Sunday, January 15, 2023

“Buy the Field” [Matt's Messages]

“Buy the Field”
Uprooted - The Words of Jeremiah
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
January 15, 2023 :: Jeremiah 32:1-44

We’re in that bright section of Jeremiah that is often called the “Book of Hope” or the “Book of Comfort.” Chapters 30 through 33, where Jeremiah gets to share the good news for a change. The good news of the New Covenant. The good news of the restoration that is coming for the people of God who are right now headed into exile.

In this section, Jeremiah gets to explain more of the good plans that the LORD has in store for His people which He alluded to in our memory verse, Jeremiah 29:11. 

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jer. 29:11 NIVO). 

Hope and a future! That’s what this section is all about. And in chapter 32, Jeremiah gets to put his money where his mouth is. He gets to make a crazy real estate deal.

The LORD tells Jeremiah to “Buy the Field.”

What’s the craziest thing that the Lord has ever asked you to do?

The thing that was maybe the hardest to do. Or the thing that everybody around you thought that you were so stupid to do. It was just absurd. They couldn’t see the point. It was just ridiculous.

For example, that time when Jesus asked you to forgive that person who had hurt you so badly. Everybody around you was like, “Why would you do that? They don’t deserve that. That’s crazy.”

What’s the craziest thing that the Lord has ever asked you to do?

In chapter 32, the Lord asks Jeremiah to do something that seemed absolutely absurd.

Of course, by this time in his life, Jeremiah should be used to it. We’ve seen again and again how the Lord gave Jeremiah some really weird marching orders. Jeremiah was a walking symbol. He wasn’t allowed to marry. He wasn’t allowed to go to parties. He had to wear funny clothes and bury funny clothes. He had to smash pottery.

Well, this one might just take the cake. In chapter 32, the LORD tells Jeremiah to buy a less-than-worthless piece of land. Verse 1 has the setup for the story. Verse 1.

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. The army of the king of Babylon was then besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was confined in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace of Judah” (vv.1-2).

Verse 1 sets this story in the year 587 BC. This is like the last several months before the exile. The tenth year of the last king of Judah, Zedekiah. The eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. 

Nebuchadnezzar’s army has surrounded Jerusalem and is holding it in siege. It’s just a matter of time until the walls fall. And the temple falls. And the city is overrun by Babylonians. And the people will all go into exile.

This is what Jeremiah has been saying all along. It’s finally here. We’ve flashed forward to the end of the story. The part at the very end of 2 Kings.

And Jeremiah is in prison. Did you see that? He’s “confined to the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace of Judah.” We’re going to read more about how that came about later in the book. Chapter 37. But the king has Jeremiah under a kind of house-arrest. He can move around, but he can’t leave. 

Verses 3 through 5 explain why he’s in prison. V.3

“Now Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him there, saying, ‘Why do you prophesy as you do? You say, 'This is what the LORD says: I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will capture it. Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape out of the hands of the Babylonians but will certainly be handed over to the king of Babylon, and will speak with him face to face and see him with his own eyes. He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, where he will remain until I deal with him, declares the LORD. If you fight against the Babylonians, you will not succeed.'” (vv.3-5).

“Why do you talk like that? That sounds treasonous. Predicting that I’m going to lose and go into exile.” As if Jeremiah had any other choice as a true prophet of God to preach any other future!

Do you see the situation? Jeremiah is stuck in prison. The Babylonians are at the gate? Do you hear “hope and a future?”  It doesn’t feel like they have any hope. It doesn’t seem like they have any future! Everything bad is coming true. Everything that Jeremiah had predicted and Zedekiah hated to hear about is being fulfilled. Read chapter 52 to see it all come to pass.

These are the darkest days.

And it’s in those dark days that the LORD asks Jeremiah to buy the field.

Look at verse 6. “Jeremiah said, ‘The word of the LORD came to me [how many times has he said that, these forty years?! The word of the LORD came to me saying: ‘Hanamel son of Shallum your uncle is going to come to you and say, 'Buy my field at Anathoth, because as nearest relative it is your right and duty to buy it.'” Now, stop there for a second.

