As we continue our journey through the Bible, and currently in the book of Jeremiah, presently in chapter 32. Now at the beginning of the chapter, Jeremiah sets the scene, historically. He tells you when it is that the Lord spoke to him, and what the circumstances were at that particular time. So the first five verses set the stage, and this is it.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, [Now he reigned for eleven years, and in the eleventh year of his reign, Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians. So, this is one year before the fall. It’s to the end of the wire. The Babylonians are just about ready to begin besieging the city of Jerusalem. They’re just about ready to take it. So, in the tenth year of Zedekiah the king of Judah, which happened to be the eighteenth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.] For then the king of Babylon’s army besieged Jerusalem: and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah’s house. [So Jeremiah was a prisoner. He was there in that prison ward that was in the court of the king’s house.] For Zedekiah the king of Judah had shut him up, saying, Why do you prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it; And Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him mouth to mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes; And he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there shall he be until I visit him, saith the Lord: though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper (32:1-5).
Now these are the things that Jeremiah is saying. That the Lord tells you that Babylon is going to conquer the city Zedekiah. You’re gonna see the king of Babylon face to face and he’s gonna lead you captive to Babylon, and they’re gonna capture the city. Now, this had a demoralizing effect on the people who were trying to defend the city against the Babylonian army. In fact it was considered treason on the part of Jeremiah. So they put him in prison, in order that he could not discourage the people, for actually Jeremiah was saying, “If you want to really save yourself, surrender! If you try to resist it’s only to your own harm and to your own hurt. So the best policy is just to surrender.” Well you can imagine how that goes when your nation is at war. When the pacifists come along and say, “Well we ought to just surrender. You know, and save all this bloodshed and all.” It wasn’t a popular message, in fact it was a demoralizing message, as far as the people were trying to defend this city against the Babylonians. For that reason Jeremiah was put in prison. Now the Babylonian army is outside the city. They are besieging the city. Things are getting bad within the city. Supplies are short, and Jeremiah’s saying, “We ought to surrender”. So they put him in jail, and now he is there in jail at the court of the king’s house.
[While he is there, verse six] And Jeremiah said, The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Behold Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto you, saying, Buy my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is yours to buy it (32:7).
Now this is what the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah saying. Now this is a very familiar phrase, as we’ve been going through Jeremiah over, and over, and over again, we’ve come across this phrase, “And the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah saying”, it’s a very familiar phrase. The question, how did God speak to Jeremiah? When the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, did he hear an audible voice? How could he be so sure that it was the word of the Lord?
We meet people today that say sometimes, “Well the Lord told me, and the Lord said this, and the Lord said that”, and we sort of look a little askance, you know, “You need some help friend”. I had one fellow come and tell me, “Oh the Lord told me to do this and told me to do that”. Sent me out there, and when I got out there, there was nothing there, and I was broke, and I didn’t have any money to get back, and he told me, “Why would God tell me to do that?” And I said, “Well I don’t think God did tell you to do that”. But what makes you think God told you to do that? How does God talk to you? How did God talk to Jeremiah? The way He talks, “The word of the Lord came to me saying…”, you think, man this guy’s got a tight circuit! There’s not even static on the line! He’s got a good, clear connection with God, I mean, you know it really comes through clearly! And that’s the impression we get.
[But as we read on, verse eight] So Hanameel my uncle’s son [or my cousin] came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the Lord, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is yours, and the redemption is yours; buy it for yourself. Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord (32:8).
Now evidently, as he was in prison, there came the thought in his mind. “Hanameel’s field is coming up for redemption. Maybe I ought to purchase it.” You see, under Jewish law, when you went out and borrowed money on your property, you had a certain period in which to pay off the loan, or the property could be foreclosed on. Just like today. Or when you sold property. Usually when they would borrow money, they would more or less sell the property with redemptive rights. In other words, you could buy it back. Same kind of an idea. Within a specified period of time, you could redeem your property, or purchase it back again.
Now, they would draw up these legal contracts, and they would draw up two contracts. One would be an open contract that people could see, and the other legal document would be a copy of that, but it would be sealed. When the time came when the specified time, and usually it was a seven year period. When the time came for the property to be redeemed, then you would come with this sealed document, which you had kept, and you would call the judges of the city, and you would bring in the witnesses, and you would break the seals of the scroll, and you would show the document that was the agreement that was drawn up. In this document, the amount of redemption money was specified. Let’s say that it’s a hundred shekels of silver. So you break the seals, you open the document, you show that the agreement was made that at this date, if you provided a hundred shekels of silver, the property was yours again. So, you would bring the judges and the witnesses together, you would open the seal, and you’d take and you’d count out the hundred shekels of silver, and they would all sign to it that the property is now yours once more. It’s reverted back to you.
