The great cathedrals of Europe took decades to build, often more than a century. Stone masons could spend their whole lives working on a medieval cathedral, yet never live to see it completed. Dozens of masons worked side-by-side, measuring stone, cutting it with hammers and chisels, squaring it to precise dimensions, and finally placing it into a wall. They did this daily, for years, as a hopeful investment in the futures of their children and grandchildren.
“Picturing What We’re Looking For” is this week’s theme—and Jeremiah’s purchase of family land is a prime example of it. Babylon’s imperial forces have surrounded Jerusalem and laid siege to the capital city. The word of God comes to Jeremiah, telling him to go buy his cousin’s land in Anathoth—a town already under Babylonian control. The property is worthless to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Jeremiah’s purchase is symbolic, intended to help God’s people picture how one day houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land (v. 15). This isn’t a real estate investment. The prophet isn’t buying low to sell high. This is his investment in hope. He has the deed signed in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in the court (v. 12). At a time when people fear that all is lost, Jeremiah makes the sale public. He wants people to believe that their descendants will know a hopeful future because their hope rests in God.
We live life in seconds, moment to moment. But we worship a God that sees in generations. Recalibrating hope beyond our immediate circumstances provides wisdom for living our days. This is how to address climate change or systemic racism—as investments in hope that our children and grandchildren will one day enjoy.
How do you express your hope in God through the decisions you make for the long haul?
Lord, help me to not grow faint when the journey is long, but to find the courage to keep taking one step after another. Amen.