Do you get the picture? The LORD tells Jeremiah in advance that his cousin Hanamel is coming to visit him in prison. But he’s not coming to console Jeremiah or offer his support. He’s coming to try to pry some money out of him. Hanamel has a real-estate deal in mind for Jeremiah. He wants Jeremiah to buy one of his fields in their hometown of Anathoth.
Cousin Hanamel has probably gotten into financial trouble. He’s probably up to his ears in debt. He needs cahs, and he’s about to lose the family farm. And “Jeremiah, have I got a deal for you! You are the Kinsman Redeemer” for our family. Remember that idea from Leviticus chapter 25 and the Book of Ruth?

If a property was in danger of leaving the family, a Kinsman Redeemer would have the right and duty to get the family out of debt buy purchasing it. But this time, there’s no wonderful Ruth in the bargain. This deal is “Ruth-less!”

But you see what’s happened? Jeremiah is probably the oldest member of the family, and they are turning to him to bail them out of trouble by buying this farm.

Now, what should Jeremiah say to this deal? Humanly speaking, now. Remember a kinsman-reedemer can refuse if the deal is too bad.

This is a terrible deal. It’s really dumb. 

Think about it. Jeremiah is in prison. He can’t use that field. He can’t farm it. And he’s married. He has no kids to pass the field on to in the next generation. And, at that very moment, that field probably has Babylonians camped all over it!

“You want me to what?! You want me to buy what?! That’s crazy.” This field is less-than-worthless.

So, should Jeremiah buy the field?

Yes, he should. Here’s why. It’s point number one of three. 

Buy the field...


The LORD got Jeremiah ready for greedy Cousin Hanamel’s visit because He didn’t want Jeremiah to laugh in Hanamel’s face. He wanted him to take the deal. And even if He explained why, Jeremiah should take the deal just because the LORD said so. Look at verse 8.

“‘Then, just as the LORD had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard and said, 'Buy my field at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. Since it is your right to redeem it and possess it, buy it for yourself.' ‘I knew that this was the word of the LORD...”

It’s crazy! But it’s from the LORD, so I better do it. And I did. V.9

“ I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel and weighed out for him seventeen shekels of silver. [One, two, three....seventeen. It’s like burning “Benjamins.”] I signed and sealed the deed, had it witnessed, and weighed out the silver on the scales. I took the deed of purchase–the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, as well as the unsealed [reference] copy–and I gave this deed to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and of the witnesses who had signed the deed and of all the Jews sitting in the courtyard of the guard. ‘In their presence I gave Baruch these instructions: 'This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Take these documents, both the sealed and unsealed copies of the deed of purchase, and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time.” (vv.9-15).

This is the first time but not the last time that we’re told about Jeremiahs’ friend and administrative assistant Baruch. His name means “Blessing.” So he’s “Mr.  Blessing.”

Jeremiah does everything it takes to make this deal as legal and formal and public as it possibly could.  Hanamel was probably shocked out of his socks that Jeremiah took him up on the deal. And he’s happy to sign all of the papers. Everything is done according to Hoyle, and the documents are placed Mr. Blessing somewhere more safe than the courthouse.

Jeremiah makes the most ridiculous land deal there ever was. Jeremiah buys the field. Why?

Well, just because the LORD said so. That’s enough, right?

If the LORD tells you to love and forgive your enemy, that’s all the reason you really need.

If the LORD tells you to give money to the poor, that’s all the reason you really need.

If the LORD tells you to do something that seems crazy, and you know that it’s the LORD’s will because He said so in His word, then you should do it, no matter what it is. That’s all the reason you really need.

But the LORD is even more gracious than that. He loves to provide more reasons to obey Him. And Jeremiah knew at least part of why He wanted this one. Because of God’s plans. Plans for hope and a future. Look at verse 15. 

“Take these documents...put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time. For this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.'” (vv.14-15).

