International Sunday School Lesson
“Reverse Sunday School” will begin meeting on the second Sunday in September, (9/14/14) immediately following church at noon. Stick around after church for what will be our weekly Bible study: We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McLaren. This is a year-long walk through the Bible following the liturgical calendar. It’s a quest for “spiritual formation, reorientation and activation”.
September Sunday School Lessons – Lindsey Poteat
© 2009 RightlyDivided.net All Rights Reserved Study notes for Sept. 21, 2014 .This lesson is an outreach ministry of West Lenoir Baptist Church, Lenoir, North Carolina.
You are welcomed to provide your thoughts on the lesson. Thank you.
International Sunday School Lesson
September 21, 2014
Lesson Text: Jeremiah 32: 1-9, 14-15
Lesson Title: A New Future
There comes a time in everyone’s life when the future looks dark. For the
prophet Jeremiah and the Israelites, that time had come. As Jeremiah pens the
words of Jeremiah 32 the Babylonians are about to overrun Jerusalem and the
fall of Jerusalem was inevitable. Jeremiah himself was shut up in prison. If the
future ever looked dark, it was now.
In Jeremiah 32 God gives Jeremiah a vision in which he was commanded to
buy a field in the city of Anathoth, Jeremiah’s home town (Jeremiah 1:1). From
a real estate perspective the purchase of land was foolish with the Babylonians
about to overrun the city. From a prophetic perspective obeying God and
buying the land was an act of faith on the part of Jeremiah. It showed that he
believed God would one day restore the nation of Israel to the Promised Land
and that God’s people had a future.
Much like the people of God in Jeremiah’s day, believers today face some very
difficult and challenging situations. Do you sometimes have feelings of despair
and hopelessness as you look at what lies ahead? Do you ever wonder how God
is ever going to make all the wrongs right in this world? If so, then Jeremiah 32
should be an encouragement to your faith. No matter how dark the day there is
a new future for the children of God.
A Prison (Jeremiah 32:1-5)
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of Zedekiah
king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar. 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.”
This unique story of Jeremiah’s land purchase begins in the “tenth year” of the
reign of “King Zedekiah of Judah.” For nine years Jeremiah had prophesied the
destruction of the nation and that King Zedekiah would be taken into captivity.
During the years of Jeremiah’s prophecy King Zedekiah had not persecuted
Jeremiah. But now that the Babylonians are about to lay siege to Jerusalem,
the king had Jeremiah arrested because his prophecies were discouraging to
the people. He placed him in “the court of the prison” which was a place where
the more affluent prisoners were housed. It was not as difficult a place as a
dungeon but it was still a prison.
In spite of the invading armies surrounding Jerusalem, the actions of King
Zedekiah in placing Jeremiah in prison, and the discouraging atmosphere
among the people of God, there was a “word that came to Jeremiah from the
LORD.” Many of the greatest and most encouraging words from God came to
those who were “shut up” or in the “prisons” of life. No matter what the
situations of life may hold for us, there is always a word from God!
“For Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying, Wherefore dost thou
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;”
The reason Zedekiah “shut him up” was because he couldn’t understand why
Jeremiah prophesied the things he did. The king asked Jeremiah, “Why do you
prophesy and say, “Thus said the LORD, Behold, I will give this city into the
hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it?” Zedekiah thought Jeremiah
should be prophesying like all the other prophets and encouraging the people
instead of prophesying this gloom and doom message. It seemed unpatriotic to
the king for Jeremiah to be telling everyone they were going to Babylon to pay
for their sins.
The reason Jeremiah prophesied what he did was because it was true. King
Zedekiah should have known the truth but he didn’t because he was a
spiritually weak man. He should have endorsed Jeremiah’s prophesy and led
the nation to repentance, but like most politicians and religious leaders today,
repentance is not even open for discussion.
“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;”
Jeremiah’s message not only prophesied that the “king of Babylon” would take
the city, it also declared that “Zedekiah” would himself “not escape” but “be
delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.” Jeremiah’s message was not
only nationally offensive to the king, it was personally offensive. According to
Jeremiah, “Zedekiah” would “speak with” the king of Babylon “mouth to
mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes.” For a captive king to stand face to
face with his conquering king was humiliating. But that was what was going to
happen and Jeremiah proclaimed it.
“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?”
As further humiliation for “King Zedekiah,” the king of Babylon would “lead
Zedekiah to Babylon.” Like a captured animal or a trophy of victory the king of
Babylon will put “Zedekiah” on display for all Babylon to see. This did happen
as the Bible says, “And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put
out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to
Babylon” (2 Kings 25:7).
A Purchase (Jeremiah 32:6-9)
“And Jeremiah said, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Behold,
Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy
thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it.”
While in prison, the “word of the LORD came” to Jeremiah and God told
Jeremiah that his cousin “Hanameel” the son of his uncle “Shallum,” would be
coming to him and ask him to buy a piece of land he had in Anathoth. It is
possible that a lull in the siege of Jerusalem had occurred and the people took
this window of opportunity to do business. The siege had no doubt placed
families in financial difficulty resulting in their need to sell land to get some
cash flow. It would be almost impossible to sell property with the Babylonians
on the verge of capturing everything the people possessed.
