Jeremiah 32-34: God Keeps His Promises
October 13, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Jeremiah, like many a faithful preacher since (cf. Paul and John Bunyan), was in prison for faithfully proclaiming God’s word (32:2-3). His message has been that Jerusalem will fall to the Babylonians. But now, surprise, surprise, God tells Jeremiah to buy a field (32:6-8). Why would God ask Jeremiah to invest in the property market of Jerusalem when he knew full well that the city was about to be sacked?
Jeremiah is certain this word comes from God (32:8), and so he goes ahead and buys the field (32:9-15). But he does not understand why. So he prays and asks God why it is that he has been asked to do such a thing (32:16-25). It is no sin to ask for understanding from God. Jeremiah’s prayer is a masterpiece of theological understanding of the big story of God’s plan, and he requests God to bring clarity to parts of what he has been asked to do that now confuse him. In the middle of the prayer he confesses that “nothing is too hard” for God (32:17). And that very confession of faith in God’s power becomes the key with which God unlocks Jeremiah’s heart in God’s reply. “Is anything too hard for me?” God asks (32:27). And because of that truth, that Jeremiah knew and God reaffirmed, it is possible that God can, and now he promises that he will, bring God’s people again back from exile (32:37). The field that Jeremiah has bought is a token of that promise. There will come a day when the property market in Jerusalem is thriving again (32:43).
God’s word comes to Jeremiah a second time (Jeremiah 33). “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (33:3). These “great things” are the extraordinary truth that God will “restore the fortunes” of God’s people (33:7) and that the famous song of praise will be sung again (33:11). What is more, “the days are coming” when God will “fulfill the promise,” and a “righteous Branch” will “spring up for David” (33:14-15). There is in David’s line a Messianic king to come. If Jeremiah doubts the possibility of this fulfillment, it is as impossible that the covenant will be broken as it is that the covenant of day and night—the way that day and night function could be broken (33:20). If you doubt God’s word, then observe how day follows night. So certain is God’s promise.
But what of the more immediate future? That is addressed in chapter 34. King Zedekiah shall not die “by the sword” but shall “die in peace” (34:4-5). Those who continue to break God’s word by holding slaves will suffer the consequences of that covenant breaking, as originally promised right back in Genesis 15:10 (34:18).
If you ever think it is too hard for God to do what he has promised to do, remember he keeps his promises. And if one day even that seems too hard to believe, remember the sunrise. If you live your life with fair confidence that the sun will rise again tomorrow, that kind of level of certainty is one that you can have that God will keep his word.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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