“Believing and Buying”
“Put your money where your mouth is” has a whole new meaning when you have little of it. In college, my friends and I would often bet one another to do things: “I’ll pay you $20 to chug that hot sauce,” or “I’ll give you $40 to go ask that girl out.” On the off chance that one of your friends accepts the challenge, you have to rethink the entire thing. It is one thing to say you will put money on the line and another to actually do it. When $20 is about all you have for the weekend, you know the wager you are about to make is weighty, and you have to decide if you are going to put your money where your mouth is. Probably nine times out of ten, the person would say, “Never mind; not worth it,” and put their money back in their pocket.
Jeremiah, like all prophets, is asked to bring a world from God to the people of God. Furthermore, like other prophets, he is asked to bring them a word of instruction, discipline, and correction. These words could ultimately lead to deliverance if the people of God choose to listen; but often the story ends on a more somber note. Jeremiah’s story continues the trend. By the end of this book, we see Judah overtaken by the Babylonians through the eyes of Jeremiah, and God’s people are scattered all over the world—just as the Lord had spoken. But while the story seems to end here, Jeremiah does an odd thing in chapter 32: He buys a field.
A large part of the word of Jeremiah is that the people will be scattered, yes. But not forever. God, as always, is patient and persistent with his people. He was slow to anger to bring the calamity and he will be persistent in keeping his promise—the promise being that his people will return to this land.
The walls are starting to shake. The Babylonians are at the gates. This army cannot be stopped, and furthermore the Lord said Judah will be defeated. Now is the time for them to leave their homes and grab as many possessions as they can because they know they will never see this homeland again. But God instead asks Jeremiah to do something absurd: Buy a field here. Now, I’m no expert, but you don’t buy real estate in Pompeii in the spring of AD 79! If your land will be overtaken, most likely pillaged and burned, you don’t start shopping for a three-bedroom, two-bath with a patio. However, God is instructing Jeremiah to put his money where his mouth is.
For better or worse, my money always follows my beliefs—just check my transaction history! God promises that his people will return to this land. Do I believe him? If we believe what God promises, no matter how absurd it seems, then we must put our money where our trust is.