Jeremiah obeyed God concerning buying the land but he wants clarification on as to why. He received some but asks for more from God.
First of all, God doesn’t HAVE to tell us why He does specific things or operates in a certain way. BUT it also doesn’t hurt to ask. The answer may not be what you wanted to hear but He LOVES for us to bring our concerns to Him.
Jeremiah was confused. He didn’t understand why God would be telling him to buy land. He knew that Judah would soon be overrun by Nebuchadnezzar. He knew the people were going into captivity. And he knew that captivity would last 70 years. He rightly surmised that he would not be alive at the end of that time and his purchase would mean nothing when the Babylonians controlled the land. So, why even bother with this ‘formality’ and ritual?
In Jeremiah’s prayer, the FIRST thing he did was acknowledge that God was sovereign and had a right to give ANY directions He chose to Jeremiah, and to expect to be obeyed. Jeremiah then recounted how good God was to the people, in the past. From bringing them out of Egypt to even the latest acts of protection God had shown His chosen nation. Next Jeremiah recounts the litany of sins laid at the feet of Israel and Judah. Jeremiah points out that the punishment for those sins are encamped about the city even at that very moment.
Now comes the actual question part of Jeremiah’s prayer. His “WHY?” goes like this; “Yet You, O Lord God, have said to me, ‘Buy the field for money and get witnesses’ – thought the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans” (verse 25).
We previously read that Jeremiah shared God’s “Why” with the people who were with him when he bought the piece of property. He even shared the way in which God wanted this deed treated once it was signed. It was put in an earthen jar for preservation. I wouldn’t doubt if that jar was sealed afterwards to preserve it for even longer. So, after relating ‘why’, why did Jeremiah ask “why” again?
Is it possible that Jeremiah isn’t asking for the answer to “Why” for himself alone? In voicing this prayer, Jeremiah got to lay out Israel’s path from Egypt onward to those in the court of the guards with him. Everyone present got to hear, once again, WHY God was bringing judgment on the people. AND that what Jeremiah had already shared with them from the Lord WAS happening at that very moment. “What You spoke has come to pass, and behold, You see it” (verse 24b). No prophet could ask for better proof of his accuracy for the Lord.
God didn’t skip straight to the ‘why’ for Jeremiah. He started with establishing, even for those who refused to listen, His RIGHT to do as He chose. “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of ALL flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” (verse 27). God also decided to go forward instead of backwards with His answer. He reaffirmed His words about Judah being conquered. “There is no way out of it. I’m giving this city into the hands of the Chaldeans. Because of your OWN behavior.” This isn’t the end of God’s answer to Jeremiah’s prayer but it is where we get to stop for today.
A LOT of times, when we ask God “WHY?!” it is from a position of pain. In the asking and in the understanding, we often forget the first part of Jeremiah’s prayer; “You are God and I am not.” Our hearts are hurting and really what we are asking is for a different answer. “Why did You take my child?” “Why did I get cancer?” “Why didn’t I get the job?” That’s not the kind of “why” God ever answers to our satisfaction because He doesn’t rewind time for us. Instead, when we let Him, he quiets our hearts and walks with us through the pain. When we are ready, He will give us some insight into the “why” and it is usually something we NEVER would have expected. 20/20 hindsight is GREAT at highlighting the why’s in our past.
One of the hardest “why” answers for us concerns that fact that we live in a fallen world. ‘Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people.’ God does NOT set out to bring us harm. Our own actions get us there sometimes. But we cannot blame ourselves OR God for every bad thing that happens in our lives. We simply need to trust that He can use ‘this too’ for our good. And that He will be with us no matter what life brings.
Father God, thank You for the why’s that You have answered for me. I know that they haven’t always come right when I asked but You have NEVER let me flounder in any circumstances. Even when I don’t know why I KNOW You are right beside me. I LOVE it when You open my eyes after the dust settles and You show me the growth that has transpired because of the ‘why’ events. I would NOT be the woman I am if it were not for the ‘why’ experiences You have walked me through.
Not every ‘why’ experience has a ‘happy ending’. For those that still have pain attached to them, thank You for carrying me through that pain. You teach me how to move on, even when it hurts. And You actually begin to turn it into a strength beyond anything I could imagine. Help me remember this when I face another ‘why’ that takes my breath away and leaves me reeling. For You are even in those times; right beside me.