Most of the time, when we hear the verse Jeremiah 29:11 quoted, it’s quoted using the NIV translation, because it just sounds better. I usually prefer to use the King James myself, but even I like the wording of that verse in the NIV:
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”
In fact, when I originally came to Christ some 22 years ago now, this was one of the verses that spoke to my heart in a special way, which God used to really grab hold of me, and change my life forever. I love that verse. Who doesn’t love the promise of “a future and a hope”?
So, years later, reading through the Bible as I do, when I hit Jeremiah 29, I again thought within my own head, “I don’t like how that’s worded.” It’s kinda silly to say that, I guess.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. “
“An expected end” doesn’t quite have the same impact as the promise of “a future and a hope”.
I felt strongly impressed to look closer though. I am the sort of person who likes to look up verses in the original languages, to really get a feel for what God was saying to us. I started to wonder if one of these translations was incorrect. It didn’t occur to me that they were both expressing the same thought, but just scratching the surface. In this case, I looked up the keywords of this verse in the original Hebrew, and discovered something I had never seen before.
Those words, translated “future and hope” or “expected end” are:
tik-vaw’ From H6960; literally a cord (as an attachment (compare H6961)); figuratively expectancy:—expectation ([-ted]), hope, live, thing that I long for.
akh-ar-eeth’ From H310; the last or end, hence the future; also posterity:—(last, latter) end (time), hinder (utter) -most, length, posterity, remnant, residue, reward.
I don’t think I’ll ever look at “an expected end” the same way again.
The God I serve, the same one that “declares the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10) is the one that promises the hope, the future, the expectation, the thing that we long for in the end.
We tend to think of time in a very linear fashion. God is eternal, outside of time. Hubby and I were talking about this recently as we watched the news. 20 years ago, studying the book of Revelation and taking a class together in Bible prophecy, much of what was written seemed like science fiction, even then. Now, developments have hurtled us even closer to what God saw and declared all along.
That’s on a grand, world wide scale of course.
On a smaller scale, in my life and in yours, He has a plan and a purpose for us, as we serve Him, as we walk in His Spirit, and as we serve others in His name. As we go through hard times, He knows that things are not necessarily falling apart, but falling into place for the next part of life. He knows how it all works out, and can remind us that “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).
He knows enough to promise His children a future, a hope, and an expected end.