“I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.”
This is such a hopeful passage of Scripture planted in between chapters upon chapters of dread, disobedience, and destruction. If you have read the book of Jeremiah, then you know that Jeremiah spends a good portion of his book warning the Israelites of the upcoming rebuke of the Lord brought on by their consistent rebellion. Inevitably, the correction comes for the Israelites and it comes at great costs as they become captives to the powerful Babylonian Empire.
However, tucked in the middle of all the prophecies of chaos and captivity, Jeremiah also speaks of the promises of the Lord towards the future generations that He will:
1. Gather His people from where they’ve been banished
2. Give them safety
3. Restore covenant
4. Give them singleness of heart to serve the Lord
5. Be good to His people and rejoice over this goodness
6. Plant them in the land once lost
7. Inspire obedience and faithfulness
What a promise! After reading chapters and chapters of what seemed like hopelessness, these Scriptures read like a breath of fresh air. Not to mention that the consistent theme of the Old Testament shines brighter than ever in these five verses that the Israelites are never without hope and neither are we.
Something else profound struck me while reading this passage that has transformed the way that I receive correction from the Lord: God’s rebuke in my life does not only reap benefits for myself, but for the lives of others. I don’t even have children yet, but after reading this passage I have come to practice asking myself: what if God is working out something in me today that will affect the generations that follow me? What if His rebukes to me today are for the benefit of my future children and their children?
We need to lengthen our understanding of how God works.
God will always have a wider and more pure perspective than us even in the small details of our life. Therefore, He knows exactly what events and actions in our day to day could become a blessing or a curse to our community and to the next generation. Nothing is hidden from Him, and He sees what we can't see.
God has ordered things to works in such a way that the past, present, and future affect each other. In fact, as I’ve read the Old Testament these last few months, it has become clear to me that time is somehow both linear and fluid (more on this some other time). Therefore, we need not disconnect the present with the past or the future.
So, let's trust God's correction and live in such a way today that the future generations will benefit from how well we live right now.
Jen is a pastor, worship leader, writer, and songwriter living in Napa, California.