God told Jeremiah what his cousin would say when he offered him the land. He
would say, “Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is
thine to buy it.” Land was a sacred possession to the Jewish people. If at all
possible land was to be kept within the family. Since Jeremiah was a relative,
he could “redeem” it, “buy it,” and keep it in the family.
“So Hanameel mine uncle’s son 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 in
Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is
thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was
the word of the LORD.”
When “Hanameel” made the offer of the land to Jeremiah, the prophet
responded, “Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.” Jeremiah was
not a real estate agent but he was no fool either. He knew that with him in prison and the
Babylonians outside the wall ready to attack at any moment that it was no time to be buying
land. But when “Hanameel” says the very words God told Jeremiah he would say, Jeremiah
“knew” this was the hand of the Lord.
“And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle’s son, that was in Anathoth, and
weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver.”
As a result of “knowing” God was in this transaction, Jeremiah “bought the field of Hanameel”
his “uncle’s son, that was in Anathoth.” Jeremiah’s actions are an act of faith. The amount paid
for the transaction was “seventeen shekels of silver” and the record of the entire transaction is
recorded in verses 9-12.
It is difficult to know the market value of the land or exactly how much “seventeen shekels of
silver” would be in value today. What is interesting is that although in prison, Jeremiah had
“silver” which he needed to buy food for himself during the Babylonian siege. To hand over
coins of silver to his cousin in exchange for land he had no guarantee he would ever need or
occupy is indeed an act of faith. Remember, Jeremiah is doing everything based on “the
word of the LORD!”
A Promise (Jeremiah 32:14-15)
“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; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.”
According to Jeremiah 32:10-12 (not in today’s text) Jeremiah followed all the proper procedures
in purchasing the land and completing the proper documents in the presence of official court
witnesses. What transpires in these verses is similar to what would take place today in the office
of the Register of Deeds or Clerk of Court when someone sells or purchases property. But there
is more going on in Jeremiah’s transaction than just the selling of property.
After completing the transaction, Jeremiah took the “evidence” or legal papers and in front of
everyone he spoke the words of verse 14 to “Baruch,” his scribe or secretary (Jeremiah 32:13).
This is the first mention of “Baruch” in Jeremiah’s prophesy. “Baruch” will be mentioned some
twenty times more in Jeremiah, primarily in chapter 36.
Twice, Jeremiah refers to the “God of Israel” as “the LORD of hosts.” That phrase means “the
God of the armies.” By using this phrase twice Jeremiah is emphasizing that what is taking place
in this land transaction is serious and secure. Every action taken is under the scrutiny and
security of “the God of armies.”
There are two documents of purchase in this transaction as indicated in the words “both.” While
“both” documents are “sealed,” one document could be looked at the other was locked up, not
for viewing. “Both” documents were “sealed” with wax to prevent rain or moisture from ruining
them and placed “in an earthen vessel” or clay jar for safe keeping. The “earthen vessel” was
usually buried for security purposes. This was common practice in that day and obviously very
effective in preserving documents.
“For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and
vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.”
The reason Jeremiah wants the “evidences” or deeds preserved is because he believed God for
the future of the nation of Israel. He didn’t buy the land from his cousin because he planned to
make a financial profit in the future. It wasn’t even about Jeremiah building a home and living on
this land he bought in the future. Jeremiah knew he would never occupy or live on this land. At
least not in this life.
The purchase of the land is a symbolic and prophetic act of this great prophet. He believes Israel
has a future (Jeremiah 32:44). “Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this
land” are words of hope, faith, and trust in God for a return of His people to the Promised Land.
“Houses” speak of families and identity. “Fields” speak of labor, investment and a harvest.
“Vineyards” speak of fruit, life, hope, sustenance and sweet days ahead. The land will one day
again be what God intended it to be.
While the Bible doesn’t tells us how the public reacted to this land transaction, one can only
imagine that Jeremiah was the talk of the town. The prophet who preached doom and gloom is
now buying land. People must have laughed in disbelief, some thinking Jeremiah was crazy.
True biblical faith is viewed by many today as crazy, unrealistic, and pie in the sky dreams and
hopes. But faith is real. It is just as real as the air that we breathe and the flesh that is on our
Bones. The Apostle Paul said, “…for I know
whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
Jeremiah had a word from the Lord and he believed it. What about you? Are there times in your
life when the future seems dark? Do you have difficulty believing God during those times? Are
your decisions often viewed as against conventional wisdom? Taking God at His word and
believing what God has promised does not always look or seem logical. But it is what God
requires. He calls it faith (Hebrews 11:1).
Jeremiah will not live to see what he believes and prophecies in this chapter. But he was certain
God would bring it to pass. The Apostle Paul told the young Christians at Thessalonica,
“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it”
(1 Thessalonians 5:24).