As we learn to walk in dependence resting upon the forgiveness of God, with whom we have a relationship, there will be times our faith will be challenged. At a time that the prophet Jeremiah was shut up in the court of the prison, he received a word from the Lord. “Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you, saying, ‘Buy my field which is in Anathoth, for the right of redemption is yours to buy it.'” (Jer 32:7) This account suggests that the usual way God spoke to these prophets was the same way he speaks to us, i.e., through a vivid impression made upon the soul, an inner voice informing us of something.
But the great lesson to learn from this account is that this inner voice is not always the voice of God. Sometimes the god of this world can speak through that inner voice, sounding very much like the voice of God. Many a person has been tremendously injured in his faith, and has damaged the faith of others, by acting impulsively on what this inner voice has to say, without testing whether it is the voice of God or not. It’s important to see that Jeremiah tested this impression he received. Faith, though it acts in a remarkable way, does not act fanatically. Faith acts cautiously, expecting God to confirm His word (Jer 32:8-12).
We know that God’s ways are not our ways, but here Jeremiah is imprisoned and knows that the land is about to be taken over by the Chaldeans, and yet He is obedient to God’s Word that truly made no sense in that moment, except that Jeremiah trusted God and His Word. “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Take these deeds, both this purchase deed which is sealed and this deed which is open, and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may last many days.’ For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.'” (Jer 32:14-15)
Although Jeremiah was obedient, doing in faith what the Lord commanded, he also suffered with doubts that he took to the Lord (Jer 32:16-25). We can’t have doubts unless we have faith. Faith is the way God works, and so the enemy is bound to attack our faith immediately as he sees us beginning to act and live and walk by faith. Therefore doubts will begin to arise — as a result of Satan’s attempt to overthrow our faith. “Then the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, ‘Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?'” (Jer 32:26-27)
The Lord was provoked to anger by His people who worshiped other gods. “But they set their abominations in the house which is called by My name, to defile it. And they built the high places of Baal which are in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I did not command them, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.” (Jer 32:34-35) In His wrath, He allowed His people to be taken into captivity and their land “delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence (v 36).
The Lord’s people turned against Him and defiled His name, even after they received countless opportunities to repent. He allowed their land to be put to shame, and for them to become slaves of a godless nation; it could seem that all was lost. But even in His wrath, He prophesied that He wouldn’t give up on them “but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me…and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul” (Jer 32:40-41).
Our Lord proves over and over again that He is faithful, even when we aren’t. “For thus says the Lord: ‘Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them…for I will cause their captives to return.'” (Jer 32:42-44) He truly loves us with an incomprehensible and everlasting love (Jer 31:3) that remains faithful.
Father, thank you for reminding me of the kind of God you are. I rest upon your faithfulness, praying that I will be strengthened by faith to walk as the prophet walked in the midst of my own challenging times. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.