I was reading more in Sharing God’s Heart for the Poor, and this chapter really struck me about a passage I’ve read many times but never really understood until now, so here is my comments on it, which will be my last blog about this particular book.
Picture this- you are living in a country on the brink of ruin, surrounded by armies that are attacking you. You have no option to pretend it isn’t happening, as God keeps telling you to tell others that it is happening, and your country will fall, along with a lot of the people. Everyone’s scared, everyone thinks you’re crazy, no one listens. You lose heart and hope.
Then God does something really insane. He tells you to buy land that is now behind enemy lines, land that, for all intents and purposes, is useless to you or anyone who is not the invading army. Your cousin owns it and wants to dump it off on you- you’re the crazy prophet right? Maybe you’ll actually buy it- to get a little money. And he asks full price for it, to add insult to injury. And God tells you to buy it!
So what do you do? You buy it. Add to the rumor mill of your need for padded walls….
So, the million dollar question is- just WHY does God want you to buy this worthless land? What’s the point- he’s already told you that you’re going into captivity, with no promise of you personally coming out alive. Why does He keep making you look so foolish? And, at the root of it, what does the purchase say about God?
It’s all about redemption.
The land is seen as worthless, but is sold at a premium because it had value to the buyer- and the real buyer was God, who told Jeremiah to buy it.
The land is seen as a dead end, but it is sold under a long-lasting contract, as a long-term investment in life.
The land is seen as something unobtainable, yet the deed is placed where it will last for a long time- until the time that it is obtainable again.
Now change the land into a person.
Who the world sees as worthless, a throwaway, God sees as very very valuable and spends everything to obtain.
Who the world sees as a dead end, beyond repair and too broken, God invests into for their whole life, seeking to heal.
Who the world sees as too closed and hurt to ever be touched, God works on slowly, over time, until they can finally open up and be touched by Him.
I’m ashamed to say that often times ‘the world’ includes Christianity. But, everything God does really does look foolish. As a good friend of mine says- God really does have a massive sense of humor. So having a heart of compassion, to see the real value, often times is the ability to step out and look foolish. And that’s where the trust part comes in. Trusting that God will make good on His promises of restoration and love.
Just something to think about. You can read the story here, or look it up and find the surrounding verses too… J
Jeremiah 32:8-17 NIV Now it happened just as the LORD had said! My cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guardhouse. He said to me, ‘Buy my field which is at Anathoth in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. Buy it for yourself since you are entitled as my closest relative to take possession of it for yourself.’ When this happened, I recognized that the LORD had indeed spoken to me. 9 So I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel. I weighed out seven ounces of silver and gave it to him to pay for it. 10 I signed the deed of purchase, sealed it, and had some men serve as witnesses to the purchase. I weighed out the silver for him on a scale. 11 There were two copies of the deed of purchase. One was sealed and contained the order of transfer and the conditions of purchase. The other was left unsealed. 12 I took both copies of the deed of purchase and gave them to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah. I gave them to him in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed of purchase, and all the Judeans who were housed in the courtyard of the guardhouse. 13 In the presence of all these people I instructed Baruch, 14 ‘The LORD God of Israel who rules over all says, “Take these documents, both the sealed copy of the deed of purchase and the unsealed copy. Put them in a clay jar so that they may be preserved for a long time to come.”’ 15 For the LORD God of Israel who rules over all says, “Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land.”’
16 “After I had given the copies of the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the LORD, 17 ‘Oh, Lord GOD, you did indeed make heaven and earth by your mighty power and great strength. Nothing is too hard for you! (Copied from theword.net Bible software)