Behold, the siege mounds have come up to the city to take it, and because of sword and famine and pestilence the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans who are fighting against it. What you spoke has come to pass, and behold, you see it. Yet you, O Lord God, have said to me, “Buy the field for money and get witnesses”—though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans. – Jeremiah 32:24-25 ESV
Things could not have looked any bleaker than they did when Jeremiah prayed this prayer. The armies of Babylon were camped outside the city of Jerusalem, siege mounds surrounded the walls, and disease and famine were commonplace within them. God was bringing the judgment Jeremiah had long warned would come if the people did not repent and return to Him. And yet, in the midst of the eminent threat of defeat and the looming reality of captivity, God had given Jeremiah a small glimpse of what was to come. He had instructed Jeremiah to buy a field. In essence, He was asking Jeremiah to invest in the future of Israel. It was a case of insider trading, because God knew something Jeremiah could not have known. God had already given Jeremiah a heads up about what was to come. “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:10-11 ESV). But now God wanted Jeremiah to have some personal stock in the reality of that promise. He wanted Jeremiah to put his money where his mouth had been and invest in the future of Israel, based on nothing more than the promise of God.
That seems to be how God works with us so often. He had told Noah to build an ark and fill it with animals, when there wasn’t even enough water to float a boat anywhere on the planet at that time. He asked Abram to leave his homeland and head to an unknown destination, all based on what had to sound to Abram like an impossible dream. God had David anointed the next king of Israel, but then allowed him to spend the next years of his life running from Saul, the current king and resident madman. Jesus chose His twelve disciples, told them that He was going to establish His kingdom on earth, and then they had to stand by and watch as He was crucified on a Roman cross. The promises of God don’t always appear as we might expect them. They don’t always work out according to our timeline or in the manner we might prefer. But faith is about trusting God. The author of Hebrews describes it this way: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV). Assurance and conviction in the unseen and, as yet, unfulfilled. It is a determined belief in the reality of what has yet to take place. God was asking Jeremiah to put shoe leather to his faith and some cash behind his conviction. All based on nothing more than the word of God.
And as soon as Jeremiah finished his prayer, God would respond with a rhetorical question: “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:26 ESV). In a way, He was asking Jeremiah, “Don’t you trust me?” He knew that this was all a lot for Jeremiah to take in, so He gave Jeremiah some further assurances. “Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Jeremiah 32:37-38 ESV). He let Jeremiah know that His word concerning the punishment of Judah was be fulfilled, but that would not be the last word regarding their fate. He had more in store. He had a timeline and a plan in place that would assure their restoration to the land. And God would keep that plan perfectly and faithfully.
Sometimes all we have are the promises of God, and they can appear vague and distant to us. We may not fully understand the nature of those promises or understand how God is going to bring them about. But He asks us to trust Him. He asks us to have assurance and conviction, based on nothing more than His character and reputation. God told Jeremiah, “Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them” (Jeremiah 32:42 ESV). He had kept His word regarding the coming destruction of Judah, so why would He not keep His word concerning their future restoration? God doesn’t lie. He doesn’t make promises and not keep them. God had promised to send the Messiah and He did – in the form of His own Son. He has promised eternal life to those who believe in His Son. He has promised to send His Son again. He has promised to restore righteousness to the world. He has promised to put an end to sin, death, sorrow, pain, and suffering. Will we trust Him? Are we willing to invest ourselves in the present based on the future promises of God? Is anything too difficult for our God? Can He bring about what He has promised? Will He do what He has said He will do? Faith operates on the basis of trust and hope in the fact that He can and He will.