Today’s reading: Jeremiah 32-34.
“You want me to buy land occupied by the enemy?”
Jeremiah was in prison because of his prophecies that Jerusalem would fall to the Babylonians. The invaders occupied all the territories around the city, and within a year the prophecy would be fulfilled. The enemy would capture Jerusalem and burn it. But on this day Jeremiah’s cousin came to him in prison 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.’ Jeremiah 32:8
God had told Jeremiah to expect this, so he did it as directed, but even as he did it he wondered if it was wise. The property had already been captured by the enemy. There was no way that Jeremiah could expect to use it, but the LORD was using the transaction to make a point. He would bring the captives back and restore the fortunes of Israel.
‘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. For this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’ Jeremiah 32:14-15
Jeremiah acted as kinsman-redeemer when he bought the land. His cousin was probably in danger of losing the property for some unpaid obligation, and Jeremiah bought it in order to keep it in the family, to relieve the cousin’s debt, and to give him a chance to buy it back later. To seal the deal, he made two copies of the contract. One was open and public, but the other was sealed shut. It held the official but private terms of the contract and would only be opened when the cousin or his heirs came to buy back the land.
In Revelation the apostle John saw another sealed document, and all heaven was looking for the heir who could open the scroll.
And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Revelation 5:2-5
The world was sold to Satan long ago, but our kinsman-redeemer will buy it back on that day when he returns to rule. He’s already paid the price. The Holy Spirit is the earnest money or down payment to prove he did it. Though we may be living in enemy territory now, he’s coming to set the world free. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Image by Hc_07 on Flickr, CC by-nc 2.0