A fascinating but little-known story from the book of Jeremiah shows us what our approach should be during the coronavirus pandemic.
[Darris McNeely] By now, all of us are more than a week and sometimes two weeks into a quarantine as a result of the pandemic that is swept the world. More than 150 nations have been impacted by the Coronavirus. And here we are dealing with it and wondering what the future will be, how much longer will we have to be in quarantine. If you’re like me, you’ve had to cancel a lot of activities, you’ve had to make changes in your routine. I’ve had conventions stopped and canceled, I’ve had to make stops on some travel that I’ve had, people have had to cancel birthday celebrations, graduation celebrations, reunions, all kinds of events. Even weddings I’ve heard about as well. When you start to think about it, you look at this, we all begin to wonder, will life ever get back to normal and at that presents really interesting questions for us even right now because I think that most critical for you, for me is to realize that there will be a brighter day. We are gonna get out of this. Certain things might be permanently changed, we’ll see. But we can and should begin to plan for our future. We’ll be able to reschedule a lot of these things.
There was a scripture and actually a story from the book of Jeremiah that came to my mind when I began to think about this a little harder and just the need to have some hope for the future. In Jeremiah 32, there’s a wonderful story about Jeremiah being cast into prison. During a time of siege around the city of Jerusalem, the armies of Babylon were encircling the city and essentially the city was under quarantine. But for Jeremiah, he was also in prison. He was not appreciated. His message, his prophetic message was really going against the king’s intentions. He was a bit more negative than they wanted to hear so they put him in prison. And the word of God came to Jeremiah and he said, “Jeremiah, you’re gonna be visited by a cousin who’s going to come, and he’s going to offer you an opportunity to buy a field in your hometown of Anathoth. And you should buy it.”
Now, think about this. Judah, Jerusalem, the whole nation is going down. Now, there may be a bargain in real estate, but why buy it? Because what are you gonna do with it? The nation is going to collapse. What does the future hold? Well, God told him to go ahead and buy it. Well, after the vision, a day, maybe even a few hours later in walks Hanamel, his cousin and indeed offers him the opportunity to buy this field. He does. He buys the field and we pick up the story here in Jeremiah 32. And here’s what happened. “I’ve bought the field,” verse 9 “from Hanamel, my cousin and I weighed up to him the money. 17 shekels of silver.” Jeremiah goes on to say, “I signed the deed, I sealed it in the presence of witnesses. We counted out the money, I took the purchase deed and I sealed it according to the law and custom and gave the deed to my assistant,” whose name was Baruch. And in the presence of everybody, it was all signed, sealed and done and we delivered it, essentially to the clerk, to the court to file the deed and the sale that had taken place.” And verse 14 is really what we should focus on. “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, put them in the earth and vessel that they may last many days.” Which was done.
And here’s what God said. This is the encouraging news. “For thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this field.” And indeed it was. It took a measure of hope, a stand for hope that Jeremiah did to go ahead and buy that field. We have to do the same thing. We need to demonstrate hope in our future. I recommend you do that right now. Find some tangible thing for you to do that will plan your future. Maybe it’s a trip, maybe it’s a vacation this summer or later in the fall, maybe it will be to reschedule that grandson’s graduation or birthday outing or anniversary celebration with someone close to you. Go ahead and do that. Make that plan. Do that now. Demonstrate that you have hope, that’ll do a world of good for you right now. It’ll be following in the example of Jeremiah. It will show that you have hope enough for the future, your future. And that’s something that all of us need right now.
That’s BT Daily. Join us next time.