Jer. 32 & Acts 4: A Time to Buy. A Time to Sell

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom
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    A Time to Buy. A Time to Sell.
    What happened between Jeremiah 32 and Acts 4:34-37?

    I was happy to use the above words for my title, having taken them - I thought - from Ecclesiastes 3. Almost as an afterthought, I consulted that passage to find that there is no "buying" or "selling" there. Oh well, it still is a convenient phrasing and application of the evident truth that "[t]o everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.", Ecc. 3:1.

    In the midst of these New Covenant chapters of Jeremiah we find an interesting seeming departure, an historical interlude, from the topic at hand. In chapter 32 Jerusalem is already being surrounded by the Babylonians. Jeremiah, for being so unflinchingly impolitic, is shut up - vocally and physically - in prison. But the Word of God brings him a startling message: He is go out and buy land nearby! What an odd time to buy! Here the prophet is imprisoned - by adversaries who are themselves imprisoned - and is now going into land speculation.

    Except, when the promise and power of God is behind it, it is not speculation at all, but expectation. "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" (Jer. 32:27) And Jeremiah, being assured that the God of infinite goodness and power will honor His promise, sends Baruch as proxy to go out and buy the land in Anathoth. (Jer. 32:12-15). Why did he do this? He was assured that "houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land."

    Here is the response of faith: Before the land is even conquered, before the seventy years of sabbath rest for the land - and captivity for abusers of the land - Jeremiah makes his prophetical real estate acquisition. He is banking on that "future and hope" (29:11) that the Almighty had promised his people. He knew that his God was not through with the physical land of promise.

    But there was a farther-reaching fulfillment in this promise: God still needed the city and the land as His stage for the watershed act of redemption. It was in this city that He "caused His name to dwell", in this temple that He assured Solomon that He would hear godward and penitent prayer. And that promise stood though that outward first temple didn't. The land of Israel was still the promise land because Messiah was still coming.

    The Jews had a hard time holding onto this promise. Many of them flinched and - actually fled - when they were to have faithfully stayed put.

    "Turn back, O virgin of Israel, turn back to these your cities.
    How long will you go about, O you backsliding daughter?
    For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth -
    A woman shall encompass a man." (Jer. 31:21-22)

    But they wouldn't listen. To everything there is a season, but they got their seasons mixed up. When they were told by God to go into captivity they fought against that judgment, and God's instruments, with swords and lying prophecy. And when the remnant - a remnant of a remnant! - were told to remain in the land (Jer. 42:10-12) they perversely rebelled and went to Egypt - snatching Jeremiah with them as a sort of dashboard Jesus.
     

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