Now, in this same law, if you, at the time of the, when the property was to revert back to you, if you, personally weren’t able to come up with a hundred shekels of silver, if you didn’t have the money yourself, and the property was valuable. Say, much more valuable than the hundred pieces of silver or hundred shekels of silver, or you didn’t have the money, you could go to a relative. And of course your brothers would be the first. But any relative of yours had the right, and it would begin with the closest relative, and who ever could come up with the money, of your relatives, had the first right of redemption. They could step in and they could purchase the field, and thus the property remained in the family. That was the idea. To keep the properties within the family. So this reversionary clause that was in every contract, when property was sold, was provided also for the close of kin.
Now, Hanameel was the cousin of Jeremiah. The thing was that the field was in Benjamin, the territory that had already been conquered, been taken by the Babylonians. So to redeem the field, seemed like a very poor investment. Yet Jeremiah had this strong impression, “I ought to redeem it”. Now, the next day, as he was there in prison, here came Hanameel in to visit him. The jailer says, “You’ve got a visitor”, and they brought in Hanameel, his cousin. And Hanameel said, “You know Jeremiah, my field is coming up for redemption, and I thought maybe you ought to redeem it”. Jeremiah said, “Then I knew it was the word of the Lord that came to me, that said, “Redeem the field of your cousin”. In other words, this brought him a confirmation of that which was going on in his mind. So the Lord would speak to him by impression. By a thought that came into his mind.
Now, the Bible tells us that God is a spirit, and that His spirit bears witness with our spirit. That we are sons of God. Man is a three fold being, body, soul, and spirit. With a natural man, his body and soul, his spirit is dead. When you are born again, your spirit comes alive, and now you are spirit, soul, and body. The mind being controlled by the spirit. Where as a natural man, the mind is controlled by the flesh. The spiritual man, the mind is controlled by the spirit and the body is subordinate. The body doesn’t rule. The body appetites don’t rule. They’re subordinate to the man who is born again. Good test of whether or not you’re born again. Are you ruled by your body appetites? Than you’re not really born of the Spirit. When you’re born of the Spirit, you’re ruled by the Spirit. Your mind is ruled by the Spirit. So, our mind, ruled by the Spirit in our redeemed state. God is a superior trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit. We’re an inferior trinity, spirit, soul, and body, and we connect with God in the realm of the Spirit. So God’s Spirit bears witness to our spirit, that we are the sons of God. The place where I communicate and meet with God is in a spiritual realm.
Now, as my spirit is in communion with God, and God is speaking to my spirit, my spirit then in turn, must transmit the message into my consciousness. Thus it comes into my consciousness much like any other thought. There’s an impression, there’s a thought, there’s an idea that comes into my consciousness. Now the problem begins. How do I know whether or not this thought is an inspiration of the Spirit of God, or this is just something that I dreamed up? You know, is my imagination just running rampant here, and am I just thinking, “Oh boy, that would really be great, and I would really like that, oh is that you God?” You know? So how do I discern between what is God speaking to my heart, and what is just coming from that mystic way by which our imagination operates? As I said, that’s a problem. I don’t have the answer. That’s a problem. We have to develop in our walk with the Lord, and our communion with God to the place where we develop a keener, kind of discernment between what is of the Lord, and what is of man.
Now, when Jesus was at Caesarea Philippi with his disciples, He asked them the question, “Who do men think I am?” The disciples said, “Well, some people think you’re Elijah come back from the dead. Some think you’re maybe Jeremiah, some think you’re the other prophet.” Jesus said, “Well who do you say that I am?” And Peter said, “Well you’re the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” Jesus said, “Blessed art thou Simon Bar Jonah, flesh and blood did not reveal this unto you, but my Father, which is in heaven.” “Simon you’ve just had a spiritual revelation. You’ve just had God speak to you and yet you were able to verbalize what God said to you. This didn’t come from flesh and blood. My Father revealed this to you.” And I say unto you, “That you are Peter, (actually you are Petros, a little stone), and upon this Cephas (this rock), I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
And then Jesus began to tell the disciples how that He was to be betrayed, by one of them, and turned over to the hands of the Gentiles, crucified and slain, and then He would rise the third day. Peter began to rebuke him, and said, “Lord! Be thou far from thee!” And Jesus turned and said, “Get thee behind me Satan”. “You offend me because you can’t tell the difference between what comes from God and what comes from man. You haven’t developed these discerning spirits”. Now, Peter probably thought it was another revelation of God. “Spare thyself or be thou far from me! I scored once, let’s try it again.” But this time he missed. It wasn’t of God, and he was rebuked because he couldn’t discern between the two. Now I think that as you grow in your walk with God and in your relationship with God. The communion with the Lord, that the skills develop, and that being able to discern what impressions and what thoughts are coming from God and which ones are coming out of your own heart. And I do believe that with Peter it did develop as time went on. This was early in his career. It was wonderful to realize that, I mean, I’m sure Peter didn’t just think, “Well I’ve got a revelation! You are the Messiah!” But he just said that which flashed, and it happened to be that that flash was a divine flash.
