Connecting to the Larger Story
The prophets continued to warn the people and their leaders for centuries what would happen if they continued their oppressive ways and did not return to God. Over time, the warnings grew more grave and the capture of Jerusalem was foretold. The kingdom of Judah (Israel had earlier split into two kingdoms - Israel in the north and Judah in the south; Israel had already been conquered) was attacked by the Babylonians who carried off the leaders and the elite into exile so that they could establish their own puppet government in Jerusalem. The people of Judah were devastated and wondered where the God who had promised that David's throne would last forever with one of his sons as king was in all of this. Of course, the prophets had warned that God was doing this to bring the people back to the Lord.
Important to Note
1) Even as the people were being carried against their will to a foreign land, leaving their homeland in ruins, and as other fled to faraway lands like Egypt where they would establish new homes, Jeremiah delivered God's promise that they would one day return and that God would prosper them. The exile - as hard as it was - was for the rebuilding of God's people, so they were called to live their lives as best as they could in their new homes with the promise that one day they would be back home.
2) Putting his money where his mouth (speaking for God) was, Jeremiah bought a plot of land from his relative and had the deed buried in the field. This action proved his confidence that the people would one day return. Why else would he have spent his money on a land that was about to be taken from him? This action proved how much he believed that his family would one day inhabit this property again. The prophets often spoke through these symbolic actions rather than just through words.
Thoughts for Reflection
1) How does walking through times of hardship help us eventually return with a deeper faith than we had before?
2) Are we people of words or of actions that back up our words?