What does it say?
God instructs Jeremiah to buy a field from his nephew in his hometown of Anathoth (Jer 32). This is a strange request since the year is 588/87 BC and the Babylonian armies are already surrounding Judah and Jerusalem. God clarifies that this act is a demonstration of faith that he will keep him promise to bring his people back to the land following the captivity.
Jeremiah 33 continues the theme of future restoration. God will rebuild what he has destroyed and he will keep the promises that he has made. Joy and prosperity will characterize his kingdom in that day and the ideal king will be on the throne, the Branch that we have seen before, the Messiah. The two families mentioned in 33:24 refer to the divided kingdom, Israel and Judah, that will become one once again.
The time frame is the same as Jeremiah delivers a divine message to king Zedekiah in the opening verses of chapter 34. The invasion is inevitable and Zedekiah will be captured by Babylon, yet not be killed by the sword. In desperation, Zedekiah decrees that the slaves be freed, thinking to gain favor with God. This, of course, does nothing to deliver Zedekiah from what God has already determined.
What does it mean?
Jeremiah’s statement of faith in buying property that is already under enemy control is powerful. He goes through all the due diligence and procedures to make the purchase legal and binding. The message, of course, is that God is not finished with his mission. But notice carefully that Jeremiah obeys first and asks questions later. He completely does all that God asks him to do without having a clue as to why God would ask him to do something so strange. Only once he has completed all does he go to God and ask him why.
We should also observe once again that God never fails to keep his missional hope of reconciliation and restoration before his people even in the face of inevitable judgment. We must remember that the Gospel message goes beyond mere salvation and that it includes full reconciliation and restoration of all things.
How will I respond?
Can I think of a time in my life when I have done something God has impressed me to do without having to first understand all the reasons?