Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today
NL Daily Devotion for Saturday, September 1, 2018
by Dr. Kimberly Leetch, Clergy Stuff
Jeremiah was in prison when his cousin, Hanamel came to sell him his land. Israel had sinned greatly, and were being punished by God. (Whether they were actually being punished by God or they simply attributed all their bad fortunes to God -- that is a debate for another time.) They were being conquered and their lands taken from them. Hanamel (who earlier had plotted against Jeremiah's life) visited Jeremiah in prison to sell him a plot of land that had already been (or would soon be -- the writing was on the wall) seized by their enemies, the Chaldeans.
So why, if the land was no longer Hanamel's to sell, would Jeremiah buy the land? Because God told him to. Before Hanamel ever visited, God told Jeremiah Hanamel was coming, and that he should buy the land, despite the land's worthlessness. Because of God's forewarning to Jeremiah about the land, Jeremiah knew that the word concerning the defeat to the Chaldeans was also from God. Jeremiah bought the land before witnesses and had the deed sealed in earthenware vessels so they would last for the long haul. Someday he deeds would be valid again. The sale of the land was a sign that God would deliver them one day.
Narrative Lectionary Daily Reading:
After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord, saying: Ah Lord God! It is you who made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. You show steadfast love to the thousandth generation, but repay the guilt of parents into the laps of their children after them, O great and mighty God whose name is the Lord of hosts, great in counsel and mighty in deed; whose eyes are open to all the ways of mortals, rewarding all according to their ways and according to the fruit of their doings. You showed signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and to this day in Israel and among all humankind, and have made yourself a name that continues to this very day. You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and outstretched arm, and with great terror; and you gave them this land, which you swore to their ancestors to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey; and they entered and took possession of it. But they did not obey your voice or follow your law; of all you commanded them to do, they did nothing. Therefore you have made all these disasters come upon them. See, the siege-ramps have been cast up against the city to take it, and the city, faced with sword, famine, and pestilence, has been given into the hands of the Chaldeans who are fighting against it. What you spoke has happened, as you yourself can see. Yet you, O Lord God, have said to me, “Buy the field for money and get witnesses” —though the city has been given into the hands of the Chaldeans.