the world to come. We refuse to sacrifice the eternal for the temporal. The unbelieving world may ridicule us, but ultimately God will vindicate His people”.