Jewish tradition believes that, on this day, Jeremiah purchased a field in the region of Benjamin and then prophesied:
“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.’” (Jeremiah 32:14-15)
For us to understand the significance of what Jeremiah said, we need to recognize that, as this was happening, Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were at the gates of Jerusalem. In just a matter of days Jerusalem was overrun and most of the people were killed or carried into captivity. For Jeremiah to purchase a piece of property when it must have seemed like the whole world was coming to an end, was illogical and unconventional.
So why did he do it? First of all, God told him to do it, apparently, to make the point that, even in the midst of tragedy, God’s purpose for His people was not going to die. His plan for His people would not end just because that particular generation had been brought to tragedy. He conveyed to Jeremiah that, even though the Babylonians would overrun Jerusalem and carry many into captivity, He would restore them back to the land.
“Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them…I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be My people, and I will be their God; …And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; …Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.” (Jeremiah 32:37-41)
There comes a time when God must chasten those whom He loves. In our hearts we know that it’s in our best interests even though it doesn’t seem that way as we’re being chastened. As a loving Father, after administering this discipline, He then takes His child into his arms, hugs them and tell them that He loves them. Their punishment wasn’t because He was against them, but because He was for them. No one likes to be spanked. No one likes to feel the sting of our poor choices but we should take to heart the fact that when chastening does come, it’s because our Father has our best interests at heart.
All of us can testify to the fact that, in spite of our mistakes and the consequences of our poor choices, we can see how the Father was long-suffering, compassionate and merciful to us. Let’s not take that mercy and compassion for granted but go forth determined to fulfill His purpose for us that He might rejoice over us to do good. Let’s learn from those mistakes and purpose within our hearts to walk in His will.