So, with Jeremiah, it sort of comforts me to know that when this crazy thought came, “redeem the field that belongs to your cousin Hanameel”, that it was just a thought, “Maybe I ought to do that”, and when the next day, his cousin came and said, “I would like you to redeem the field”, then he knew the thought was from the Lord, and, “Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord”. Now, as he is expressing it, remember he is writing of an experience that’s already over, and in looking back and seeing how it worked out, he could say, “Well, the word of the Lord came to me saying, redeem the fields that belong to your cousin Hanameel”. But when that thought first came, he wasn’t sure of it. He waited and he tested it, and when confirmation came, Hanameel came along and said, “I’ve got this field that…”, and so often when we have an impression, a thought, and I don’t know is this of the Lord. Is this what the Lord is leading me to do? Is this what God wants me to do now? And I’m not sure, and I don’t want to step out if it is the Lord, and I don’t want to not step out, if it is the Lord. So, I will wait for confirmation, and many times as I’m reading the bible, confirmation will come from the scriptures. There’ll be a passage that will be so perfect, it fits so perfectly, that you just know that the Lord is speaking to you!
Last week was a tough week for Kay, in that she had to speak in a women’s fellowship in Downey, had to prepare the lesson for the ladies Friday Bible study, their written lesson, and also had to speak Friday to the ladies here. Now, Kay usually spends the whole week just preparing the lessons for the ladies, and preparing her message for the ladies. I mean, she really labors over speaking. It isn’t natural or easy for her. She really labors over it. Just the normal week is more pressure than she is sometimes capable of really bearing. I mean she really feels the pressure heavily. And during the time that the ladies have their study, she is under pressure all the time. And thus speaking and whenever she goes away to speak, it’s even more pressure. I mean she is a perfectionist, and that’s difficult. Because she wants everything to be absolutely perfect, and she worries that it isn’t going to be perfect, and it’s just something that she feels pressure about. So here last week she was under tremendous pressure because Tuesday night she had to get ready to speak for Downey, but she was usually spending Monday and Tuesday working on the lesson for the proof, she proofs it on Wednesday; and, so she usually spends the days working on the lesson and here she was having to prepare to speak in Downey.
She was just under pressure. She was saying, “I just can’t do it. I just can’t do it.” So, she had an impression. She was reading a scripture and so she had an impression to go into my library, and just to see what Spurgeon might say on that scripture. So she went into the library and grabbed my Spurgeon book, and looked up that passage. Spurgeon said, “Now young lady, don’t worry about all that you have to do. For the Lord is capable of helping you.” It was just, I mean why would she think shall I look up that scripture and see what Spurgeon has to say? Well, she found out that the Lord had something to say to her, rather than Spurgeon. And so the Lord can speak to us in very interesting ways. Even the Lord spoke to her to go get Spurgeon, and look up that particular scripture.
So, God speaks to us, and it says to us in Hebrews, chapter one, “God, who in various times and in various ways spoke to our fathers, through the prophets, as in these last days, spoken unto us through His own dear Son.” So, God speaks to men in different ways, and it is good to train your ear to hear the voice of God.
Now with Samuel, you remember his mother brought him and dedicated him to the Lord, and he was living then, with Eli, the priest, and he heard audibly, his voice being called. “Samuel!” and he heard it audibly! So he went running into Eli, and he said, “Did you call me?” “No, I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.” And he went back to bed, and soon he heard again, “Samuel!” He went running back into Eli and he said, “What do you want?” He said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.” But this time the old priest thought, maybe something’s happening here. So he said, “If you hear the call again, just say, speak Lord, your servant is listening.” So, Samuel went back to bed, and he heard, “Samuel”, and he said, “Speak Lord, I’m listening”, and the Lord began to speak to him; and, that was in an audible way.