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you [to ‘shalom’ you] and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” 

“Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.” Hmm. Maybe it’s not the dumbest land deal there ever was. Maybe there’s a future for that land. And Jeremiah buying it is saying that he believes in that future with his whole heart and his whole wallet! You know you believe in it when it gets down to your wallet!

For so many years, they didn’t believe Jeremiah that judgment was coming. And now judgment has come. And now that judgment has come, Jeremiah is saying that there is a future after the judgment. There is hope on the way. And he believes it with his whole heart and his whole wallet. So he obeys. He buys the field!

And yet, he still has to wonder. He still has to feel like this is crazy. And so what do you do when you feel like what the LORD wants you to do is crazy? You pray, right? You talk to the LORD about it. And that’s exactly what Jeremiah does. Look at verse 16.

“‘After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the LORD: ‘Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”

Let’s make that point number two. Buy the field...


“When the sky was starless in the void of the night...
He spoke into the darkness and created the light.
Our God is an awesome God.” (Rich Mullins)

Jeremiah starts his prayer by praising God for being the Omnipotent Creator of all.

‘Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you."

Absolutely nothing. (cf. Don Moen)

Nothing is too difficult for Yahweh. 

The word for “hard” in verse 17 could be translated “wonderful” or “extraordinary.” Nothing is too out of the way for God to pull off. And that includes returning the exiles from their captivity, reversing the reversals that are happening the nation, restoring the people of God to the promised land.

“Nothing is too hard for you!”

Do you need to hear that this morning? Nothing is too difficult for the LORD.

Jeremiah has a list. He start with Genesis and works his way through the whole Old Testament showing just how powerful the LORD’s outstretched arm. Verse 18.

“You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the fathers' sins into the laps of their children after them. [That’s quoting Exodus 34.] O great and powerful God, whose name is the LORD Almighty, great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to all the ways of men; you reward everyone according to his conduct and as his deeds deserve.

You performed miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, both in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours. You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror. [We’ve been learning about that on Wednesday nights at Prayer Meeting. The Book of Exodus. V.22]

You gave them this land you had sworn to give their forefathers, a land flowing with milk and honey [That’s the book of Joshua.]. 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 upon them. [That’s the rest of the Old Testament. Judges through 2 Kings!]

‘See how the siege ramps are built up to take the city. Because of the sword, famine and plague, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians who are attacking it. What you said has happened, as you now see. And though the city will be handed over to the Babylonians, you, O Sovereign LORD, say to me, 'Buy the field with silver and have the transaction witnessed'” (vv.18-25).

That’s where we get our sermon title. Right there. Verse 25. “Buy the field.”

“You, O Sovereign LORD, say to me, ‘Buy the field.’” Do the crazy thing that LORD asks you to do because He is all powerful. He has all the power it takes to do everything He said He would do. So you can take it to the bank.

He can make us.
He can save us.
He can rescue us.
He can discipline us.
He can restore us.

Nothing is too difficult for Him.

Personally, I think that Jeremiah is struggling with doubt here. He knows this. He believes this. But it’s hard to see. All he sees is his own prison and siege-ramps at the walls of his beloved city. And he can see that it’s going to get harder before it gets better.

He knows that there’s death at the door.

And destruction.
And exile.
And it’s deserved.

But he also knows that the LORD is all powerful. Wonderfully powerful. And that He is also all faithful and amazingly gracious. That’s point number three and last.

Buy the field...


Because the LORD is faithful to all His promises and amazingly gracious in what He promises. Look at how the LORD answers back to Jeremiah’s prayer. Verse 26.

“Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: ‘I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (vv.26-27).

“You’re right, Jeremiah. I am Yahweh. I am the God who made and is over all humankind. And let me ask you a rhetorical question, ‘Is anything too ‘wonderful, extraordinary, difficult, hard for me?’ No, sir, it is not.’”

"I can do anything I say that I will. And you can count on the fact that I will do anything I have said I will do and  everything I have said I will do. The LORD is all faithful."

