Anata (Anathoth), Hill Country, Judea.
Original steel engraving drawn by W. H. Bartlett,
engraved by E. Brandard. ca 1850. 19x13cm
For Sun. Sept. 30, Year C, Proper 21
Things could not have looked worse. The Babylonians were at the city gates besieging Jerusalem, the single remaining bastion of God’s people in the world. Jeremiah had said the Babylonians would come, and that resistance was futile. The king at the time, Zedekiah, being a fan of the power of positive thinking, would have none of this, and threw Jeremiah in prison. But as the Babylonians pressed the attack, a flustered Zedekiah went back to Jeremiah, and with exasperation exclaimed, “Why do you prophesy as you do!”
Jeremiah responds with a story of how he came into possession of a little piece of real estate in Anathoth, just north of Jerusalem. The point of the was also an answer to Zedekiah’s exasperation:
For this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land. – Jeremiah 32:15
Do you happen to find yourself in bleak circumstances that leave you feeling exasperated? Maybe you are a President of a world superpower that has just learned of North Korean nuclear s material half-way around the world in Syria. Maybe you are a spouse who sees no hope for a difficult marriage. Maybe you are facing a terminal illness. Maybe you’ve completely lost your way vocationally. To you God says, “Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land.”
So it came to pass for the Jews, who were allowed to return to their homeland a mere 50 years after the fall of Jerusalem when King Cyrus, the Persian who had conquered the Babylonians, declared their freedom to return in 536 B.C. So it will come to pass for us as we trust and obey our Heavenly Father.
So will it also come to pass for the world itself. Just as Jeremiah himself may have been the one to open the sealed title to the property he purchased fifty years earlier, so will Jesus open the sealed title to the whole world, which is the property he purchased on Calvary:
When I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” . . . Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals. (Rev. 5:1-5)