Perhaps to your surprise, Jeremiah 32, in large measure, concerns the real estate purchase of a prophet. Now, to be clear, you wouldn’t expect this chapter to show up on a must read list of books for any beginning real estate investor. In fact, on the surface, this acquisition had just about all the makings of a bad deal. First, consider where Jeremiah was – in prison (Jer. 32:2-3). Not exactly the place from whence you’d expect such transactions to occur. Second, as many investors will tell you, a primary mark of a good piece of land is location. As the saying goes, ‘Location, location, location.’ Well, Jeremiah was about to buy a plot of land that was likely already invaded and overrun by the Babylonians. After all, if the Babylonians had already surrounded Jerusalem (vs.2) they likely already subdued Anathoth, which was only a few miles away from Jerusalem (vs.7). But Jeremiah didn’t make this purchase because he lacked the savvy foresight of a prudent investor or the sense to understand that captured land does not hold much value, he did it because the God who spoke through him also spoke to him. Yahweh predicted that he would have this opportunity, and Jeremiah knew that God wanted him to buy the land to make a point. But before we see the point first we ought to hear the word of LORD that came to Jeremiah (vs.6),
On the night that Jesus was betrayed He took the cup after supper and spoke words that any Jewish person familiar with the Old Testament would have marveled to hear, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Lk. 22:20b). At long last the time had come! The covenant spoken about approximately six hundred years earlier via the prophet Jeremiah was about to be implemented and ratified with the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross. This was, and is, cause for celebration. But such celebration must be fueled by understanding (cf. Ps. 47:7b). And if we are to understand and appreciate this New Covenant it is good to begin by setting it against the backdrop of the Old Covenant – at least that’s how Jeremiah presented it in the passage before us.
It was a word that either came to Jeremiah in his sleep or brought him peace that prompted a measure of good sleep (Jer. 31:26) – tidings of comfort while on the verge of calamity. The Babylonian siege was reaching its end, which meant that so was the nation of Judah’s ability to sustain life and prevent invasion. And it was at that time, when the landscape of life looked bleak, and Babylonian forces were on the brink of besieging Jerusalem, that God spoke great promises of incredible hope. Such is why this portion of Jeremiah, particularly chapters 30 through 33, are known as the ‘Book of Consolation.’ So while there have been some portions in the previous chapters of Jeremiah that have communicated hope (i.e. Jer. 3:15-18; 23:5-6), what comes in these chapters is, if you will, a tidal wave of hope, with promises that would have both near and far fulfillments, promises of restoration spatially and regeneration spiritually.
Perhaps one of the most quoted verses in modern day evangelicalism is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” It’s often quoted by those in the pulpits and the pews alike to say – God has a plan for your life; walk in it; it’s a good plan. It may be found in a picture frame in someone’s home or on a professional athlete’s shoes. It might be sent from one person to another via text or shared on Facebook time after time for encouragement. But while the verse is often shared, the context is often left behind, making it probably one of the misinterpreted passages of Scripture.
Have you ever had someone tell someone else that you said something you never actually said? If so, you’ve probably found that your level of appropriate frustration was greater or smaller depending on how serious the misrepresentation was. But regardless, most of us (if not all of us) do not like the idea of somebody putting words in our mouth that were never actually there. And if you find that irritating you are catching a tiny glimpse of how God feels when fallen man does that very thing to Him. It’s one of the reasons why not many ought to be teachers (Jas. 3:1). It is a high and hefty responsibility to divide God’s word accurately (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15) and refrain from giving a message that God never gave (cf. Jer. 23:21b). But the latter was just the kind of thing that Hananiah was doing.