When cousin Hanamel came to Jeremiah with a “good deal”, he must have thought it was a long shot. The Chaldeans had laid siege to Jerusalem, which meant its massive Babylon-based army was already occupying a lot of the land surrounding Jerusalem — so you gotta know real estate just wasn’t moving like it once had. But still cousin Hanamel comes to Jeremiah and presents to him an “opportunity” to buy a little fixer-upper on a couple of acres at a real reasonable price. (Did I mention it probably has a marauding hoard living on it?)
But to everyone’s surprise, Jeremiah’s in. Signs on the bottom line, Venmo’s the required cash (or whatever the equivalent in 600 BC.), and takes the deeds of purchase and seals them away until its time to take possession of the land. (Did I mention the marauding hoard, the most powerful fighting force on earth at the time, overrunning the land?)
So what’s up with that?
Check out Jeremiah 32. Before Hanamel ever approaches Jeremiah, the LORD tells Jeremiah that his cousin is going to come to him with an offer and Jeremiah is not to refuse it. Buy the land, says the LORD. Okay, says obedient Jeremiah. Then, after the deal’s done and the witnesses have left, Jeremiah goes into his prayer closet and says to the LORD, “What?”
“After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed to the LORD, saying: ‘Ah, Lord GOD! It is You who have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for You. . . . Behold, the siege mounds have come up to the city to take it, and because of sword and famine and pestilence the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans who are fighting against it. What You spoke has come to pass, and behold, You see it. Yet You, O Lord GOD, have said to me, “Buy the field for money and get witnesses” — though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.'”
(Jeremiah 32:16-17, 24-25 ESV)
Before asking God what’s going on, Jeremiah first acknowledges who God is. The Creator of heaven and earth (v.17). The Caregiver and Court Arbiter showing “steadfast love to thousands” but repaying “the guilt of the fathers to their children” (v. 18-19). The Deliverer from Egypt (v.20-22) and the Director of the Chaldeans (v. 23b-24). And in that context, Jeremiah tries to make sense of God the Realtor.
And the LORD will answer Jeremiah’s questioning prayer and explain to him the plan. But what grabs me is that the LORD doesn’t immediately address what Jeremiah doesn’t understand, but begins with affirming and emphasizing what Jeremiah does understand.
The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for Me?”
(Jeremiah 32:26-27 ESV)
“Is anything too hard for Me?” says the LORD. Implied answer? Nope!
That’s the starting point for making sense of the nonsensical. Being reminded of who God is helps us deal with trying to figure out what God’s doing. Knowing He is the Creator has a way of putting into perspective the chaos. Believing that nothing is to hard for Him calms the concerns of what seems too much for us.
I’m not dealing with a siege. Not wondering whether or not I’ve made a bad real estate deal. But I look at what’s on my horizon and, at times, it can seem a bit overwhelming. And a still small voice whispers from the words on the page, “Is anything too hard for Me?”
So, I’ll trust in the LORD with all my heart. Lean not to my own understanding. In all my ways acknowledge Him. Confident that He’ll make straight my paths. (Prov. 3:5-6)
‘Cause nothing is too hard for Him.
By His grace. For His glory.