How to be Hopeful for our Future
HOW TO BE HOPEFUL FOR OUR FUTURE
In 1997 when my son was born, Amy and I struggled with one of the most challenging and difficult times in our lives. Our son, Isaiah, was born with problems. It was discovered minutes after his birth that his intestines were in his lung cavity. We went from being proud parents of a healthy baby boy, to the horrified parent of a statistic with little chance to survive.
The worries came drastically with the arrival of the helicopter brought to sweep our newborn child away to another hospital to prepare for surgery. All of our friends and family and nurses from the hospital we were in tried to comfort us with a promise that our son would be fine and this kind of thing happens all of the time.
Our worries were heightened when the doctor’s from the children’s hospital told us the truth. Our son had only a 10% chance to survive the surgery and could even after have problems. Our future seemed bleak. After a long prayer and many tears, the helicopter pulled away into the distance carrying with it our hope and joy.
We spent the next few days waiting for the surgery and our worry turned to pain and numbness. Then, something happened to change all of that. The surgeon was late for the surgery. My wife was angry and worried even more until the surgeon arrived and explained why he was late. He had spent the previous 3 hours in prayer that God would guide him and use him for a miracle. At that point the outcome of the surgery no longer mattered, because we remembered the glorious promise of God that something better would come and in that promise we can be comforted and find hope even when there seems to be none.
Proposition: God promises us a bright future that we must accept with great hope.
Transitional Sentence: The Bible gives us four ways to be hopeful in the promises of God, based on the promise He made to the people of Israel in Jeremiah 31:31-35.
I. DO NOT DWELL ON THE PAST, BUT LOOK FORWARD TO THE FUTURE (31-32)
A. God promises us that something better is coming. (31)
i. God promises that the day is coming for a new covenant
1. Something better is coming, so be content with what you have until that day comes.
- We have been promised the greatest, yet we spend much of our day chasing after the least.
Illustration: Philip Parham tells the story of a rich industrialist who was disturbed to find a fisherman sitting lazily beside his boat. “Why aren’t you out there fishing?” he asked.
“Because I’ve caught enough fish for today,” said the fisherman.
“Why don’t you catch more fish than you need?’ the rich man asked.
“What would I do with them?”
“You could earn more money,” came the impatient reply, “and buy a better boat so you could go deeper and catch more fish. You could purchase nylon nets, catch even more fish, and make more money. Soon you’d have a fleet of boats and be rich like me.”
The fisherman asked, “Then what would I do?”
“You could sit down and enjoy life,” said the industrialist.
“What do you think I’m doing now?” the fisherman replied as he looked placidly out to sea.
We already have more than we could ever earn with the promise of God and we should be content and glorify God with our acceptance and not struggled for the things we don’t have.
2. Things are going to change, so don’t struggle with the changes. (32)
- “It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers with Israel” (32)
- The former covenant was broken
- The Mosaic covenant was two-sided and both God and the Israelites had responsibilities to uphold.
- The Israelites were once again in captivity.
Transitional Sentence: A better day is coming and we should look forward to the future, but more importantly, when that day comes we should
II. ACCEPT GOD’S OFFER WILLINGLY (33-34)
A. God says that He will grant us five things unconditionally
i. God will make a new covenant (33)
1. God’s offers a promise of a better life to bring us hope
ii. God will put the law in us.
1. The law of God will no longer be external, but will be a part of what and who we are.
- God wrote the Ten Commandments for Moses on stone tablets
- God will now write the law on our hearts
2. Upholding the covenant will no longer be because of fear.
- God once said, “If you will” Exodus 19:5
- Being of the people of God meant keeping the commandments
- God now says, “I will”
iii. God will be our God (33)
1. God is the one and only, and no longer will we turn to idols
- People of the old covenant, consistently return to worshipping idols
- What sins do we consistently return to?
2. We will be God’s people everyday
- The Holy Spirit will change our lives and we will be a witness for others
3. No longer will Salvation be to Jews alone, but all will know God (34)
- Everyone will know God
- We no longer need anyone or anything to bridge the gap between us and the Father
- We have direct access to God
iv. God will forgive our sin (34)
1. God chooses to forgive our sins
- God made this choice at the beginning of creation
- God allowed sin to enter the world through the first Adam
- God will forgive that sin through the True Adam, Jesus Christ
v. God will forget our sin
1. God will never again judge us for the sin that has been forgiven
B. God asks for nothing in return
i. Unlike the Mosaic Covenant, all that is asked of us is to accept God’s terms of what He will do.
Transitional Sentence: But to accept any promise willingly, we must know the authority of the one making the promise. God has authority over all creation so
III. DO NOT DOUBT WHAT IS PROMISED (35)
A. God is the creator of all things (35)
i. God created the sun to light our day
ii. God created the moon and stars to give us light at night
iii. God divided the seas and controls their movements
B. God put order into the universe
i. Everything we have is by design and not by accident
- The earth was created for us and we were given dominion over it (Genesis 1:26)
Transitional Sentence: Everything we have is from God, so it is safe to say that he will provide what he promises, without a doubt, which should allow us to
IV. BE CONFIDENT IN OUR FUTURE (36-37)
A. God says he will never let us down (36)
i. God will only turn from His promise:
1. If the sun, moon, and stars were to disappear from existence. (36)
2. If it were possible to measure the heavens (37)
- Illustration: If you were to hold out a dime at arm’s length, the coin would block out 15 million stars from your view, if your eyes could see with that power.
To help us grasp the vastness of our galaxy, one scientist suggests we imagine a smooth glass surface. Shrink the sun from 865,000 miles in diameter to two feet and place it on the surface. Using this scale, Earth would be 220 paces out from the sun, and would be the size of a pea. Mars, the size of a pinhead, would be 108 paces beyond Earth. But to reach Neptune, you’d need to step off another 6,130 paces from Mars. By now you would be five miles from the sun—but there still wouldn’t be room on the glass surface for Pluto! And you would have to pace off 6,720 miles beyond Pluto to reach the nearest star. Yet, this glass model represents only a tiny fraction of the universe. As if it would ever be possible for us to ever measure its true extents
3. If it were possible to know all of the mysteries of the earth. (37)
ii. We deserve to be rejected for our sin, but God promises never to do so.
CONCLUSION: God did not abandon me or my wife in 1997, or the years to come. Isaiah came through the surgery, and his recovery doctor, who monitored his healing and who was in charge of his discharge, said that our son was the first child that he had ever sent home so soon. “Rarely,” he said, “do I ever send them home at all.”
We know that is was God’s grace that allowed us to be blessed with that particular surgeon, on that particular day. I was by God’s design that we were to experience this crisis and it was by His design that we miraculously led through it. God used this situation to bring us back to himself.
The Lord promises us that a day will come for a new covenant, and that day arrived on the cross of Christ. The days of that covenant are now. Since the creator provides the promise to us, we have no reason to doubt it. God controls the universe and it can never be removed from before him. He chooses to save us, just as He chose to save my son, but it goes far beyond saving us physically. The only thing he asks in return is that we believe.
Will you accept this promise willingly, without doubt, and with hope for our future?