When the Lord asks Jeremiah to buy a field in Anathoth, his home town 2.5 miles north of Jerusalem, it didn’t make sense to Jeremiah at all. Why buy property in a land that is about to be taken over by the Babylonians?! This deed of ownership, purchased for 17 shekels of silver would have no legal meaning in few months, when the Babylonian armies burned the city down. The kingdom of Judah ceased to exist! God’s great dream to dwell with His people in the land (see Exodus 15) came to an end in the summer of 586 B.C.
After purchasing the land, Jeremiah buries the ‘purchase and sale agreement’ in the ground, sealed in an earthen vessel. He knows it will be there a long time, well past his own lifetime. This symbolic act was the statement the Lord wanted to impress on Jeremiah that the land of Anathoth, indeed the whole land of Israel, would be returned at some point in the future. From the bigger picture of what God is doing, the symbol of the purchase of the land looks forward to the New Covenant, when Jesus comes and removes our sin, He gives us an eternal inheritance and a land (the new Heaven and Earth) that is ours forever for those who have faith in Jesus (see Galatians 4, Hebrews 8, Revelation 21-22 among others).
But for Jeremiah at the time, it’s the death of the dream, and yet God says, buy a piece of it! This is why he cries in anguish in Jeremiah 32:17, which, paraphrased goes something like this: ‘you want me to do what??!! But then he remembers that he is dealing with the One who is the creator of heaven and earth, for whom ‘no matter is too difficult’! He is the God of wonders, the One who sets His people free. Literally Jeremiah says “nothing is too wonderful for you!” Jeremiah experiences the death of a dream, yet God asks him to have faith that this dream will be resurrected in the future.
Dying to our dreams, living to God’s reality.
This principle applies to our lives as all of us go through this death and dying to our dreams at one point of another. Yet we praise Him, just like Jeremiah did, because He alone created the heavens and the earth; He alone can create something out of nothing, out of the ashes of our lives and our dreams. We praise Him, because of his goodness and favor in our lives. As Jeremiah 32:41 says, God will plant His people again: He will resurrect the dream! “I will rejoice in doing them good [=favor], and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and with all my soul.” We praise Him in the death of a dream because of His steadfast love that endures forever: “Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!” (33:10-11).
Maybe it’s a relationship, a job, a move to another town, a marriage, a friendship, literal buildings and lands, whatever it is that is a picture of death right now in our lives, God is asking you and me to purchase our own “field of Anathoth,” by faith. Nothing is too difficult for thee! He can bring life again by faith in the One who conquered death itself, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Loren Cunningham the founder of Youth With A Mission had a dream to purchase a hospital ship in the 1970s. But the dream of a ship painted white died when the purchase of a ferry in New Zealand couldn’t be finalized, with great financial loss (and reputation!). However, God resurrected the dream later on, when an Italian ocean liner MV Victoria (painted white!) came up for sale out of nowhere in Venice, Italy. This time, the monies quickly came in and YWAM was able to purchase the ship. The vision to bring spiritual and physical healing in the name of Jesus to countless people was fulfilled. The ship was renamed Anastasis, which is resurrection in Greek!
TCC itself is going through transitions with the death of some of our own buildings,* yet God is faithful and He will renew His work in our midst as we wait upon Him and seek to hear His voice for our future. Let’s trust in the Lord. Nothing is too difficult for Him!
*See facilities update to the congregation – Congregational update TCC July 2018