16 “After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord:
17 “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.18 You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the parents’ sins into the laps of their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, 19 great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve. 20 You performed signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours. 21 You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror. 22 You gave them this land you had sworn to give their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey. 23 They came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey you or follow your law; they did not do what you commanded them to do. So you brought all this disaster on them.
24 “See how the siege ramps are built up to take the city. Because of the sword, famine and plague, the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians who are attacking it. What you said has happened, as you now see. 25 And though the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians, you, Sovereign Lord, say to me, ‘Buy the field with silver and have the transaction witnessed.’”
(Jeremiah 32:16-25 NIV)
In yesterday’s passage, the Lord spoke to Jeremiah in jail and told him to buy his cousin’s field when his cousin offered it to him. This purchase was a sign of promise from the Lord to Jeremiah as well as the people of Judah.
In today’s text, Jeremiah closes the deal, sends his friend Baruch off to store the legal paperwork, then prays. The majority of today’s passage is Jeremiah’s prayer. This prayer is very similar to Nehemiah 9:5-37, where the Israelites confessed their sins before the Lord.
As I was studying this passage, the analytical side of me pictured a chart as the best way to summarize this prayer. While Jeremiah prayed this prayer during a very desperate time, this prayer also keeps us centered on the Lord when times are good.
Notice the similarities to Jesus’ prayer as He taught His disciples to pray (Luke 11:1-4). Jesus did not start out with “I need…”, but rather with “God, You are…”, recognizing the Lord’s hand in all parts of life.
May we remember that God created us to serve His purposes, not vice versa.
Let’s not dwell on the problems of our past; as followers of Christ, our problems are part of our story but do not define us.
Let’s not dwell on the pains of our present, as they will not last forever. Like Jeremiah, we know that a future awaits.
Let’s instead focus on the Lord, who hold the past, the present, and the future.
May we remember that the future is not a puzzle or riddle to be solved. Rather, it is a mystery to watch the Lord unfold like a beautiful flower opening from its bud.
And somehow, He uses us and transforms us in the process.
Now that is worthy of our praise.