In the New Testament, we find that the Lord would often speak through angels. Paul the apostle spoke on the ship, after they had been going for fourteen days, and it looked like, you know, there’s no hope, he stood up on the morning and he said, “Be of good cheer fellows! Everything’s going to be okay! An angel of the Lord stood by me last night, and assured me that though the ship is going to be wrecked, there’s not going to be a soul lost. We’re all gonna survive this shipwreck.”
So, God can speak through angels. God can speak through circumstances. The bible speaks about how God spoke through similes and similitudes, and of how God can speak to our lives through circumstances. Then how God can speak directly to a person. God can speak by, and remember Elijah said that when he had fled from Jezebel, and he was down there in the area of mount Sinai, and he was in the cave, and the Lord said, “Come on out to the entrance of the cave”, and he stood there, and there came a fire racing through there, but God wasn’t in the fire. Tremendous earthquakes, the rocks were splitting and rolling down the hill, but God wasn’t in the earthquake. Mighty wind. God wasn’t in the wind. Then there came a still small voice, and God was in the still small voice. God said, “What are you doing here Elijah?”
So, the way that God speaks. I believe that we have, in this modern age, a greater difficulty in understanding and discerning when God wants to speak to us. Because our technology has brought so many sounds, and our brains must be occupied in so many activities, that we are not really silent enough, or quiet enough before God to truly hear His voice.
Now, when they went places, they walked. Walking is a great way to commune with God. When we go any place, “I have to go to the store”, “Well, go out and jump in the car”, as you’re going down the road. I was the other day, just figuring out how many things I was computing as I was driving. Looking in my rearview mirror to see how fast that car was coming up behind me. Watching that car to see if it was going to make a turn in front of me. Seeing the signal, and figuring out whether or not it was going to change before I got there. Keeping the speed where, I might be able to get through, but you know, you’ve got that point of no return where, if it turns yellow, I’m gonna go on through you know. But otherwise I’ve got to be going slowly enough so that if it gets yellow before this point, then I’m gonna have to brake and stop and all of these computations, as you’re judging speeds and everything else; and, there’s no time for meditation or worship. The brain is too occupied. I think that it takes a time of quietness.
Now, I am convinced that God does still speak to people today. I don’t think that we are always tuned in. You know, we realize that in this room tonight, are all kinds of sounds. There’s all kinds of horrible raucous music, there’s some good classical music, and there’s all kinds of sounds that are in this room and all you need is a tuner. Tune it in to a particular frequency, and all, and you can hear the sounds that are going in that frequency. We’re familiar with that. We listen to radios all the time. Just tuning into sounds that are in the air. I believe that a person can learn to tune into God, and can hear the Lord speak today. I think it is through prayer, through waiting upon God, through being quiet before the Lord.
We have a lady here tonight whose family had to flee from North Korea, from the Communists. When the opportunity came to flee, it was one of those, leave immediately! They had a hard decision, because her brother wasn’t home. But because it might be their only opportunity to escape, they decided to go and leave her brother there. Her mother and father figured, that maybe once we’re free, we’ll be able to contact him and get him out later. But they lost contact with him completely. They spent their lives to their dying day, praying that somehow God would help them to contact their son again. But to no avail. They never were able to contact that son again. They died with a prayer that God would help them contact their son. This lady and her sister continued every Wednesday praying. Her sister would come to her house and they would pray that God would help them to contact their brother, who as far as they knew was somewhere in North Korea.
One afternoon, there in Corona Del Mar, in prayer, the Lord gave her a phone number. She dialed it. It was in Manchuria, and her brother answered. A general in the Chinese army. He was amazed to hear from her, and she was amazed that he answered the phone. They were both suspicious, asked questions to allay their suspicions, but I had the opportunity of meeting her brother and talking to him, when I went to China.
God can speak today. He knew where her brother was. He knew the phone number and everything else, and gave it to her while she was in prayer. Now, that to me is amazing! Absolutely amazing, that we’ve had opportunity to verify that! So, it’s a matter of listening, it’s a matter of learning to hear the voice of God. As it comes, it may not come, it just comes so, now I’ve had God speak to me so definitely that I had no question, but what this was God speaking to me. And I could say, “The Lord spoke to me”, and I have no reservations. There are other times when I’m not certain. It’s a strong impression, it’s a feeling. Sometimes confirmation will come, like with Jeremiah, when his cousin came and said, “You know the field’s coming in. I want you to redeem it”. “Then I knew it was the word of the Lord that said”, “redeem the field”.
