Today’s readings in Jeremiah and Psalms recall a critical event in history when God proved Himself to His people and the world: the moment He delivered them from Egypt (Jeremiah 16:14; Psalm 80:8).
But these passages do not just look back, they also look ahead. In Jeremiah 16:15, God tells him of a far off time when He will “restore” His children to the land He’d given their ancestors. In the midst of detailing horrific destruction, He shares a future that will be even better than freeing them from Egypt, graciously giving hope. The psalmist doesn’t have a specific promise of hope, but looking to the past, asks the Lord to restore and save them. His past actions and love give them hope for their future.
Paul also looks both backwards and forwards within I Thessalonians. He remembers fondly his time with the Thessalonians and their response to the gospel. But he also looks ahead, too, to being in God’s presence.
Why do they (and we) need to look both backward and ahead? Well, because God tells us to. He wants us to remember what He has done and to look forward to what He has promised He will do; this way we are faithful and ready. But we also see in these passages that their “presents”—in all three situations—were not so wonderful. In Jeremiah, their soon-to-be-present was going to be utter devastation. The psalmist cries out that their enemies are mocking them (v6). For Paul, Satan was hindering him from being reunited with his spiritual children. Their current circumstances were difficult at best.
Looking back and looking ahead is not just a command from the Lord. It is a means by which we exist when life is at its hardest. It reminds us of Whose we are and what He’s done—both in the Bible and personally. And it gives us hope for what He will do. Like those in Jeremiah and I Thessalonians, we look forward to that day when all is made right and we are united with our Savior. And, like the psalmist, we look for rescuing from our present plights. So, we too need to look back and look ahead, and confidently plead with our good, almighty Father, who does make His face shine upon us.
Question: What are some ways that the Lord has proven His faithfulness in the past that I can remember and repeat as I meditate and pray?
Thank you, dearest Lord, for Your great faithfulness—both in Your Word and in my life. Help me to remember and look ahead to both the “goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13) and, most importantly, our ultimate restoration with You.