Behold, the siege mounds have come up to the city to take it, and because of sword and famine and pestilence the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans who are fighting against it. What you spoke has come to pass, and behold, you see it. Yet you, O Lord GOD, have said to me, “Buy the field for money and get witnesses”—though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.
Jeremiah prophesied for several decades the fall of Jerusalem and captivity of Judah as judgment for abandoning the Lord. Judah’s reversion to sinful ways occurred after a great time of revival which, by definition, had followed a prior time of defying God. This seesaw pattern continued, and Judah reverted to sin despite watching Israel be led to captivity due to her own sin. Not only that, but God gave Jeremiah very specific words regarding the timing of this period of judgment. Judah’s captivity would last seventy years. [25:12] It is no wonder Jeremiah asked God why He would command him to buy land in a place he knew the Babylonians would take and occupy for so long.
Let us not take Jeremiah’s inquiry as doubt. He had prophesied Judah’s dark fate for decades and saw those words prove true. Despite the opposition he faced from the government, the religious leaders and the general public, he faithfully prophesied. He even bought that land exactly as the Lord directed before praying for understanding. [v. 16] Instead, I see two things happening here. First, the man who had been given so much insight into the thoughts of God sincerely sought more understanding. Second, and this is conjecture, Jeremiah was looking for a nugget of hope in a dark time. Maybe he saw the instruction for him to take that deed of sale and hide it in a safe place for a long time as a hint of a brighter future for Judah in time.
The purchase of this land would prove to be a sign of Judah’s future restoration. That deed of purchase stashed away for those seventy years of captivity and occupation would grant Jeremiah’s descendants ownership of that land once prosperity returned. He would not live to see this, but he would die knowing that Judah’s tale was one of future hope. Jeremiah lived to see the Daughter of Zion overtaken and the temple of God destroyed, but he could find comfort in the expectation of their restoration. In seeking understanding from the Lord he also would receive great peace. Father, give us understanding of the things which trouble us, that knowing your thoughts and ways would bring us peace in their midst.