Be Confident About Your Future
Be Confident About Your Future
What does the future hold in store for you?
Futurologists predict what will happen in the future. For example, it has been predicted that some babies born today will live to the age of 150. Some of their predictions may come true. Others may not.
- In 1962 Decca Recording Company rejected the Beatles. They said, ‘We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.’
- In 1977 Ken Olson, Chairman of Digital Equipment Co., said, ‘There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.’
There are certain things about the future that we don’t know and that we are not supposed to know. However, there are other things that you can know about the future and that makes a real difference to your life now. In the passages today we see three reasons why, if you put your trust in the Lord, you can be confident about your future.
The plans of the LordPsalm 33:1-11
‘The plans of the Lord stand firm forever’ (v.11). God has plans. God has a good plan for your life. He has ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29:11).
The psalmist’s confidence about the future comes from looking back on the past. He reflects on what God has done through ‘the word of the Lord’ (Psalm 33:6a).
As we read this psalm through the lens of the New Testament, we see that it was through Jesus (the Word of God) that the whole world came into being (vv.6–9). He is the one who is the source of all that is ‘right and true’ (v.4a). He is ‘faithful’ (v.4b). He ‘loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love’ (v.5).
It is on this basis that the psalmist can be confident that ‘The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations’ (v.11). Governments and people make plans. These may fail (v.10). Yet you can be confident in God’s good plans for you and for your life.
The appropriate response to all this is worship – to sing joyfully to the Lord and to praise him with different instruments, to write new songs, to use every musical skill and ability, and even make lots of noise (!) (‘shout for joy’, v.3b).
Lord, thank you that you have good plans for me. Thank you that you are in ultimate control of history, the future and my life.
The power of the resurrectionMark 16:1-20
The resurrection of Jesus did actually happen. When the women arrived at the tomb they found the huge stone, which had been blocking the entrance, rolled back. Jesus had been raised up. He was no longer there. They saw for themselves that the tomb was empty (vv.6–8).
It is significant that the first witnesses of the resurrection recorded in all the Gospels were women. Women’s testimonies were widely seen as unreliable (in most Jewish courts it was not even allowed). Yet in appearing first to them, Jesus affirms the importance and role of women in his new community.
This also gives the story the ring of truth of an eyewitness account. The early church would never have invented this feature of the story.
The fact is that the resurrection was, initially, as unbelievable for the first disciples as it is for many today. When other disciples were told of Jesus’ resurrection, they did not believe (vv.11,13) until they saw the risen Jesus for themselves. Yet when they witnessed his resurrection, either at the tomb or in one of the many subsequent resurrection appearances of Jesus (vv.12,14), their lives were transformed. They moved from fear to faith, from alarm to action and from despair to hope.
As a result of the resurrection you can face the future with confidence:
- Confident about your eternal future
This life is not the end. There is life beyond the grave. As Jesus was raised from the dead, so in Christ you will be raised with him (see 1 Corinthians 15).
As Tim Keller writes, ‘Why is it so hard to do the right thing if you know it’s going to cost your money, reputation, maybe even your life? Why is it so hard to face your own death or the death of loved ones? It’s so hard because we think this broken world is the only world we’re ever going to have... But if Jesus is risen, then your future is so much more beautiful, and so much more certain, than that.’
- Confident about your future life
Jesus is alive. He is with you as you ‘go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation’ (Mark 16:15). You, like the disciples, are commissioned to go out and preach the good news to the whole world. You can be confident that God’s power will be with you. You can expect powerful signs to accompany your message – driving out demons, speaking in tongues and healing the sick. This is what occurred (v.20) and this is what we should expect today.
Healing, for example, is not confined to those who have the special gift of healing but is for all ‘who believe’ (v.17). It is God who heals, but he involves you in his plans: ‘The Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it’ (v.20).
There are a variety of models in the New Testament, but they are always simple. Healing comes ‘in [Jesus’] name’ (v.17). The most common model is the one Jesus speaks of here – the laying on of hands: ‘They will place their hands on people who are ill and they will get well’ (v.18).
Thank you, Lord, for the resurrection of Jesus. Thank you that I can face the future with hope and confidence because you are alive and with me.
The promises of GodLeviticus 25:1-26:13
Although you cannot know the details of the future, you can be assured of God’s blessing on your future. In chapter 26, God promises that if you obey him you will enjoy fruit (v.4), satisfaction, safety (v.5), peace (v.6), no fear (v.6), growth (v.9), the presence of the Lord (v.12) and confidence ‘to walk with heads held high’ (v.13).
God says, ‘If you live by my decrees... you’ll have more than enough to eat and will live safe and secure in... a place of peace – you’ll be able to go to sleep at night without fear... I’ll make sure you prosper... grow in numbers... I’ll set up my residence in your neighbourhood... I’ll be your God; you’ll be my people. I am God, your personal God... I ripped off the harness of your slavery so that you can move about freely’ (vv.3–13, MSG).
This is God’s long-term plan for your future. You will face trials and difficulties in this life as you seek to obey God, but through Jesus you can enjoy some of these blessings even now.
In chapter 25, we see some of the things we need to do in order to obey God. Some of these, of course, are specific to ancient Israel but some apply for all time.
I love what Joyce Meyer writes about the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25) in which all debts were forgiven and all debtors were pardoned and set free: ‘In Christ, every day can be a year of Jubilee. We can have our own sins forgiven continually through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. We can enjoy a continual year of Jubilee. Our trouble is either that we are trying to pay our debt to the Lord, or that we are still trying to collect debts from others. Just as God cancelled our debt and forgave us so we can cancel the debts of others and forgive them what they owe us.’
The key to this chapter is ‘do not take advantage of each other’ (vv.14,17). It is not enough to be honest – we must also be considerate.
This is radically different from the world’s view. The world admires a person who makes money – however ruthlessly. They may be successful in one sense. But God cares about how we treat others more than how much we own and he cares especially about how we treat the poor (vv.25,35,39).
We are only stewards. The Lord says, ‘The land is mine… you reside… as foreigners and strangers’ (v.23). This is how we should regard property and possessions. They belong to God. They are on loan to you. God was teaching his people that there is no such thing as permanent wealth. You own what you own for a season. It is only God who owns them permanently.
Thank you, Lord, for all your promises of blessing. Thank you that you have a long-term plan for my future. Thank you that, one day, I will be raised with Christ to full and eternal life.
At an Alpha Weekend, there is always such a sense of God walking among his people and revealing himself to them (Leviticus 26:12). In verse 13 it says, ‘I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.’ Recently, at one of these weekends, a young woman said to me that her fear had gone and a weight had lifted – and she looked radiant.
Verse of the Day
'I am the LORD your God… I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high’ (Leviticus 26:13).
If you’ve been on an Alpha course in the past and wouldn’t have called yourself a Christian when you did it, then we’d love to know more! Please help Alpha International’s research by filling out the following survey, which is being conducted on our behalf by Barna.
Hunter Davies, The Beatles: The Authorized Biography, (McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1968) p.131.
Tim Keller, King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus, (Hodder and Stoughton, 2011) p.222
Joyce Meyer, Everyday Life Bible, (Faithwords, 2013) p.199
Jack Schofield, ‘Ken Olson Obituary’, The Guardian, 9 February 2011: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/feb/09/ken-olsen-obituary
Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.
Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.