Do you need to hear that this morning? I know I do! Nothing is too hard for Him. No promise He has made is too difficult for Him to pull off. And neither is any threat. That’s what He starts with, His promises to bring judgment. Look at verse 28.

“Therefore, this is what the LORD says: I am about to hand this city over to the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who will capture it. The Babylonians who are attacking this city will come in and set it on fire; they will burn it down, along with the houses where the people provoked me to anger by burning incense on the roofs to Baal and by pouring out drink offerings to other gods.

‘The people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth; indeed, the people of Israel have done nothing but provoke me with what their hands have made, declares the LORD. [Idols.]  From the day it was built until now, this city has so aroused my anger and wrath that I must remove it from my sight. The people of Israel and Judah have provoked me by all the evil they have done–they, their kings and officials, their priests and prophets, the men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem. They turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline. They set up their abominable idols in the house that bears my Name and defiled it.

They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.”

The LORD has promised to bring judgment, and He most assuredly will.

It is hard, but not too hard for Him to tear down His own temple.
It is hard, but not too hard for Him to overrun His own capitol city with Babylonians.
It is hard, but not too hard for Him to send His own people into exile.

He has promised to do so, and He is all faithful.

But He also made other promises which are even more wonderful! These are promises we’ve been learning about for the last month or so. The promises of the New Covenant.

Look at verse 36.

“‘You [Jeremiah] are [rightly] saying about this city, 'By the sword, famine and plague it will be handed over to the king of Babylon' [just like I promised]; but this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God.”

Sound familiar? That word translated “but” in verse 36 is literally the word for “therefore.” There’s some wild divine logic going on there! If God is faithful to bring His promised judgment then how much more faithful will He therefore be to bring His promised salvation?

He’s going to bring them back! Even though they broke the covenant! He’s going to make with them a new covenant.  And this one is going to be different, better, un-breakable. V.39

“They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. [New hearts! New creation! Like we talked about last week. ‘Singleness of heart and action. Always fearing Him. Knowing Him at the heart level. This is the power of the new covenant. V.40] I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul” (vv.38-41).

Isn’t that wonderful?!!!

Do you see how wonderful the New Covenant is? It’s unbreakable. He calls it “an everlasting covenant.” All of those words that emphasize the everlastingness. “Never stop...never turn away. Never, never, never, never.” That’s the hope and future of the New Covenant.

Put your name in there if you belong to Jesus. Because the New Covenant was inaugurated in Jesus’ blood. “I will never stop doing good to ______.” If you belong to Jesus, you can put your name in there. If you don’t belong to Jesus yet, then come to Jesus. You want to be “in Christ.” You want to be in the New Covenant. He bought His people with His blood.

And He will never stop doing good to them. The LORD is all faithful, all the time, and forever. And He is amazingly gracious. His heart just overflows with love for His people. Do you see that in verse 41?

“I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.”

“Yes, they are going to be uprooted, but then I’m going to plant them again.”

And imagine what it’s going to be like when we are planted for eternity in the New Creation which is the final fulfillment of all of these New Covenant promises! 

The LORD is all faithful. He is faithful to bring about all of His promises of judgment  and just as faithful to bring about all of His promises of salvation. Verse 42.

“‘This is what the LORD says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them. Once more fields will be bought in this land of which you say, 'It is a desolate waste, without men or animals, for it has been handed over to the Babylonians.' Fields will be bought for silver, and deeds will be signed, sealed and witnessed in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, because I will restore their fortunes, declares the LORD.’”

You can count on it. You can take it to the bank. So buy the field.

Fields will be bought again. So, Jeremiah, go ahead a buy this one now. It might seem totally crazy to all of your neighbors. Ignore them. I say, “Buy the field because nothing is too difficult for me, and I will keep every one of my promises.”

Buy the field.

What does that mean for you and me today?

It doesn’t necessarily mean anything about real estate–though in some of our cases, it might. It means to do the seemingly crazy things that LORD tells us to do in His word.