So sometimes when I thought maybe it might be the Lord, it proved that it wasn’t the Lord. So, it’s something that I think that we all could develop. A keener sense of the Spirit, and should seek to develop that keener sensitivity to the voice of the Spirit.
Now this transaction is interesting in that it does give us some insight into this particular Jewish law of redemption. And of course that whole law was established, in order that God might establish His pattern for the redemption of the earth. You see, the earth originally belonged to God, because He created it. But then God created the earth, I mean, He created man, and He placed man upon the earth and He gave the earth to man. God said to Adam, “Have dominion over the earth, the fish of the sea, the fowls of the air, over every moving and living thing”, and God gave to Adam dominion over the earth. It was his. With the instructions of, “Take care of it. Keep the garden, dress it. Take care of the earth”. But Adam soon sold out, and the earth was forfeited over to Satan, and Satan became the ruler, the possessor over the earth.
The bible in speaking of Satan said, “He is the prince over this world”. Paul calls him the God of this world. Now, the world no longer belongs to God, because He gave it to man. It no longer belongs to man, he turned it over to Satan, and Satan began to rule over the earth, and over the hearts of men. So the earth was in rebellion against God, as it followed the rule of Satan. Now it was God’s desire to redeem the earth, back to Himself. So, the whole contract has been drawn up in heaven.
The sealed scroll of Revelation chapter five. When the day of redemption does come, we are told in chapter five, that an angel will proclaim with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to take the scroll and to break the seals?” And John said that, “There is no man worthy in heaven or earth or under the sea”. As he begins to weep over this fact, the angel said, “Don’t weep John, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah hath prevailed and he’s gonna take the scroll and break the seals”. John turns and he sees Jesus, as a lamb that had been slaughtered, as He comes and takes this legal document out of the right hand of who sits upon the throne”. Beginning with chapter six, he begins to break the seals.
Now, the interesting thing is that if man can’t redeem it, then one who is next of kin. That is why Jesus became a man, so He would have the right of redemption. Now Satan knew God’s plan to redeem the earth, and so when Jesus came, he took Jesus up into a high mountain and he showed Him all of the kingdoms of the earth. And he said, “Let’s make a deal. I will give all of these to you, and the glory of them, if you will just bow down and worship me”. He’s offering now, a shortcut. You don’t have to go the way of the cross. You don’t have to go God’s plan. “I’ll let you have it now. Immediately! All you have to do is bow down and worship me”. Now, notice that Satan claimed the earth was his. He said, “I’ll give them to you because they are mine, and I’ll give them to whomever I will”. He’s bragging now to Jesus. “They’re mine. This earth is mine. I’ll give it to whoever I want. I’ll give it to you, if you just bow down and worship me”.
But Jesus paid the price of redemption, by giving His life. He became one of us, next of kin, lived a sinless life, and through His death, He paid the price of redemption. Now, He has not yet, I’m trying to think of this term, the scripture used, “But we see Jesus made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death” or “God has put all things in subjection unto Him. But we do not yet see all things in subjection unto Him. But we see Jesus, made a little lower than the angels. So, it isn’t yet turned over to Him.
Satan is still in control. But one of these days in the very near future, because, I really feel that this six-in-one pattern has been established by God all the way through the bible. When you went into slavery, you went in for six years, but the seventh year they had to set you free. Man went into slavery to sin just about 6,000 years ago, and we’re coming up on the 7,000Th year. I believe that’s the year of redemption. And I believe we’re gonna be in that heavenly scene, and we’re gonna hear the angel say, “Who can take the scroll and loose it? Who is worthy?” And we’ll watch Jesus as He steps forth and takes this document, breaks the seal, and then in chapter ten, we see Him come with the open scroll and He puts one foot on the sea, one upon the earth, and He says, “The kingdoms of this world have now become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Savior, the Messiah”. Glorious days!
So we see this whole idea of redemption worked out. Hanameel comes to Jeremiah and says, “Hey, you know, that field, it’s coming up for, you’re my cousin, you have the right, why don’t you redeem it!” Then Jeremiah said, “I knew it was the word of the Lord that came to me saying, redeem the field.”
So he said, I bought the field of Hanameel my cousin, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver. [Cheaper than the sixteen that I had] And I subscribed the evidence, and I sealed it, and took the witnesses, and weighed him the money and the balances. [So he set out the scales, and he weighed out the money, in the balances and he gave it to him with the witnesses and all.] And I gave the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, [who was the scribe] in the sight of my cousin, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before the Jews that sat in the court of the prison [So, here was this assembly, and he did it in front of them all so that they could bear witness] (32:9-12).
