God’s Word Goes Forth: Come to the Lord in Prayer
Jeremiah 32:16-44: Today’s reading contains Jeremiah's prayer, in which he recounts God's marvelous acts towards the children of Israel, and deeply deplores the lamentable state of the country, and the numerous provocations which have led to it. After which God is introduced declaring his purpose of giving up his people into the hands of their enemies, promising, however, to restore them in due time to their ancient possessions, and to make with them an everlasting covenant.
Today's Scripture: Jeremiah 32:27
“…I am the Lord, the God of all people. Nothing is too difficult for me.”
16 After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch, I prayed, 17 “Sovereign LORD, you made the earth and the sky by your great power and might; nothing is too difficult for you. 18 You have shown constant love to thousands, but you also punish people for the sins of their parents. You are a great and powerful God; you are the LORD Almighty. 19 You make wise plans and do mighty things; you see everything that people do, and you reward them according to their actions. 20 Long ago you performed miracles and wonders in Egypt, and you have continued to perform them to this day, both in Israel and among all the other nations, so that you are now known everywhere. 21 By means of miracles and wonders that terrified our enemies, you used your power and might to bring your people Israel out of Egypt. 22 You gave them this rich and fertile land, as you had promised their ancestors. 23 But when they came into this land and took possession of it, they did not obey your commands or live according to your teaching; they did nothing that you had ordered them to do. And so you brought all this destruction on them. 24 The Babylonians have built siege mounds around the city to capture it, and they are attacking. War, starvation, and disease will make the city fall into their hands. You can see that all you have said has come true. 25 Yet, Sovereign LORD, you are the one who ordered me to buy the field in the presence of witnesses, even though the city is about to be captured by the Babylonians. ” 26 Then the LORD said to me, 27 “I am the LORD, the God of all people. Nothing is too difficult for me. 28 I am going to give this city over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia and his army; they will capture it 29 and set it on fire. They will burn it down, together with the houses where people have made me angry by burning incense to Baal on the rooftops and by pouring out wine offerings to other gods. 30 From the very beginning of their history the people of Israel and the people of Judah have displeased me and made me angry by what they have done. 31 The people of this city have made me angry and furious from the day it was built. I have decided to destroy it 32 because of all the evil that has been done by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, together with their kings and leaders, their priests and prophets. 33 They turned their backs on me; and though I kept on teaching them, they would not listen and learn. 34 They even placed their disgusting idols in the Temple built for my worship, and they have defiled it. 35 They have built altars to Baal in Hinnom Valley, to sacrifice their sons and daughters to the god Molech. I did not command them to do this, and it did not even enter my mind that they would do such a thing and make the people of Judah sin. ” 36 The LORD, the God of Israel, said to me, “Jeremiah, the people are saying that war, starvation, and disease will make this city fall into the hands of the king of Babylonia. Now listen to what else I have to say. 37 I am going to gather the people from all the countries where I have scattered them in my anger and fury, and I am going to bring them back to this place and let them live here in safety. 38 Then they will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them a single purpose in life: to honor me for all time, for their own good and the good of their descendants. 40 I will make an eternal covenant with them. I will never stop doing good things for them, and I will make them fear me with all their heart, so that they will never turn away from me. 41 I will take pleasure in doing good things for them, and I will establish them permanently in this land. 42 Just as I have brought this disaster on these people, so I am going to give them all the good things that I have promised. 43 The people are saying that this land will be like a desert where neither people nor animals live, and that it will be given over to the Babylonians. But fields will once again be bought in this land. 44 People will buy them, and the deeds will be signed, sealed, and witnessed. This will take place in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah, and in the towns in the hill country, in the foothills, and in southern Judah. I will restore the people to their land. I, the LORD, have spoken. ”
Jeremiah’s purchase of the land does not seem to make sense—what value would it have once the Babylonians had captured it? But the land becomes a symbol of hope for the future of Jerusalem and for God’s promise to restore the people. When you think of the struggles of our world today—such as war, famine, and environmental degradation—what serves as a symbol of hope for you?
God, your promise to your people extends beyond our human limits of time and space. Help me to find hope in your vision of restoring all of creation that I may share that hope with others. Amen.
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