eMeditation on the Bible 

 

2022 IS HERE! As the new year begins, life is difficult for many people in many regions of the world. The pandemic continues to spread; extreme weather creates many troubles; all around the world refugees are looking for help; there are tensions and conflicts among nations; global trade is down; the economies of many nations are depressed; and many people are filled with anxiety. 

 

Question: How do followers of Jesus respond to hard times? 

 

The Story (Jeremiah 32:1-44)  

Long before Jesus, the nation of Israel was once surrounded by the army of a foreign empire, Babylon (todayís Iraq). Shortly before Israel was invaded, its citizens captured and transported to Babylon as slaves, a messenger of God named Jeremiah purchased land in his ancestral village. He bought it for his cousin who had been forced to sell the family farm in order to pay a large debt. (Farmers in the ancient world paid high taxes, which created large debts when harvests were bad with the risk of losing their land and becoming slaves to pay the debts.) The story of Jeremiahís purchase of the land is the most detailed account of a formal financial transaction in the Bible. Moreover, the timing of the land purchase is very odd: Why pay money and buy land when a foreign empire will invade at any moment, leaving the nation without inhabitants and the future value of the land worthless?  The situation looked hopeless. Yet, in this time of a dark future, Jeremiah paid money in a legal contract to buy land that would soon be worthless. However, God eventually brought the people of Israel home to their land from captivity. Later, the land of Israel became the birthplace of Jesus, Godís hope for each of us and the world.   

 

General Principle 

Jeremiahís purchase of the land was a symbolic action. Through his purchase, God was telling the people that their future, which was filled with troubles and dangers, was not hopeless. There was hope in the darkness because God was present with them in their misfortune and distress. God was the source of their hope for the future. Their lives, which appeared to be ruined, were going to regain meaning and purpose because the future belongs to God. The future is in Godís hands. This principle is true for everyone who entrusts his or her life to God.  

 

Personal Application 

Regardless of the uncertainties, worries and struggles that may exist in the new year or future years for you, your family and your community, good luck is not your true source of hope. God is the true source of our hope. God is present with each of us today, preparing us for the future.  

 

Respond by Growing 

Live with the expectation that God will guide your life on a path that will bring you and your family to a future of full well-being. The path may be long with twists and turns. It may seem like a long time before you see Godís plan for your life fulfilled. But maintain your trust in God. Always keep the hope of Godís good purposes for your life alive in your heart and mind.  

 

Responsive Prayer 

As I begin a new year, dear heavenly Father, I entrust myself to you. I place my life in your loving hands. Regardless of my anxieties and the challenges, frustrations and uncertainties that I may experience this year, I will keep my hope alive because I know you are with me, guiding and strengthening me. My future belongs to you.