Reading through the Bible together
In this chapter there is a real issue that has theological implications. Jeremiah buys property, in the city from his cousin. On the surface this may seem like an ordinary family matter. Jeremiah was the next of kin and had the first choice to purchase of this property. This was not a very good time to invest in property, because the Babylonians were going to occupy the land. Jeremiah was therefore not obliged to buy this property.
The coming of the Babylonians to occupy the land was prophesied by Jeremiah himself to King Zedekiah and the inhabitants of the land of Judah. But God gets involved in the property deal (vs. 6-15). Jeremiah is informed in advance that Hanamel, his cousin, will make a request for him to buy this property. Even though it was not the best time to invest in property, God wanted to teach a lesson through this property purchase by the prophet. When God makes promises, He makes sure that they are fulfilled. The people will return to the land, they will occupy their houses again, and that is guaranteed through the prophet’s personal experience in buying a place to build a house.
God sometimes interferes with our ability to evaluate the economic climate and socio-political environment. We may not receive a direct “thus saith the Lord” on major transactions such as buying property or a house. But it is important to remember that God wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives. We may therefore do well by spending time in prayer before buying a house or making a substantial investment. We may need to take time looking at the principles in God’s word that will guide us at the important starting point. Then on the basis of the principles from God’s word we can look at all other factors. This way we will be giving God the first place in our lives. There is no doubt that in the mind of Jeremiah God was first.
Jeremiah first obeys the Word of God and then entertains questions regarding the decisions he has to take. The main issue here is that he cannot see beyond the reality of the Babylonians coming and taking over the land. His concern is a human concern: “You have said to me, O Lord God, ‘Buy the field for money, and take witnesses’ – yet the city has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans” (v. 25).
Assoc. Professor and E.G.White Research Center Director
Helderberg College, South Africa