August 23: Lead

Buy the field! That’s the instruction the prophet Jeremiah received from God. It was not what Jeremiah wanted to do. It was not what any thinking person would do. With the Babylonian army approaching Jerusalem, the moment had arrived when the judgment and destruction that Jeremiah announced would happen. Everything would be destroyed and the people who were not killed would be taken into exile. Judgment Day had arrived. And God said to Jeremiah, “buy the field.”

Is this God’s way of helping Jeremiah play the market: buy low and sell high? This would be like buying a home just as it is set on fire (and there’s no insurance policy). Nobody would do that. What a deal for the seller! (Jeremiah, could I sell you some property on the moon?) With reluctance, Jeremiah did what God asked. Because God needed a leader.

With the army of Babylon in route to destoy Jerusalem, Jeremiah added a message that God would one day restore what would be destroyed. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34) What better way for Jeremiah to lean into God’s promise than to buy the field knowing that it will soon be burned to the ground. God was saying to Jeremiah that he must lead the way. If the people were expected to believe in God’s promise of restoration, Jeremiah must be the first to live as if God’s promise will be.

Leaders cannot expect others to go where they are unwilling to go. Leaders lead. When God says, “Buy the field”, God is calling Jeremiah to lead. But here’s where the rubber meets the road. Jeremiah must decide if he truly believes God is who he’s been saying God is. It is time to lean into God’s promise – to live what he has been saying. Jeremiah, will you risk it all to lead others to a place that God is calling you to go?

“Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: ‘I am the LORD, the God of the whole human race. Is anything too hard for me?'” (Jeremiah 32:26) Jeremiah buys the field.

Are you waiting for someone else to lead, when it is you whom God has called? Leaders lead.

Today’s readings: Jeremiah 31-32; 1 John 4

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