Summary: You can be confident in your faith
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Most of Jeremiah’s life was spent ministering in a country that was backslidden and approaching the impending judgment of God.
Born and raised a few miles northeast of Jerusalem, he was close enough to see what was happening there, but far enough away not to fall under the influence of those that were swiftly leading their nation towards disaster.
He was born into the lineage of the priesthood but he was called by God to be a prophet to his condemned nation while he was still just a young man.
For the next forty years, his life was a prophetic ministry. In addition to the stirring messages and prophecies that God gave him, many times it was the actions of Jeremiah that spoke louder than the words he uttered.
Like the prophet Hosea, God often called him to act out his faith.
Sometimes, even Jeremiah questioned the things that God asked him to do, but his obedience stands through the ages as a testimony to the depth of his faith in the promises of God.
I want to draw from a specific event that took place in the tenth year of Zedekiah’s (King of Judah, righteousness of Jehovah, prosperity) reign. It was a volatile time. The dark prophecies of Jeremiah were in the process of coming to pass. Zedekiah had allied himself with nations that were committed to throwing off the yoke of the Babylonians, while continuing to pay lip service to Babylon.
Eventually his rebellion came to the attention of Nebuchadnezzar, who invaded Judah and laid siege to Jerusalem. Even as events unfolded around him, Jeremiah continued to prophecy the downfall of both Zedekiah and the holy city. As result he was confined in the court of the prison. Zedekiah thought he would silence the prophet by locking him up
but what Zedekiah didn’t understand is that you can attempt to shackle the man of God, but you can’t bind the word of God.
It’s an eternal principle that Paul shared with Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:9, God’s word is not bound! It operates, regardless of circumstances!
It operates in spite of governments and kingdoms. It doesn’t know the limitations of human weakness. And so, right there, in the court of the prison, God’s Word came to Jeremiah.
The message the God had for Jeremiah seemed to defy logic. God told him that his cousin Hanamel was coming with an offer to sell a piece of property in their hometown of Anathoth. What makes this property so interesting is that it was land that had already been seized by the armies of Babylon. The field was virtually worthless, and Jeremiah knew it.
It would be 70 years before the Babylonian captivity would end.
There was no way that Jeremiah would ever reap any benefit of purchasing the field, he was no longer a young man and there was no chance that he would live to see the end of the coming captivity.
That, my friend, is exactly why God told him to buy the field. That is what faith is all about, it’s about obeying God in spite of what we see, how we feel, and what is going on around us.
By purchasing the field that was already possessed by the enemy Jeremiah was declaring that he had confidence in the promises of God.
He even went so far as to declare, as he was finishing the deal, in Jeremiah 32:15, “For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.”
Jeremiah defied conventional wisdom and human understanding when he bought, at full price, the land that had already been hopelessly lost to the enemy.
What he bought had no value, but he didn’t even endeavor to drive a bargain, he simply paid the asking price, buying the land as if the enemy did not possess it.
Jeremiah had declared, to all that would listen, that Jerusalem was about to fall under the wrath of God.
This time Nebuchadnezzar was playing for keeps.
It would seem, from the perspective of human wisdom that the purchase was the result of some wishful thinking or some blind leap of faith.
But that’s not what it was at all.
Faith isn’t wishful thinking.
Faith isn’t blind trust in the face of contrary evidence.
Faith isn’t the product of a blind leap. Faith -- true biblical faith, the kind of faith that the writer of Hebrews is writing about, is a settled confidence in things that have been promised but have not yet been seen.
It was an act of faith that bought the field. It was Jeremiah putting his money where his mouth is and buying into the promise of God. It was by the word of God that he had declared that, even as bleak as the future looked at that moment, there was a day coming, seven decades in the future when once again they would buy and sell vineyards, when once again they would build homes, have families and enjoy peace.