In the history of Israel, the prophet Jeremiah, though given a level of understanding that was greater than the community to whom he preached, was also plagued with much perplexity. For instance, in Jeremiah 32, the Lord told Jeremiah to purchase a piece of ground. Jeremiah did, but he really did not understand why. He had been preaching for a period of time that an invading army was going to come in to Jerusalem (and the surrounding area) to destroy all those had possessions! Jeremiah made inquiry of the Lord concerning why he was to purchase a land that was soon to be in the hands of Jerusalem’s enemy (Babylon).
The Lord replied with a reminder to Jeremiah that throughout Israel’s history, the nation had been in rebellion, and though Jeremiah did not understand how that piece of land he purchased was going to be his, the Lord’s reminder to him was that the land would return to the people of Israel, and that piece of land would be in possession of Jeremiah’s heritage (32:36-44). Moreover, nothing was too hard for the Lord in accomplishing this (Jeremiah 32:27). Jeremiah was to take consolation that, though he really did not understand, the Lord did and all things would work according to the Lord’s purposes (cf. Romans 8:28).
In this there is a lesson. Those who identified themselves with the Lord don’t understand, always, what is taking place in front of them. It is not that they are “thick-headed,” only that some things in one’s vision may not be clear. Nevertheless, though understanding may be lacking with the saints, with the Lord there is no lack of understanding, or even accomplishing His desires.
To Jeremiah the Lord expressed His great disappointment concerning the nation and their rebellion to His godly, saintly, and holy will (32:31-33). Though the Lord took a great amount of time to teach the people, the people only heard the Lord, but considered to themselves that the Lord’s way was not the most important way. In fact, to them, the Lord’s way was great, but only if it brought them some personal satisfaction.
There are some Christians today who think in a similar way. To their great disappointment and soon to be surprise, when the Lord calls them to judgment (2 Cor. 5:10), their perplexity and understanding will be abundantly clear, but it won’t be for their own pleasure!