And I charged Baruch before them saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; [the two scrolls] and put them in a clay pot, that they may continue for many days. [Take these things and put them in a pot and bury them so that they will continue for many days.] For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land (32:13-15).
Now Jeremiah went through a period of buyers’ remorse. After he had done this he thought, “That was a stupid thing to do! The Babylonians are already camped out there in the field. Why did I do that? Seventeen shekels of silver down the tubes! I’ll never be able to plant that field or anything!”
So, now when I had delivered the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed unto the Lord, saying, [And so now, Jeremiah’s prayer. He begins the prayer by addressing the prayer, and he’s addressing it to Jehovah God.] The one who has made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, [So, first of all he is acknowledging God, and the power of God, and what God is. The Jehovah God that he is talking to. He is the creator of the universe. And he said, concerning God] there is nothing too hard for you (32:16-17):
I think it’s good for us to remember that when we pray. There’s nothing too hard for God. There are many things that are too hard for us and many things that are too hard for many. But there’s nothing too hard for God. When a doctor shakes his head and says, “Sorry, there’s nothing we can do. It’s beyond the ability of medical science. They probably have six days to two weeks. Oh, it’s all. It’s over”. Lord there’s nothing too hard for you and I’m amazed at how many people are still around that the doctors gave six months to, fifteen years ago.
Lord there’s nothing too hard for you. You’re a loving God, and you show your love. You show your loving kindness unto the thousands. Lord it’s just your love is manifested profusely among the people. When we are going through a period of real personal trial or strength, it’s good to know that God loves us. It’s so good to be assured that He loves us.
[Then he says] you recompensed the iniquity of the fathers [you’re a just God], and you recompensed the iniquity of the fathers unto the children who continue after them: you are the Great, and the Mighty God, the Lord [or Jehovah] of hosts, is your name. [Jehovah who rules over the hosts of heaven. The millions upon millions of angelic hosts. Jehovah hosts.] You are great in counsel, you are mighty in your works: and your eyes are open upon the ways of the sons of men: [you’re watching us, you see us, and you are absolutely just] you give to every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings (32:18-19).
So you’re a fair God, you’re a loving God, you’re a powerful God, you are an all seeing God. And he’s just going over the characteristics of God.
And you have set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, you are continuing to work signs and wonders in Israel, and among other men; and you have made you a name, as at this day; [You’re a God who has a great reputation.] And you have brought forth your people from Israel [You’re a delivering God.] you brought them out of the land of Egypt with signs, and wonders, and with a strong hand, and a stretched out arm, and with great terror upon their enemies; And you have given them this land which you have swore unto their fathers to give them, [You’re a faithful God. You’re a God who keeps his covenant, who keeps his word.] and you’ve given them this land that’s flowing with milk and honey; They came in, the possessed it; [And then, in contrast to God’s faithfulness, and God’s goodness, and God’s greatness, and God’s loving.] But they came in, they possessed it, but they did not obey your voice. Neither did they walk in your law; they have done nothing of all that you commanded them to do: [They haven’t kept your commandments.] therefore you’ve caused all of this evil to come upon them (23:20-23).
[In other words God you are fair, even in this time of judgement, it’s deserved by them.] Behold [and outside the city] the mounts [They were building these mounts to bring up their engines of war to mount the walls of the city.] they are come to the city to take it. And the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans that fight against it, [You’ve already told me that that the Babylonians are going to conquer us.] and because of the sword, and because of the famine, [And within the city they were experiencing a lot of blood shed. They were killing each other. Whoever had food was in danger because the gangs would come and kill them and take their food. And of course whenever you get those conditions of famine, the immune system in the body is broken down you have pestilences that begin to ravage the city. And so they’re going through horrible, horrible things in Jerusalem at this time. The sword against their brothers, the famine, the pestilence] and what you have spoken is come to pass: [A God of his word.] And behold, you see it (23:24).
Now the Chaldeans are here, they’re getting ready to take the city, it’s ordained that their going to take it. What he’s saying, does come to pass.] And then you say to me, O Jehovah God, Buy the field for money and take witnesses (32:25);
“When you’ve given the city to the Babylonians, and why Lord, would you ask me to do that?” He’s having problems now, seventeen shekels of silver out the door. “I’m not even going to be able to use it! It’s already, you’ve already said it’s going to be the Babylonians. It’s sort of an oy vie prayer. Why would you have me do that?
