Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jeremiah's Property

Did it make any sense to buy land in the middle of a siege? This is what the prophet Jeremiah did. "And Jeremiah said, "The word of the LORD came to me saying, 'Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle is coming to you, saying, "Buy for yourself my field which is at Anatoth, for you have the right of redemption to buy it." ' (Jeremiah 32:7) This did take place, just at the time that "the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard, which was in the house of the king of Judah" (32:2) Babylon was at that time the great world power in military might and economic strength. It would be the same as buying land in Baghdad when the US Army was moving in to take over. Things looked dark, and it was only going to get worse.

This is where faith comes in. Jeremiah believed the word of the Lord and acted upon it. He not only bought the land, he had the deed registered and then put in a secure place. What was God's reason for directing Jeremiah to do this? "For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, "Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land." (32:15) There was a future filled with hope and restoration.

Jeremiah's example of obedience to the word of the LORD, in spite of how things were going at the time, should inspire us to obey the voice of the Lord now. In my heart there was a nagging thought that we really should invest in some land. I have talked with many Christians who have confided that deep down they feel the same way and they are so tired of the rat race, their boring job, etc. Could it be that the Lord is speaking, and we are so good at ignoring His voice because we are so filled with cultural and societal expectations? 

Jeremiah's cousin explained the reason why he was offering the parcel to him, "for you have the right of redemption to buy it." (32:7) In Leviticus, the rights of redemption of land are clearly stated in a systematic way. Every man was to hold on to his inheritance, and even if he rented it out or "sold" it, it came back to him through the right of redemption if he exercised that right. 

We have a God-given right to redeem the land. We are encouraged to consider that the creation is longing to be redeemed and to be brought into the sphere of hope in which we await the coming of the Lord. (Romans 8:19-23) If we follow that small, still voice that keeps urging us to "move to the country" or to "get back to the land", it could be because God has a plan!

It takes obedience and then careful planning to make this transition from an industrial based lifestyle to a rural independent lifestyle. It can be done. It all starts with the purchase of property, even in the time of economic woe.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Give Me Eyes

Lord, give me eyes for a new generation

Let me see their hopes and dreams,

Let me weep their tears, hear their cries, and shout their joys


And if their dreams are washed away by the rush of yesterday

I will sing a new song to ignite their hearts again


Awaken my eyes to primal things whose natures' never change

Awaken my ears to hear the words that never die

Awaken my heart to feel the love that is enough, and not enough,


And if my love is washed away by the rush of yesterday

I will sing a new song to ignite my heart again


Lord, make me thirst for unreached nations

Make me thirst for truth and justice

Make me thirst for Your holiness


And if my thirst is blown away by the rush of yesterday

I will sing a new song to ignite my thirst again


Lord, give us eyes for Your soon return

Let love-struck hearts with passion burn

Let us see Your eyes ablaze with fire


And if our awe is washed away by the rush of yesterday

We will sing a new song to ignite our wonder once again

Michael Hennen