Paul writes this letter to his dear friend Timothy to help him discern issues facing the early church. The wisdom here for us is still relevant and refreshing. You’ll recall Timothy was a young protégé of Paul’s serving as a church leader in Ephesus. Paul was a bit of a father figure to Timothy, too, so you might sense that kind of dynamic in the writing.
You can likely think of your own close Christian friend who took delight in pouring into you over the years. Those are treasured relationships. You may also be the wise one doing the same for the next generation. With all that is happening in our world, it’s easy to get distracted and focus on unhealthy sources. How thankful we can be for wise counsel, like Paul’s.
It’s hard to imagine what living in a city under siege would be like. The fear of death and uncertainty of tomorrow would be crippling. When you’re caught in a place of panic, it can be hard to imagine peace and prosperity are even possible. But that’s God’s message in this reading.
Jeremiah even speaks of Jesus without mentioning him by name. We also know that Jerusalem will be rebuilt because it was a bustling city in the days Jesus walked this earth. You will recall high priests presiding in Jesus’ day as well. The Messianic hope had been sparked.
Rise and fall or is it fall and rise, the one that ends on a happier note with hope! Today’s reading covers the gamut in terms of what’s happening to the people of Israel. As I’m writing this, it’s Thanksgiving in the United States once again. I could have spent time reflecting only on the prediction of the fall, but on a day of giving thanks, it seemed appropriate to focus on both. Thankfully the Spirit prompted me accordingly!
How unbelievable and frightening it must have seemed to the people to hear Jeremiah’s words. That is assuming they were actually listening to the words of the LORD being spoken by Jeremiah. Their beloved Jerusalem was going to fall.
Jeremiah gives us a great example of prayer. He is still puzzling over his purchase of land from our last reading. And yet, instead of coming right out and asking God why, he includes the situation in his tribute to God’s power.
Think of your last prayer to God. Did you give him praise and honor for all he has done? Did you specify the mighty works that have gotten your attention? That’s what we see Jeremiah doing. God loves our adoration. Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.”
I can’t imagine purchasing some land while in prison, even it was a good deal. From the sounds of it, Jeremiah would be helping a relative by taking this property off his hands. In the real estate market of that day, this property was probably virtually worthless. The value would lie in the memories and traditions the family had invested in this land!
I’m not sure Jeremiah felt he had any choice. He had received a vision from God that his cousin, Hanamel, would come forth with this very offer. We already know of Jeremiah’s great faithfulness. Listening to God was his priority even while enduring hardship, mockery, and imprisonment. It seems God was giving Jeremiah the opportunity for an inheritance.