Now it’s interesting that that’s all the prayer is. It’s just expressing his own confusion. He doesn’t do that until he affirms all that God is. So the majority of the prayer was exercised in worship of God. Focusing on God. What God is. Who God is. The greatness of God. I have observed and I would challenge you to go through the prayers in the bible, and you’ll see that the prayers, for the most part, are focused upon God, rather than upon the need.. And if you will learn to focus on God and keep the need as just sort of a postscript.
Notice in the fourth chapter the book of Acts the apostles had been beaten and threatened not to preach anymore, and they came back to their own company, and they told them, “Man we really had a bad time! They threatened, you know, what they’re gonna do if we speak in the name of Jesus anymore, and all. They said, Well let’s pray, So they began their prayer, “Oh Lord, thou art God, (same thing as Jeremiah) You created the heavens and the earth and everything that is in them.” You see, they’re getting things in perspective now. I’ll get to my problem after while, but first of all, let’s get it into perspective. I’m calling on God to help me. I’m not trying to figure out a way where I’m going to get out of this mess. But the one I’m calling on has created this universe. The one that I’m calling on is a God of signs and wonders. There’s nothing too hard for Him. It’s good to come to this kind of consciousness in prayer. It’s a great faith builder.
When you focus on God, your faith grows. When you focus on your problems, your faith just sort of has a way of just, departing. The problem gets so big. Doctor said there’s nothing I can do. “Lord it’s just terrible Lord!” You focus on it, and your faith just goes to pot. But you focus on God. “Lord you’re so great, Oh wow, you’re so loving, and you keep your word, and your promises, and Lord, you have promise. Oh! You show signs and wonders! You focus on God and the problems just get smaller and smaller.
So, “Oh Lord, thou art God. You’ve created the heavens and the earth and everything that is in them, and by the mouth of thy servant David, you said, “Why do the heathen rage?” and the people imagined a vain thing. For they have gathered together against your Messiah, and truly Lord, the very thing David said, happened today, we saw them! What you have said, is what you have said is going to happen. You are true to your word.” And they went on just focusing on God, and then they finally came to their request. They said, “Now Lord, grant to your servants, that with all boldness they may speak your word”. That was the petition. But earlier you have all this focus on God, and worship preceding the petition.
I think that that is really a example for prayer. Notice when Jesus was asked by His disciples to teach them to pray, He said, “Pray like this” and it’s not the words, it’s the form. “Our Father, which art in heaven; Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” And then they get to the petition, “Give us this day our daily bread”. But the first focus in prayer is always on God. Who He is.
And Jeremiah was focusing on God and then he finally gets to the request. And the request was just an expression of his confusion of what has just transpired. “Lord, I don’t know why you would have me do such a foolish thing”.
So, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah saying, [God answered his prayer.] Behold I am Jehovah, the God of all flesh: [You’re right! “I am Jehovah God of all flesh”. And then He takes Jeremiah’s declaration (There’s nothing too hard for you), and He asks the question], is there anything too hard for me? [Think about that one again Jeremiah!] Therefore thus saith Jehovah; Behold, I will give this city into the hands of the Chaldeans, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it: [Reaffirming that the city was going to fall to Babylon.] And the Chaldeans, that fight against this city, shall come and they will set fire on this city and burn it with the houses, upon whose roofs they have offered incense unto Baal, and poured out drink offerings unto other gods, to provoke me to anger(32:26-39).
This city’s going to be burned. This city’s gonna be destroyed. Today in over in Jerusalem from the dung gate down the hillside to the spring of Guyhone along what is known as Offel, the city of David, and you can see a layer of ashes about so thick. The ashes of the city of Jerusalem from the fire of the Babylonians. You can see it right there, in the Strata, those ashes. It’s a mute testimony of God’s word here. “They’ll burn it with fire.” The roofs where they have burned their incense to Baal. And they’ve poured out their drink offerings to the other gods.
For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before me from their youth: [Jeremiah confessed this in his prayer.] for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the Lord. For this city hath been to me as a provocation of mine anger and of my fury from the day that they built it even unto this day; that I should remove it from before my face, [The people of this city were to be my people, but they’ve only provoked me, from the beginning.] and because of all of the evil of the children of Israel and of Judah, which they have done to provoke me to anger, they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They have turned unto me their backs, and not their face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction. [They turned their backs on God. They wouldn’t listen to the word of God. They harden their hearts to the things of God. But worse than that, they have worshiped the other gods.] They have set their abominations in the house of the Lord, which is called by my name, and they’ve defiled it. And they built their places of worship for Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, [Down in the Gehenna valley. They built these places of the worship of Baal and of Molech.] to cause their sons and daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech (32:30-35);
They would build these fires and they would throw their children in the fires for this god Molech, the god of pleasure. Actually it was a way of boarding in those days. It was a sex crazed society. They were into pornography. When professor Shiloh was excavating the ruins of the city of Jerusalem, there on Offel, and you’ll see it when we, you that go with us, you’ll see it, they found hundreds of little pornographic idols in the houses there. He said, I was talking to him and he said, “In each house”, he said, “there was just all kinds of little pornographic idols”. They are now in the History of Natural, or the Natural, the Museum of Natural History there in Jerusalem. The results of these digs and these idols that were found.
