July 16 - Hope for the Future

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 16 – Hope for the Future

“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“ ‘So there is hope for your future,’ declares the Lord. ‘Your children will return to their own land.’”

Exile.  Far from everything that was familiar.  Far from the land they had been promised.  Far from the temple where they worshiped God.  Far from everything they had ever known.

God’s people had betrayed Him so much and their punishment was so great.  They were stripped away from the life He had offered to them to be subject to a foreign king.

The Israelites felt as if their sin had taken them into a hopeless situation.  They couldn’t imagine how there could possibly be redemption. There was nothing more they could do – they’d already done too much.  They had turned to foreign kings for assistance and alliances.  There was nothing left.

The prophets had told of these days and they had finally come.  What more did they have to look forward to.

It sounds pretty familiar to many of us.  We just wait for God’s punishment to rain down on us for our sins.  We know what they are even when we don’t speak them aloud.

We try everything to alleviate our concerns that we have sinned too much and God can’t forgive us.

Even in the midst of the worst moments in Israel’s history, God sent word of hope.  He knew what their future looked like and they wouldn’t be stuck in Babylon forever.  His plans were greater than their sin and their own discouraged outlook.

His plans are greater than our sin and our own worries about the relationship we seem to have messed up with Him.  He knows what our future looks like and we won’t be stuck here forever.