Would you buy a field in the middle of a war zone? I wouldn’t do it, especially if the offer came to me from a cousin who knew the land was already under siege. I wouldn’t buy “swamp land in Florida” or bet on a loveable-but-always-losing team either. Offering to sell a field in the middle of a war zone is ridiculous. But accepting that offer is even more absurd. And yet, that is exactly what the prophet Jeremiah did.
In Jeremiah 32, the prophet, who’s in jail for warning of the coming exile, receives an “opportunity” to purchase land from a cousin. At best, it’s a questionable offer. In reality, it’s downright shady. Everyone knew Jerusalem would soon be under siege. The Babylonians were already invading the land in question. Soon Jeremiah and his people would be carried into exile for 70 years. Because he was the one who delivered this hard word from God, Jeremiah knew he was never going to reap any benefits from owning that war torn field.
And yet, he buys it anyway.
It is important to note that the prophet does everything necessary to legally seal the deal. He ensures that his family would have a record of his ownership in the future by having the documents preserved in a clay jar “so they will last a long time.” He takes a hope-filled action in a seemingly hopeless situation. But he isn’t engaged in wishful thinking. He’s rooted in the promise of God that says, “Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land” (Jeremiah 32:15).
In the midst of all this chaos and pain, God continues to invite us to join him in loving the world.
In many ways, our current cultural moment can feel like a battlefield. We face more social, economic, and environmental uncertainties than we care to acknowledge. Many of us are overwhelmed by pandemic-related losses. Additionally, our lives are littered with broken relationships, the evidence of the battles we’ve had about history, politics, and even masks. And while politicians and communities battle over how to respond to deeply entrenched issues like poverty, homelessness, and violence, our most vulnerable neighbors continue to suffer.
In the midst of all this chaos and pain, God continues to invite us to join him in loving the world. Like Jeremiah, we are invited to invest ourselves and our resources in situations that seem hopeless. We’re called to love folks whom others deem unlovable, to become the book of Isaiah’s “Repairer of Broken Walls” in neighborhoods where restoration seems impossible.
In short, we’re called to buy a field, in the middle of a war zone, as an act of hope.
Whether we live in the hills, the heights, or the center of the city, we can trust that the promise of God to Jeremiah is a promise for us today. We can join with God and buy a field in hope, knowing that renewal might be a long way off, but it is on the way. “Houses, fields, and vineyards” will be bought again. Lives will be restored, and neighborhoods will be renewed.
In this season where struggles abound, listen for God’s invitation to invest in Jeremiah’s field. And then, like Jeremiah, take action, trusting in the will and Word of God.