The people’s lusts were all inflamed, and a lot of promiscuous sex. Pornography leads to promiscuous sex, which leads to unwanted babies. So, because they didn’t have the medical skills for saline kind of abortions and all, they waited until the babies were born, and then they’d throw them into the bonfires unto their god of pleasure, the god Molech. And God said, “This is an abomination. It has never”, God said, “come into my mind.” God never wanted that kind of a sacrifice, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. It was really sort of the final straw, this abortion, was the final straw that said, they’ve got to be judged. They’ve got to come under judgement.
Now therefore thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city, whereof you say, It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence: Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, [Now, yes the city’s going to be destroyed, but now God’s talking about the future.] I’m going to gather them out of all of the countries, whither I have driven them in my anger, [Gonna bring them back.] and in my fury, and in my great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: [When the final tally is in, I’m going to bring them back, and they’re going to dwell safely here.] And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, and for the good of them, and for the children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with, and I will not turn away from them, to do them good, but I will put my fear in their hearts, [There’s going to come a glorious day in which the nation again, is going to worship God, truly, fully, completely. And they won’t depart.] And the Lord said Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. [I’m gonna plant them here.] For thus saith Jehovah; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon the people, so will I bring all of the good that I have promised them. And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof you say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. Men shall buy fields for money, they will subscribe the evidences, and they will seal them, and they will take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return saith the Lord (32:36-44).
So, this is all a sign Jeremiah, to the people, that the end isn’t destruction. The end will be good. For my people, the end will be good. They will be buying and selling here again. They will be, the property’s going to have value one day. Hold out! And so when we come back Jeremiah, they’re gonna find that jar, they’ll bring out the scrolls, saying, “Wait a minute! This is mine! I redeemed it with seventeen shekels of silver you know!” They’ll be buying and selling. So it was to really say to the people, God’s ultimate purpose for you is good. You’ve turned your back on God, and you’ve brought this evil upon yourself. Because of your rebellion against God, society is broken down, and you have this anarchy. But, I’m going to bring you back, and this is going to be a place that is blessed of the Lord. And you will be buying and selling properties and all, here once more, in that day. The end result that God has is that of good for the people.
Now, an interesting thing is that in these archeological diggings that I’ve been referring to, they have found evidently what was the house of the scribe that Jeremiah mentions, who was sort of a notary public. And he had his seals, that they would seal the document, they’d take the wax, and then they would press the seal in it. They have found his seal, and it gives his name just as it did here in Jeremiah. They found it there in Jerusalem, in the diggings of the ruins of the city of Jerusalem, that was destroyed by the Babylonians. They, it’s exciting that this very seal that Jeremiah mentions, by Baruch, the scribe, has been found. And it says, “The seal of Baruch, the son of Neriah, or whatever it is.
So, interesting, interesting! The word of God as we see how God is so faithful to His word. How God keeps His word. Focus on Him. Let your focus this week be on Him. Now, a lot of you are going through some pressured situations, and you can, you know the pressure can get you down. And you can get under the burden of living, but the Lord can speak to your heart and lift you out, if you’ll focus on Him. So spend some time, listening for God to speak. Give God an opportunity to speak to your heart. Be quiet and still before the Lord. And may the Lord minister to you in a very special way, as you learn to hear His voice and commune with Him.
Father we just thank You tonight for the opportunity again, of gathering to study Your Word. To learn of Your ways. Lord teach us, we pray. Your way. That we might walk in Your truth. That we might be Your servants indeed. Lord how we wait longingly and expectantly for that day, the day of redemption. When You take the scroll and You loose the seals, and You show Your right to rule and to reign over the earth that You have redeemed. Oh Lord, what a glorious day that will be. Now our hearts long for that day, when You reign in righteousness and in truth. When the kingdoms of this world, have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Savior and Messiah. Lord, bless Your people. May we behold Your face, and thus be changed, from glory to glory into that image, by the working of Your Spirit within our hearts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7297