For example, to pray. You know how crazy prayer seems to the world? You go into a room and talk to God? You invest time just talking to this invisible Person? And asking Him to do things, to give you things, to help you. That’s crazy! Unless God is all powerful and all faithful and amazingly gracious. 
Buy the field.

It means to give. You know how crazy generosity seems to the world? Why wouldn’t you use your money on yourself and your friends and your family? Why would you give to the work of missions? People far away from you? Why would you give to the poor? Well, because the LORD says so. And because He’s all powerful and all faithful and amazingly gracious. Buy the field.

It means to forgive as the Lord forgave you. It means to love “your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Lk. 6:27-28 NIVO). That’s crazy. By the world’s standards, that’s absurd, ridiculous, stupid, dumb, and brainless. Do it anyway. Buy the field.

Resist the lure of pornography. Stick it out in a difficult marriage. Stand up against racism. Spend your Sunday mornings with your church family. Submit to the governing authorities. Share the gospel in a hostile culture.

Do all the seemingly crazy things that LORD tells us to do in His word.

Buy the field.

Remember, when Jeremiah buys this field, he’s in prison and the Babylonians are  going to knock down the walls of his city. And nothing changes when he buys the field. He’s still in prison and the Babylonians are still going to knock down the walls of his city. Just because we buy the field now doesn’t mean that everything is going to turn out just hunky dory in the short run.

But, we Christians don’t just think about the short run. We believe in the long run. The longest run!

And think about this: That deed might still be in that same clay jar buried in a field in Israel right now. I’m not saying it is. It doesn’t have to be. It was a symbolic act of hope. But the Dead Sea Scrolls were put in jar a lot like the one that Mr. Blessing put this deed in, and they stayed intact for 2000 years before being discovered in the 20th century. It’s possible that one day, this clay jar will also be discovered, and the Lord will say to a resurrected Jeremiah. “Oh yeah, that field is yours.” And the Prophet Jeremiah will get to live on a farm there in the New Creation. Who knows?

Nothing is too hard for the LORD.

So do the craziest things the Lord ever asks you to do.

Buy the field.


Previous Messages in This Series:

01. "The Word of the LORD Came to Me" - Jeremiah 1:1-19
02. "I Bring Charges Against You" - Jeremiah 2:1-3:5
03. "Return to Me" - Jeremiah 3:6-4:4
04. “Oh My Anguish, My Anguish!” - Jeremiah 4:6-5:31
05. "Ask for the Ancient Paths" - Jeremiah 6:1-30
06. “This Is the Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD!” - Jeremiah 7:1-8:3
07. "Is There No Balm in Gilead?" - Jeremiah 8:4-9:22
08. "Boast About This" - Jeremiah 9:23-24
09. "Like a Scarecrow in a Melon Patch" - Jeremiah 9:25-10:25
10. "Conspiracy" - Jeremiah 11:1-12:17
11. “My People For My Renown” - Jeremiah 13:1-27
12. "I Can No Longer Show Compassion" - Jeremiah 14:1-15:21
13. "I Have Withdrawn My Blessing, My Love and My Pity" - Jeremiah 16:1-21
14. "I the LORD Search the Heart" - Jeremiah 17:1-27
15. "Go Down to the Potter's House" - Jeremiah 18:1-19:15
16. “Insult and Reproach All Day Long” - Jeremiah 20:1-18
17. "Woe to the Shepherds" - Jeremiah 21:1-23:8
18. "I Did Not Send These Prophets" - Jeremiah 23:9-40
19. "“My Eyes Will Watch Over Them For Their Good” - Jeremiah 24:1-25:38
20. "This Man Should Be Sentenced to Death" - Jeremiah 26:1-24
21. “Under the Yoke” - Jeremiah 27:1-28:17
22. “I Know the Plans I Have for You” - Jeremiah 29:1-32
23. "I Will Surely Save You Out of a Distant Land" - Jeremiah 30:1-24
24. “I Have Loved You With An Everlasting Love” - Jeremiah 31:1-26