Thursday, April 25, 2013

Two Fields, Two Promises

In the Old Testament there are two men who buy fields. First, there is Abraham buying a field to bury Sarah in (Genesis 23). Then there is Jeremiah buying a field in Jeremiah 32. Why does God have both of these stories in the Bible? Why do we need to know that Abraham bought a field in Machpelah? Why do we need to know that Jeremiah bought a field right before Israel went into exile?

The answer is that God wanted Abraham, Jeremiah, and us to remember that he is faithful. God had promised Abraham the land. When he died the only plot he owned was Machpelah. But it was a symbol and reminder to his descendants that one day he would own the whole land.

The same idea is behind the command to have Jeremiah buy a field right before Israel is taken into exile. God is promising that Israel will come back. Fields will be planted and harvested again. Jeremiah actually doubts God's promise to do this (32:24-27). But the Lord swears that he will plant Israel in this land again (vs. 41). The field is a sign of God's promise to be faithful.

But neither man saw God's promises fulfilled. Abraham was long dead when his people took the land. Jeremiah was long dead when Israel returned to the land. Yet they believed even when their eyes did not see.

It is good to know that God is faithful to his promises whether we see them fulfilled or not.

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8