DEVOTION:When God Seems Not To Make Sense!
There are many things God asks His prophets, His servants and His people to do that do not make sense to us. Even though Jeremiah was a faithful prophet of God who fulfilled his assignment in spite of the difficulties he faced, there were times when what God asked him to do did not make sense. In today’s passage, Jeremiah finds himself confused by what God is doing. On the one hand, Jeremiah was happy that his prophecy about the impending judgment of Judah was being fulfilled. He was happy because his message was being authenticated before his own eyes, which also resulted in his confirmation as a true prophet of God to those who doubted his calling.
Here are the circumstances that prevailed when Jeremiah received this new assignment from God.
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. The army of the king of Babylon was then besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was confined in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace of Judah. Jeremiah 32:1-2
Jeremiah was imprisoned for the following reasons:
Now Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him there, saying, “Why do you prophesy as you do? You say, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will capture it. Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape the Babylonians but will certainly be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and will speak with him face to face and see him with his own eyes. He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, where he will remain until I deal with him, declares the Lord. If you fight against the Babylonians, you will not succeed.’” Jeremiah 32:3-5
While Jeremiah was still imprisoned, God sent him this message that caused some confusing moments to the prophet Jeremiah.
Jeremiah said, “The word of the Lord came to me: Hanamel son of Shallum your uncle is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth, because as nearest relative it is your right and duty to buy it.’ Jeremiah 32:6-7
Within no time, Hanamel came. Listen to Jeremiah narrate this story:
Then, just as the Lord had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard and said, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. Since it is your right to redeem it and possess it, buy it for yourself. Jeremiah 32:8
In obedience to God’s word, Jeremiah proceeded to buy the land and made sure it was done legally.
I knew that this was the word of the Lord; so I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel and weighed out for him seventeen shekels on the scales. I took the deed of purchase—the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, as well as the unsealed copy—and I gave this deed to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and of the witnesses who had signed the deed and of all the Jews sitting in the courtyard of the guard. Jeremiah 32:8c-12
This next portion of the passage reveals the purpose for which God had instructed Jeremiah to buy this piece of land. Pay close attention to what he does with the documents themselves.
“In their presence I gave Baruch these instructions: ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Take these documents, both the sealed and unsealed copies of the deed of purchase, and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time. For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’ Jeremiah 32:13-15
Little known to anyone else, this disturbed the prophet Jeremiah. That he resolved to take this burden to the Lord in prayer.
“After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord: Jeremiah 32:16
From verses 17-23, he focuses on adoration, praises, and thanksgiving to the Lord. Then in the following verses, he lays down his burden before the Lord.
See how the siege ramps are built up to take the city. Because of the sword, famine and plague, the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians who are attacking it. What you said has happened, as you now see. And though the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians, you, Sovereign Lord, say to me, ‘Buy the field with silver and have the transaction witnessed. Jeremiahs 32:24-25
Did you get that which was confusing to Jeremiah? Here it is:
And though the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians, you, Sovereign Lord, say to me, ‘Buy the field with silver and have the transaction witnessed. Jeremiahs 32:25
Just in case you do not understand why this did not make sense for the prophet, let me highlight this again. Jeremiah was confined in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace because even though the Babylonians had surrounded the city of Jerusalem, Jeremiah never preached a message of victory over the Babylonians. Instead, he said God was about to hand over the city and Zedekiah king of Judah into the hands of the king of Babylon. And this was a clear message of God to the people of Judah. What confused Jeremiah were the instructions to purchase a land for himself while the whole land of Judah was about to be taken over by the King of Babylon. This did not make sense to the prophet Jeremiah. How do you purchase something that is about to be in the hands of someone else?
Read again the prayer of Jeremiah and you can sense his perturbed heart. God heard the prayer of Jeremiah and immediately gave him an answer. God gave an assurance that the prophecy to destroy city of Jerusalem would come to pass. This is the Lord’s declaration:
Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Therefore this is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who will capture it. The Babylonians who are attacking this city will come in and set it on fire; they will burn it down, along with the houses where the people aroused my anger by burning incense on the roofs to Baal and by pouring out drink offerings to other gods. Jeremiah 32:26-29
Then God gave this message of hope for the people who were about to become exiles in Babylon.
I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. Jeremiah 32:37-38
Then He explained to Jeremiah what would happen when He gathered the exiles and brought them back to the land of Judah.
This is what the Lord says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them. Once more fields will be bought in this land of which you say, ‘It is a desolate waste, without people or animals, for it has been given into the hands of the Babylonians.’ Fields will be bought for silver, and deeds will be signed, sealed and witnessed in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, because I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 32:42-44
This helped to explain why God told Jeremiah to purchase the land and get a deed signed as a sign that the people of Judah would return to the Promised Land.
- Has the Lord ever asked you to do something that did not make sense you?
- What was it?
- Did you do it?
- What were the results?
- Did it ever become clear to you why the Lord gave you these instructions?
- Do you know of any other person in the Bible whom God asked to do something that did not make sense?
- Here are a some lessons from this story:
- Even though Jeremiah did not fully understand why God asked him to buy the Land, he still went ahead and did it. In the same way when God asks us to do something, we should do it whether we understand it or not.
- When God commands us to do something, He is not asking us to understand. He wants us to trust and obey Him. It is hard to obey God if we do not trust that He can do anything.
- It is ok to be confused or bewildered by God’s commands. We cannot always understand what God is doing. Listen to what He told Isaiah.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
- In most cases, when God is asking you to do something that does not make sense, He is testing your faith in Him. This is exactly what He did to Abraham. He asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son through whom He had promised he would make a great nation.
So next time God asks you to do something that does not make sense to you
Remember this hymn:
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
This will help you
WHEN GOD SEEMS NOT TO MAKE SENSE!
Read: Jeremiah 32:1- 44
Marked: Jeremiah 32:24-25
By Pastor Shadrack Ruto