International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday September 21, 2014
Purpose: To affirm that, because God is Lord of the future, doing kingdom of God work is always warranted, even in the midst of dire circumstances
Bible Lesson: Background: Jeremiah 32
Jeremiah 32:2-9 (CEB)
(2) At that time, the army of the Babylonian king had surrounded Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was confined to the prison quarters in the palace of Judah’s king. (3) Judah’s King Zedekiah had Jeremiah sent there after questioning him: "Why do you prophesy, ‘This is what the Lord says: I’m handing this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will occupy it; (4) and Judah’s King Zedekiah will be captured and handed over to the king of Babylon; he will speak to the king of Babylon personally and see him with his very own eyes. (5) And Zedekiah will be carried off to Babylon to live out his days until I punish him, declares the Lord. If you make war against the Babylonians, you will fail.’"
(6) Jeremiah said, The Lord’s word came to me: (7) your cousin Hanamel, Shallum’s son, is on his way to see you; and when he arrives, he will tell you: "Buy my field in Anathoth, for by law you are next in line to purchase it." (8) And just as the Lord had said, my cousin Hanamel showed up at the prison quarters and told me, "Buy my field in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for you are next in line and have a family obligation to purchase it." Then I was sure this was the Lord’s doing. (9) So I bought the field in Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, and weighed out for him seventeen shekels of silver. ……….
Jeremiah 32: 14-15 (CEB)
(14) "The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Take these documents—this sealed deed of purchase along with the unsealed one—and put them into a clay container so they will last a long time. (15) The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land."
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
So, the question that everyone wants to ask is; does the Lord bring judgment by means of war, natural disaster or some other means? How would you discipline those that you love who have not shown in their daily lives that they reciprocate or appreciate that love?
God had initially made a covenant with Abraham and later with Moses that he would be the God of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Later at Mt. Sinai God again renewed that covenant with those He brought out of Egypt. God had issued to Moses a series of “blessings and curses.” Obedience brought about blessings and disobedience brought about judgment.
For four hundred years these descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been the benefactor of God’s blessings. In that time the children had strayed from worshiping the God of their ancestors, and began worshiping Baal. Listen to God’s reply to Jeremiah in verses 26-35 of this chapter. (26)” Then the Lord’s word came to Jeremiah: (27) I am the Lord, the God of all living things! Is anything too hard for me? (28)Therefore, the Lord proclaims: I’m handing this city over to the Babylonians and King Nebuchadnezzar, who will capture it. (29) They will enter the city, set it on fire, and burn it down—including the houses on whose roofs offerings have been made to Baal and drink offerings to other gods, which made me especially angry. (30) The people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but evil in my eyes since their youth; the people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but anger me by the work of their hands, declares the Lord. (31) This city has enraged me from the day it was built to this very day, and so it must be removed from my sight—(32) because of all the evil done by the people of Israel and Judah to make me angry—they, their kings and officials, their priests and prophets, the men of Judah, and those who live in Jerusalem. (33) They turned their backs to me and not their faces; and though I taught them over and over, they wouldn’t accept my correction.(34) They set up their disgusting idols in the temple that bears my name and violated it; (35) and they built shrines to Baal in the Ben-hinnon Valley, where they sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded them—nor did it even cross my mind—that they should do such detestable things, leading Judah to sin.”
Wow! What would you do?
Even with all that has been done God renews his covenant with Jeremiah in verse 37-38 (37)“I will gather them from all the countries where I have scattered them in my fierce anger and rage. I will bring them back to this place to live securely. (38) They will be my people, and I will be their God”.
In our text, Jeremiah shows his faith and trust in what the Lord promised by buy a piece of property that he has no access and no way to profit, but simply saying to God, “I believe you.”
There may be times in our lives when God is using circumstances to have a teaching moment, make sure you learn the lesson quickly. Always know with assurance that even in exile God will be with you. God is with us in both times of tragedy and celebration.
God is a God of the future, and he is always looking for ways to restore us. In the words of the old sage “I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future” or as the songwriter put it “I don’t know who holds tomorrow, but I know who holds my hand”