21 May, 2024

July 23 | Hope in God’s Promise

by | 17 July, 2023 | 0 comments

Unit: Jeremiah (Part 2)
Theme:​ ​Hope for the Hopeless
Lesson text: Jeremiah 32:2, 6-9, 16-27, 36-41
Supplemental texts: Jeremiah 33:7-11; Matthew 19:25-26; Luke 1:35-38; Romans 4:18-21
Aim: Hope in God’s promise even when it seems impossible.

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Download a PDF of this week’s lesson material (the study by Mark Scott, the Application by David Faust, and Discovery Questions by Michael C. Mack): LOOKOUT_July23_2023.

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By Mark Scott

Kids say, “Promises, promises.” The interpretation is, “Talk is cheap; you make promises, but you do not deliver on your promises.” But in contrast to kids (and adults), God does deliver on his promises. In the case of Judah’s captivity in Babylon, God promised to bring his people back to the Promised Land, and he did. Against all odds, Jeremiah was calling on his people to believe in the promises of God (cf. Romans 4:18-21; Hebrews 11:13-16). 

The setting for the lesson is established in the first five verses of Jeremiah 32. Zedekiah was in the 10th year of his reign and had turned against Nebuchadnezzar. He had imprisoned Jeremiah in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace of Judah (Jeremiah 32:2). He did not like what he considered to be the treasonous prophecies of Jeremiah about surrendering to Nebuchadnezzar. Zedekiah did not like hearing that he would be deposed and shipped off to Babylon. 

A Time to Invest 
Jeremiah 32:6-9 

While in prison, Jeremiah received word from God that his uncle Hanamel (God is gracious) would visit him. God told Jeremiah that Hanamel was going to offer to sell a field to him. Why would anyone want to buy a field when the country was about to surrender? During such chaos, is it a good time to invest in real estate? However, this was in keeping with Mosaic Law (Leviticus 25:25-28); plus, an example of this is in the book of Ruth (4:1-6). In fact, to perpetuate a family’s viability, the nearest relative bore the responsibility to purchase the land.  

Sure enough, Hanamel visited Jeremiah and made him the offer. This field was at Anathoth (the name means “answers to prayer”), just miles from Jerusalem—an area that may well have already been in control of Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah obeyed the Lord and purchased the field. Jeremiah 32:10-15 (not part of the lesson text) affirmed that the deal was sealed. Jeremiah paid seventeen shekels of silver (about seven ounces) for the property. This investment would make sense only if God kept his promise about bringing his people back to possess this land. This explained why Baruch was given the deed to care for after the transaction (32:16). 

A Time to Pray 
Jeremiah 32:16-27 

Jeremiah must have thought the property transfer rather absurd. So, he prayed that God would make good on it all. In his prayer, Jeremiah acknowledged God’s great power and outstretched arm and admitted nothing was too hard for the Lord. This phrase occurred again in question form (v. 26).  

Jeremiah’s prayer contains a juxtaposing of elements. On the one hand, he knew that God showed love (chesed—loyal love) to thousands. But he also knew God allowed the ripple effects of the sins of parents to be felt by their children. While God is open to the ways of all mankind, still he reward(s) each person according to their conduct. God had brought Israel out of Egypt with miracles (which continued) and gave them the land flowing with milk and honey. But Israel did not obey or follow God’s law, so now God was at the precipice of bringing disaster on them.  

Jeremiah admitted in his prayer that this judgment had more than begun. The Babylonians had brought siege ramps, sword, famine, and plague to Israel’s doorstep. Buying land did not seem wise to Jeremiah, but he did it anyway because nothing was too hard for the Lord.  

A Time to Return 
Jeremiah 32:36-41 

The verses that precede this paragraph offer a gruesome picture of the burning of the city of Jerusalem. It looked bleak. But God promised to gather his people from the land of their oppressors and bring them back to let them live in safety.  

Once back, God would restore their relationship. They would be his people and he would be their God. He would give them singleness of heart and action (one heart and one way), and they would experience peace for themselves and their children. God would make an everlasting covenant with them. God would do good by them to the point of inspiring the people to properly fear God and never turn away from him. God would not be passive in this. He would do it with all his heart and soul. No matter how glum the circumstances seem, God will make good on his promises. 

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