God Our Father
We all have moments when we start thinking about our need for determination. The annoying fact is that we never think about determination until all of it has fizzled out. I don’t have much to say about our determination. But I do want to say a few things about God’s determination for us.
In Jeremiah 32:41, God makes this promise speaking of his people: “I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.”
If we consider the context in Jeremiah 32, it makes God’s promise so much sweeter. For the majority of the chapter, God has been giving Israel a report card… and it is not a pretty one. I’ve learned that God never minces words that don’t need to be minced. He is not the passive-aggressive type. He is usually very straightforward, and he knows when his kids need a tough word in order to see the value of grace. Israel’s report card in Jeremiah 32 goes something like this: God highlights Israel’s determination. Except, it’s not a righteous determination to honor God, work hard, or finish strong. Rather, Israel seems determined to do exactly the opposite. God points out the absurdity of Israel’s proclivity to forget all the miraculous ways he has rescued them, all the ways God proved to them how good he is and how much he satisfies. Instead, they look everywhere else to try and find rescue, satisfaction, and value.
The placement of this promise could not be more beautiful. God wants to make it clear to his kids that, even in light of their failed report card, his promise to them is still unchanged: “I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.” If we examine ourselves honestly, every one of us will identify with Israel’s failed report card. Even so, the promise God gave the Israelites is for us too. The promise is a statement of what kind of Father God is to his kids. The promise is for a new covenant, a covenant that invites us in. Through the saving work of Jesus on the cross, every believer has been welcomed into the family.
Here is the best part about being welcomed into the family of God: Your determination to sin is no match for God’s determination to love you, forgive you, and change you. Every one of us hits those seasons when our determination to persevere fizzles out. You throw up your hands and give up, you slack off, you fall short— but even so, God is determined to love you, forgive you, and change you. That’s just how God treats his kids.
God promises that he will bring good to you for no other reason than this: You’re his son. You’re his daughter. It’s the same promise Joseph clings to in Genesis 50:20, when he told his brothers “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” It’s the same promise from Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to purpose.” In other words, God’s promise for good is God’s way of saying: “I’m your Father, and I will take care of you.” He means that he will meet your every need in this life. He means that he will give you abundantly more than you need in this life. And finally, he means that one day he will welcome you into his presence to “taste and see that the Lord is good” – and you will be forever mesmerized and satisfied by the greatest “good” there is: God himself.
What really amazes me in Jeremiah 32:41 is that God says, “I will REJOICE in doing them good.” God is telling you how happy he is to be your Father and come through for you. He is not a deadbeat dad. God doesn’t ever begrudgingly give you what you need. He doesn’t roll his eyes with frustration at you and your failed report card and then reluctantly start working things out for your good. He rejoices in doing you good! That means it makes him happy! He loves to bless you with your every need! The God who controls all of history is spilling over with happiness about every single nanosecond of your life, that he has planned, so that you will receive more good than you could ever measure.
This promise also testifies to how much God rejoices in doing you good. God wants you to know how determined he is to work all things out for your good. His whole heart is behind it! His whole soul is behind it! “…with all my heart and all my soul,” he promises. Can anyone measure the size of God’s whole heart and his whole soul? Limitless. Therefore, there are no limits to God’s investment in your life.
The good news doesn’t stop there. God is never going to stop coming through for you. The cross is proof. Paul tells us in Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
Do you see what Paul is saying? God gave you Jesus. He gave you the very best that he had. At the moment when your report card was completely filled with “F’s," at the very moment he should have given up on you, he didn’t. He sent his Son to take the hit for your failures. Don’t miss Paul’s logic, because it’s the key to believing this beautiful promise. If the obstacle of the cross (having to give up the life of his only Boy) didn’t fizzle out God’s determination to come through for you, can anything? Everything else you need from God—it’s all like pocket change in comparison to the riches he gave to you in Jesus. He gave you a fortune; do you really think he’s going to withhold a penny? The cross reminds us that God’s determination to come through for you never fizzles out. He never reaches finals week and starts missing deadlines. Never.
Your Father in Heaven is an author. All of your life: the heartaches you’ve walked through this year, the stress that is exhausting you right now, the embarrassing, frustrating, sinful habit that you can’t seem to shake, every nanosecond of your life comes directly from your Father’s pen. So bank on it: everything your Father writes will end in good. It will end in your good! Don’t forget that God was the author of the story of the cross: an unimaginable evil, which turned out to be unimaginably good. That’s the way God loves to write his story. The same God that wrote the story of the cross wrote the story of your life.
Can you picture the God of these promises? His whole heart is spilling over with joy! His whole soul is overflowing with happiness! He is smiling, he is laughing, he is dancing, he is singing at the thought of all the good he has planned for you.
That’s what the determination of God looks like. God is determined for you, and nothing, no one, no power, can stop him.
Not even you.