October 20


Hope for the Future


Read Jeremiah 30, 31.

Key Verse: Jeremiah 31:33


            God’s people had sinned. They had broken the covenant God made with them. So, the prophet declares, God’s justice will be served. The people will be punished. Sadness will be their food night and day.

            But that is not the end of the story! There is hope for your future, Jeremiah tells the people, because God in his mercy is going to bring the exiles back to Jerusalem. The Holy City will be restored.

            When God does this, he will make a new covenant with his people, bringing together the northern and southern kingdoms and making them one again. The new covenant will not be a covenant of laws and rituals; it will be a covenant of the heart.

            The new covenant will demonstrate God’s great mercy. He will forgive the sins of his rebellious children and he “will remember their sin no more.”

            When I reflect on what Jeremiah said, I feel like falling to my knees. This was a magnificent moment in history! God gave Jeremiah a glimpse of the future, allowing him to see that day when the blood of Jesus would become the only blood that need be shed for the forgiveness of sins!

            Can you remember a time when you saw little hope for your future? A time when you were caught in the web of your own sinfulness and wondered if God really cared about you?

            I can remember such a time in my own life. I had pushed myself relentlessly, trying to do ministry in my own strength. I had neglected my family to further my own selfish ambitions. Then, flat on my back in a Virginia hospital, I was told I might die from a bleeding ulcer. In my own eyes my future was cloudy and uncertain.

            During that time I turned tearfully to the Bible, pleading with God for help. He led me to read Jeremiah 31, this very chapter. I can still remember how God stirred my soul as I read:

            “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord. “They will return from the land of the enemy. So there is hope for your future,” declares the Lord. (Vss. 16, 17)

            What God told Jeremiah long ago, he told me that morning! My despair was lifted! Hope came into my heart like a rushing wind! I was soon made well and able to resume my ministry.

            What is more, during all the years since that divine moment, God has been keeping His promises to me. My gratitude for His mercy remains the sweetest song of my heart. So I can testify that what Jeremiah promised – hope for the future – is available still to all who call upon His Name! + + +