Daily Thought for: 13th August

JEREMIAH AND HIS DOUBTS

Jeremiah 32. 6-19, 25-27, 36-44

Jeremiah was imprisoned in the court of the guard for prophesying the fall of the city. It was at this time his faith in God’s word was put to a practical test. Jeremiah was told through his cousin Hanameel to buy a plot of ground in Anathoth. God had foretold the details to Jeremiah. When Hanameel arrived to lay out the proposal before Jeremiah, he said, ‘I knew that this was the word of the Lord’. So the deed of purchase was drawn up, signed by witnesses, and deposited in an earthen jar. God had said, ‘houses and fields and vineyards shall yet again be bought in this land’. 

After obeying God’s instructions Jeremiah reflected on the logic of what retrospectively seemed a foolhardy transaction. The armies of Babylon were at the door of the city; was that why his cousin wanted to sell the field? Doubts began to fill his mind; had he made an unwise investment? Jeremiah then did what every Christian ought to do when they are in doubt about a certain matter—he prayed; ‘I prayed unto the Lord saying, Ah Lord God, is it true that houses and vineyards will be possessed again in this land?’ In bringing his difficulty to God and reflecting on past acts of God’s power, he said, ‘There is nothing too hard for the Lord’. The faithfulness of God, the failures of the people, the intentions of the enemies, and the horrors of the siege all form part of his prayer. His perplexity spilled out as he said, ‘And thou hast said unto me, O Lord God, buy thee the field for money’. But, he exclaimed, ‘the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans!’ v. 25. 

The Lord’s reply to the perplexed prophet has been the classic answer to all doubters ever since; ‘Then came the word of the Lord saying, Behold I am the Lord of all flesh: Is there anything too hard for me? For I will cause their captivity to return, saith the Lord’, vv. 27, 44. Jeremiah, in his transparent honesty, brought his problems and doubts to God. Only God can calm the troubled soul, answer questions and settle our doubts. Joseph Scriven wrote, ‘Oh, what needless pain we bear; all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!’ 

 

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