There is something special about overcoming the odds that leaves a lasting impression on us. It inspires and gives hope that maybe the impossible is within our reach. We are encouraged to take on new challenges contrary to the overwhelming evidence that our endeavors will not succeed. Through it all there is hope that in spite of the odds there can be victory.
When I read about Jeremiah I am inspired over and over again by his faith in God in spite of the surrounding circumstances. Judah is being besieged by Babylon, and the odds of ever getting their land back are stacked up against them. In the midst of all this calamity, God tells Jeremiah to redeem a field from his heirs. What strikes me about this was that Jeremiah believes that God can redeem not only this field but also the land of Judah. This springs from his faith in God’s promise of a New Covenant. This hope he has in God inspires him to redeem this field even though all outward signs point to him losing it and not recovering his purchase.
Jeremiah prophesied during a very dark time in Israel’s history. God brought judgement to the land because of the persistent idolatry. Jeremiah is just one of many prophets who warned of this calamity and urged the people to repent. The people of Judah would not listen, and they even raised up false prophets who contradicted Jeremiah’s prophesies. There were many times when he hid in caves in fear for his life. He met with very little success in his ministry.
In spite of all this he believed the promise given that God would not only use him as a prophet but also that God would bring restoration to the land. This unwavering hope in God in spite of the circumstances caused Jeremiah to buy this field in order to redeem it from his heirs. Though Israel had broken God’s covenant, God was going to do a new thing. He was going to establish a better covenant, and this time His people would not fail in it. God would keep them in it, and He would write it in their hearts. This field of redemption was a sign of hope that not only this field but all of Judah would be redeemed. Jeremiah, like many other heroes of the faith before him, believed God and his testimony still stands today.
I am reminded of the importance of relying on God’s promises in spite of the overwhelming evidence around me to the contrary. When things get really tough around us, when we have a financial crisis or a loved one that doesn’t know Christ–and all evidence points to them never getting saved–do we trust God in these situations? It’s easy to trust God in good times or when we are successful, but the real test of our faith lies in adversity. How will we respond when the cards are stacked against us? Jeremiah was faithful to God’s calling in spite of the little success that he found. His hope in the sure promises of God kept him moving forward in his obedience. His faith also points to the overarching redemptive thread of the Scriptures. Though all of us were headed for certain judgement, Christ came and redeemed us from the Law’s certain curses. It was Christ who was delivered up for our offenses and raised for our justification.
This overwhelming motivation of God’s glory should keep us going forward not only in everyday life but in ministry as well. We live in a day very similar to Jeremiah’s day. The truth has been rejected on a wide scale in this nation while Christians are being intimidated into silence. There seems to be a lack of true Christianity in our land as churches replace God’s Word with entertainment. Our desire for relevance and increased numbers has taken precedence over faithfulness. So if your desire to be faithful has met with very little success then remember Jeremiah. Let his faith spur you on to greater faith, and remember that in spite of all the difficulties in our personal lives and ministries that nothing is too hard for God. Let Jeremiah’s field of hope remind us that God can make the impossible become a reality.