In Jeremiah 32 the prophet finds himself in undesirable, even discouraging circumstances. Jerusalem is under siege by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, and Jeremiah is being held captive in the palace by his own king Zedekiah. And the king is not happy with him. Jeremiah had faithfully delivered the hard word of the Lord that Judah was going into exile and that Zedekiah would not succeed in battle against Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah was imprisoned for his faithfulness to the word of God.
Not only was the Lord’s word hard for Jeremiah to deliver and the result discouraging, but then the Lord commanded Jeremiah to do something odd, almost contradictory to the message he had proclaimed. God told Jeremiah to buy a field in the land of Benjamin. “What! You want me to buy a field in a land that You are sending us out of? I’m telling people to get ready to leave and to settle down in Babylon (Jer 29:1-9), but you want me to invest my money in a land we won’t be in? Doesn’t that seem a little foolish? What will the king think now?”
Even though Jeremiah readily obeyed the Lord’s word (he bought the field; Jer 32:6-15), he still struggled with the Lord’s way (Jer 32:24-25). He didn’t understand what the Lord was up to. God’s way just wasn’t making sense to him.
So, he turns to God in prayer (Jer 32:16-25). And the prayer is good. He adores God for who He is and what He has done. He praises God for the gospel of redemption experienced in Egypt. He confesses God’s faithfulness to His word and the sins of the people. He even declares, “Nothing is too hard for you.” (v. 17) But, he still doesn’t understand why God has commanded him to buy the forsaken field.
In a display of condescending kindness, God replies to Jeremiah. And notice what God asks him: “Is anything too hard for me?” (v. 27) Now, why did God pose that question to Jeremiah? Jeremiah had just said, “Nothing is too hard for you.” So why did God turn around and ask him, “Is anything too hard for me?”
Well, I think it was because Jeremiah was a lot like us. It is so easy to pray the right words. It’s easy to confess the right truths. Words, even words that we mean, can roll off of our lips so easy. But, if we are honest, sometimes it’s hard to believe and cherish those words we confess. Jeremiah had it in his head, but he also needed it in his heart. And the only One who could get it into his heart was the Almighty God. That’s why God responded to his discouraged and confused prophet.
Aren’t you joyfully thankful that God understands us. He hears our words, sees our hearts, and responds in just the way we need to strengthen our faith. To get us to not just say but to see and savor that “nothing is to hard for the Lord.” The Lord who delivered Israel out of Egypt, could certainly deliver Judah out of exile. The land investment wasn’t a waste of purchase but a word of promise. God would bring them back (Jer 32:36-44).
We need to hear this message and trust the word and way of the Lord. Nothing is to hard for the God of our redemption. Nothing. Not a prodigal child. Not a difficult marriage. Not a challenging vocation. Not a seemingly impossible situation. Not even our own sanctification and perseverance in the faith. Nothing!
“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Rom 8:32
Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.