Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."
That verse is so common - especially at school graduation times.
God's "thoughts" regarding His people have to do with the "future", whereas man's thoughts are usually focussed on the present or near future (as it is closest to the present). God sees the whole Journey.
In Exodus 13:17 the Bible says: "Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, 'Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.'" The one path was nearer, and for many, it would make sense to take that way, considering the push to get out of Egypt. However, God knew the impact that war with the Philistines right away would have on the people. He needed to "season them" through what they would experience at the Red Sea with Pharaoh's army. THAT experience would follow them and encourage them throughout their history.
Thus, when God says what He does in Jeremiah 29:11, it does not mean the immediate future will be easy. It may be very rough. It may be all that the Red Sea experience was for the Children of Israel. However, THE future God has in store for His children is one that is described in 1 Corinthians 2:9 this way: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
Until we reach THAT"future", God has given us "HOPE". That hope is an anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19) when the drinking water is limited; and the food is scarce; and all the things that the Children of Israel would face as they crossed from Egypt to the Promised Land.
HOPE is one of the three great things God has given us for our Journey (1 Coringthians 13:13), the others being faith and love. These three things will do wonders in getting us from the land of bondage to the Promised Land of God's choosing!
As the Children of Israel journeyed, God went before them, leading the way. Exodus 13:21 says: "And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night." Therefore, the Children of Israel did not need to worry about the long-range "future"; all they needed to do was keep their eyes on God's presence and His leading. A simple "day by day and night by night" would get them to their desired Land of Promise!
It is the same with us. If we keep our eyes on the Lord, and walk with Him in the light of His Word (as the song "Trust and Obey" says), He will lead us step by step to the Promised Land described in 1 Corinthians 2:9.
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