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Prayers of the Prophets – Lesson 13: Understanding

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. – Psalm 32:8

Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 32:1-15

What if the country you lived in was overrun by enemy troops, and the main body of their army was about to seize the capital city? Would purchasing a parcel of land near the capital enter your mind? Probably not. Most of us would probably think of running for our lives!

Buying real estate wouldn’t have crossed Jeremiah’s mind either unless God had told him to do it. And that He did. God told Jeremiah to buy a field near Jerusalem, while Jerusalem was being sieged by the Babylonian army! Jeremiah obeyed-oh, and by the way, Jeremiah was under arrest and sitting in jail when he made this acquisition. What must have gone through Jeremiah’s mind? Of all the things God had told him to do, perhaps this made the least sense.

Do you feel like God doesn’t always make sense? It is hard for us to understand the mysterious workings of the Lord. But we know that God doesn’t make mistakes.

Paul stated well our inability to understand: “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known” (I Cor. 13:12). Ancient mirrors actually manufactured at Corinth were made from metal and gave only dim reflections. This illustrates the lack of knowledge we possess at this time.

When Jeremiah prays about his real estate purchase, he doesn’t question God’s integrity or sanity. Rightfully, he questions his ability to understand why God would have him do this. Those great prophets from the Bible didn’t know and see everything! Daniel prayed earnestly for insight-God granted it. And now Jeremiah prays, and God opens his understanding.

Lesson Questions

  1. How was God’s command to buy a field near Jerusalem to have been a sign of hope to Judah? Jer. 32:1-2,13-15.
  2. What confidence in God’s power did Jeremiah show in his prayer? Jer. 32:16-17.
  3. What confidence in God’s mercy and judgment did Jeremiah have? Jer. 32:18-19.
  4. What works of God did the prophet remember in his prayer? Jer. 32:20-22.
  5. Why was Jerusalem being sieged by the Chaldeans? Jer. 32:23-24.
  6. During the time of Jeremiah’s prayer, he is imprisoned in the court of a royal prison, in a city that is under siege and will be destroyed. Discuss how purchasing real estate at this time might not make sense to the prophet? Jer. 32:25.
  7. Why was it at this specific time that God wanted Jeremiah to buy the field? Jer. 32:26-28, 31, 36-39.
  8. How does God plan to establish His righteous people? Jer. 32:40-42; 31:31-34; Ezek. 37:24-28; Psalm 40:6-8.

Life Application

Although we may trust God, and rely upon His great power, we may not always understand Him. But we must remember that God’s perspective is much higher than ours. When all His work is revealed, it makes perfect sense why He does things His own special way. During a trial of life, it seems much harder to understand. But don’t stop seeking God’s fact! In His own perfect time, He will answer. “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength… (Is 40:31a)