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A Psalmist Looks To The Future

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Do you ever wonder what lies ahead in the future? What will eternity be like, if I live to see it? The psalmists often spoke of the future. Thus a “psalm of David” closes on a high note of praise to the Lord (Ps. 22:29-31) in which it is predicted that in the future mankind will worship God. Even more importantly, people will serve the Lord, especially in informing others so that future generations, “will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn – for he has done it” (Ps. 22:30-31)1 As Van Gemeren expresses it, “Each generation will join in the telling of the story of redemption and of his kingship (cf. vv. 3-5) and will, in the process of transmitting it, add what God has done for them.”2 Therefore, there is here a prediction that someday righteousness will prevail in the future world. What a blessing believers have to look forward to!

One is reminded of the wisdom displayed in Proverbs 23 where a father instructs his son:

My son, if your heart is wise,
then my heart will be glad;

my inmost being will rejoice
when your lips speak what is right.

Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.

There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off. (Pr. 23:15-16, 18)

Schwab observes, “There remains a final disposition both for the sinner and the upright. They will be extinguished but your hope in Yahweh will not be ‘cut off’.”3 Thus there is a strong hope for the believer who places his future hope in the Lord! So it is that the psalmist in Psalm 102 declares:

The name of the LORD will be declared in Zion
and his praise in Jerusalem.

when the peoples and the kingdoms
assemble to worship the LORD (vv. 21-22).

Alexander remarks, “God has looked down from heaven to deliver his people and receive their praise, not in their secluded, insulated state, but in their glorious reunion with the converted nations.”4

The scriptures also relate some contrasting details that will take place in the future. Thus, in Psalm 37:37-38 a contrast is given between the righteous person and the sinful. Here readers are informed that while a righteous person may look forward to a fine future, “All sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off.” Similarly, the book of Proverbs points to the different futures between the wise person and the wicked one:

The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways,
and the good man rewarded for his.

Then the poor are shunned even by their neighbors,
but the rich have many friends (Pr. 14:14, 20).

The prophet Daniel often speaks of the future (e.g., Dan. 2:45; 8:23-26; 10:12-14).

Very importantly, Jesus spoke of matters that will take place in the future. For example, in the later stage of his earthly ministry our Lord Jesus told the high priest, “In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt. 26:64).

The above discussion contains strong assurance that although the scriptures often speak of the future, it is God himself who controls the future. Therefore, believers should not burden themselves about what lies ahead, but live in full faith to God, being assured that the Lord will bring about things that He determines are best for mankind to know, and from which believers may learn to live faithfully, fully trusting in Him.

Thus James M. Black writes:

On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise
And the glory of His resurrection share –
When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there!5

As Fanny Crosby wrote:

Thou my everlasting portion,
More than friend or life to me;
All along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with Thee
. …

Lead me thru the vale of shadows,
Bear me o’er life’s fitful sea;
Then the gate of life eternal
May I enter, Lord with Thee.6

1 All scripture references are from the NIV.

2 Willem A. Van Gemeren, “Psalms”, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, eds. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 2008), 5, 249.

3 George M. Schwab, “The Book of Proverbs”, in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, ed. Philip W. Comfort, (Carol Stream, Il.: Tyndale House, 2009), 7, 600.

4 Joseph A. Alexander, Commentary of Psalms, (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1991), 420.

5 James M. Black, “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder”.

6 Fanny J. Crosby. “Close To Thee”.

Related Topics: Devotionals

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