January 15, 1991, I was living in Salinas where I had an engagement to go to dinner that night with three fellow pastors. One called me near the time he was supposed to pick me up and told me we were at war with Iraq. I turned on the television. We skipped dinner. Everybody, it seemed, was watching that war intently, and so were we. That night I turned on the television and watched “the bombs bursting in air.”
Sunday’s passage is the study of a man whose nation is at war. On that night in January of 1991, if I had done what Jeremiah did in this passage, I would have called up a real estate broker in Kuwait and I would have bought a piece of ground or a summer house in Kuwait City.
In September 588 B.C. Jeremiah cries, “See, the siege ramps are built up to take the city” (Jeremiah 32:24). The city was encompassed with soldiers. It would soon fall. The siege had gone on for a couple of years by this time, and the people were starving in the streets of Jerusalem. There was not enough water! There was not enough food! Typhus and death were reigning in the streets. There was a general mood of discouragement.
At this time, Jeremiah did an unthinkable thing. When all the citizens were discouraged and doom was imminent, Jeremiah took his last seventeen shekels and bought a piece of ground. He himself was a prisoner and couldn’t even go look at the ground. He called his local real estate agent and said, “I want to buy this piece of ground.” He bought this one lot, as if to say, “The promises of God always hold.”
At such a dreary, hopeless moment, the prophet buys a piece of ground. The lesson is inescapable: God never forgets.