Tucked Safely Away
Read: Jeremiah 32:1-22; Luke 2:19; Luke 2:51
The last of the cinnamon pear jam is in the refrigerator, and the salsa made from last year's garden tomatoes has already been eaten. Almost every jar is empty. Time to put up more produce for the up-coming months. There's something very comforting about jars of produce that have been tucked away for the future. Opening one on a winter day is a sweet blessing from the Lord Who created so many good things for us to enjoy, 1 Timothy 6:17.
As far as we know, the prophet Jeremiah never did any canning, but Almighty God told him to tuck something safely away. Let's look at what Jeremiah tucked away and why doing so showed how much this prophet believed what God had said. When God called Jeremiah to warn His people that judgment was coming if they didn't turn away from their wickedness, the prophet was very young, Jeremiah 1:6. In fact, the Lord told Jeremiah that, before he was born, he had been set apart for this special work, Jeremiah 1:5. His ministry, though God ordained, was not successful if success is gauged by human standards. For the most part, Jeremiah was not believed. Instead, the people preferred to listen to the false prophets who told them that no judgment would be coming. He was scorned and persecuted. He gave God's unpopular message for more than 40 years and had to watch as the people he loved were killed and taken away into captivity by the Babylonians. In spite of all Jeremiah suffered and no matter how his heart broke for his disobedient people, Jeremiah remained faithful to God's mandate, praying for and faithfully speaking God's message.
That fact has always been uppermost in my mind concerning the success of the prophet's ministry. Yet, there is another beautiful facet to Jeremiah's life that I would like to consider now. A single act of faithfulness that showed that, although Jeremiah's prayers for his people were not answered as he had hoped, his belief in the faithfulness of God didn't waver. As Jeremiah 32 opens, Jeremiah is imprisoned because of his message that King Zedekiah would be taken away to Babylon. Jerusalem, which was under siege, would fall. Because there had been no repentance, judgment was a certainty. Not what King Zedekiah wanted to hear, and Jeremiah's lack of freedom was proof of that fact. Yet, real hope was not gone. It was at this dark time that God spoke to his prophet, telling him to purchase a field. Talk about strange timing. Jeremiah had previously been told that the people would be away from their land for 70 years. In spite of that, the prophet was told to purchase a piece of land. Because Jeremiah believed God, he weighed out 17 pieces of silver. He had them placed, both a sealed and unsealed copy of the deed of purchase, into a pottery jar. These documents were securely tucked away until the time that God would fulfill His promise and His people would be permitted to return to their land. Jeremiah 32:17-22 is a beautiful reminder that Jeremiah knew that his money would not be wasted. He knew His God, the One Who had created the heavens and the earth, the same One Who had miraculously given the people their land. This awesome God had performed many wonders and, Jeremiah knew that there is nothing too difficult for the Lord. The prophet was saying, through his obedience, that, although he wouldn't see it, God would do what He had promised, Jeremiah 25:11-12.
Sometimes, we have situations like Jeremiah's. We have prayed long and hard without seeing God's intervention in the ways we had hoped. At times, we aren't certain what His answer has been. Is He saying no or wait? What to do?
Jeremiah kept crying out to the Lord on behalf of His people. We too can keep praying for what is on our hearts, Luke 18:1-8. However, there is something more to consider as we look at Jeremiah's life and ours. His obedience, along with his prayers honored God.
Jeremiah had tucked away something precious prior to his having the land deeds set aside. The prophet had truths about His God that were close to his heart, Psalm 119:11, and therefore, even when circumstances didn't come to pass as he had hoped, Jeremiah's knowledge of Who God is helped him to remain faithful.
Let's continue to both pray and tuck away God's truth. Doing both these things will help us to demonstrate, as Jeremiah did, that we believe God is faithful. He will in His time and in His way, keep every promise because He cannot lie, Titus 1:2. Let's tuck away God's precepts and promises, as Mary did, Luke 2:19; Luke 2:51.