Jeremiah 32:6-15 (NRSV)
6 Jeremiah said, The word of the LORD came to me: 7 Hanamel son of your uncle Shallum is going to come to you and say, “Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.” 8 Then my cousin Hanamel came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the LORD, and said to me, “Buy my field that is at Anathoth in theland of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.” Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.
9 And I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, and weighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver. 10 I signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses, and weighed the money on scales. 11 Then I took the sealed deed of purchase, containing the terms and conditions, and the open copy; 12 and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, in the presence of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, and in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in the court of the guard. 13 In their presence I charged Baruch, saying, 14 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, in order that they may last for a long time. 15 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.
Jeremiah is a long book of prophecy. For 31 chapters he has spoken about the destruction of the southern kingdom of Judah and its capital, Jerusalem. Now, in chapter 32 he is told by God to purchase a field from his cousin. And God declares that “houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.”
Jeremiah prophesied in Jerusalem. He was there when the Babylonians besieged the city and took its leaders off into exile into Babylon. It was seemingly “the end of the world” as he knew it. And, God commanded him to buy a field. We need to learn from that as we face our own challenging times.
We are going through some economically bad times right now. It is affecting all of us, but some of us are affected more than others. We need to hang on to some hope right now. There is the old adage that “it is darkest before the dawn.” In terms of the stock market there has been a regular pattern in history that when almost everyone has given up, pulled their money out of the market and stopped investing, that is precisely the time when the market will start going up. I don’t know if we have hit the bottom in the stock market yet. I don’t know when the economy will bottom out and start growing again. But I am sure that it will and that the economy will turn positive again. I hang onto my hope, and this passage of scripture guides me to believe that when all seems lost, we should continue to believe that a good future awaits us.
The exile in Babylon lasted for a generation. Jeremiah did not live to see the end of it. The land he bought probably was passed on to one of his descendants. What can we pass on to the next generations because of these difficult times we are experiencing? There are a lot of things, but I would offer these for today:
- Debt is potentially very dangerous, especially when we are using to buy what we cannot afford.
- Home values do not always go up, especially in the short-term, and a home is still a home more than an investment.
- When we are going through tough times, people need to stick together as families and friends.
- The end of the world has not come. It did not come during the Great Depression. It is not likely to come now. Continue to have hope.
- These economically hard times will not last for a generation.
Today is a day like any other day. It is a day in which we can care for each other. It is a day when we can build each other up. It is a day to have hope.
Dearest God, continue to inspire each of us to have hope in the future and in our futures. May the times in which we live cause us to be drawn closer to each other. Help us to care for each other and to love each other. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.