Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts, great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds. – Jeremiah 32:17-19 ESV
The armies of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon were besieging the gates of Jerusalem. Everything Jeremiah had been warning the people of Judah would happen is about to take place. The end is in sight. Jeremiah had been placed under arrest by King Zedekiah because he didn’t like the tone or content of his message. It seems that the king thought that by locking Jeremiah up he could alter the inevitable. But God’s will was going to be done. Jeremiah had simply shared the word of the Lord. “Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall capture it; Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him face to face and see him eye to eye. And he shall take Zedekiah to Babylon, and there he shall remain until I visit him, declares the Lord. Though you fight against the Chaldeans, you shall not succeed’” (Jeremiah 32:3-5 ESV).
In the midst of all this chaos and confusion, and with the Babylonians poised to take possession of the land of Judah, Jeremiah received a personal word from the Lord telling him to buy a piece of property. As crazy as it may have sounded, Jeremiah did what the Lord instructed him to do, because God had given him the assurance, “Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land” (Jeremiah 32:15 ESV). Based on the promise of God and in spite of what he knew was about to happen, Jeremiah obeyed. He bought the land and he put the deeds in an earthenware jar and buried it in the ground so that it would last a long time, just as God had instructed him. And then Jeremiah prayed.
“Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” Things may have appeared bleak and despairing from Jeremiah’s perspective, but he knew that God had it all under control. The same God who had created the entire universe would have no problem handling the Babylonian situation. In fact, it was all His doing. He had sent King Nebuchadnezzar and his troops to besiege and conquer the land of Judah, taking the people captive. And He would fulfill His promise to restore them to the land because nothing is too difficult for him. Jeremiah acknowledged that God had shown unbelievable love for and patience toward the people of Judah for generations. But the consistent rebellion of the people and their constant sinning against Him was about to catch up to them. Their stubbornness and insubordination could be traced back all the way to the generation that He had set free from captivity in Egypt. And their propensity for sin had been passed down from one generation to the next until God had deemed it necessary to put an end to it all. But rather than question the wisdom of God, Jeremiah acknowledged His character. “O great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts, great in counsel and mighty in deed.” He knew God was in the right. From Jeremiah’s perspective, God was all-wise and all-powerful. He was great and mighty. And as the Lord of hosts, He was ultimately in charge of everything and everyone, including Nebuchadnezzar and his troops. Not only that, Jeremiah knew that God’s “eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds.” No matter how unfair things may have appeared to Jeremiah, he knew God was justified in His actions. He was righteous in all His ways.
This simple introduction to Jeremiah’s prayer, when taken in the context of all that was going on, gives us a wonderful reminder to always give greater significance to God’s character than to our circumstances. God never ceases being the Lord of hosts. He is always in control and never lacking in power. Nothing is ever too difficult for Him. We must always balance the knowledge of God’s everlasting love with His divine duty to discipline those He loves. God could not allow the people of Judah to continue to dishonor His name and flaunt their privileged position as His people. Sin always has consequences. But in the midst of it all, Jeremiah kept his eyes focused on God. The eternal, unchanging nature of God was his rock in the middle of the storm. He knew he could count on God to come through in the end and fulfill His promise of future restoration. When everything around us is unstable, we need to rely on the One who is always a rock and firm foundation. When surrounded by uncertainty, we must place our trust in the One who never changes or proves Himself unreliable. Nothing is too hard for Him.