Thursday, August 4, 2022

             In addition to his prophecy, Jeremiah is also credited with writing Lamentations.  One reason he is often called “the weeping prophet” is his writing of Lamentations.  As the name would suggest to any casual reader, it is about lamenting and mourning.  He wrote about the ruin of Jerusalem and his country and the misery of the people who were suffering affliction at the hand of God through the Babylonians.  He grieved over the situation his people endured and experienced.  But there was also the promise of renewal and restoration.  We read a familiar passage in Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  These words helped to give rise to the great hymn of faith “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”  But we can also build our faith on a passage like this.  At least four valuable truths stand out for us.
            First, the Lord is never absent.  He is never missing-in-action.  He is always present and present with us.  We can often say what Jeremiah said, “because of the Lord.”  No situation is ever too dire or too stressful for the Lord.  No matter is ever a lost cause when the Lord is present and near to us.  When a battle arrives in your life, think of God before you think about the battle.  Think about God’s presence with you.  He is much more real than any battle we may encounter.  We can speak the name of the Lord over any crisis or battle that may come our way.  As Peter would remind us, set Christ apart as Lord!
            Second, because of the Lord and His love for us “we are not consumed.”  The word for consumed means “completed” or “finished.”  No trial can destroy us.  No trial can rob us of the most essential matters of life and faith.  We are not “finished” whenever a trial comes our way.  Noah was not “finished” by the flood.  God provided an ark.  Joseph was not “finished” when his brothers hated him and conspired to do away with him.  God granted him favor and safety even while he was in an Egyptian prison.  Battles do not have to beat us or whip. 
            Third, God’s love or “compassions” never fails.  We never have to wonder whether God loves us or not or whether that love has changed or weakened.  God’s love remains constant and consistent throughout life.  We can take confidence and rest in His love.  the word used for “fail” can mean spent or empty.  There is no bottom to the well of God’s grace and love.  Indeed, His compassion is new every morning.  Just like a sunrise is new each day, God’s love is renewed and expressed every day.  It comes to us in new and dynamic ways with each new morning.  It is always sufficient for us.  His love is not exhausted by our trials or battles.  He puts no limits or boundaries on His compassion.  We have not earned it or deserved it.  Yet, God freely shows His love to us.
            And fourth, God’s faithfulness to us is great and awesome.  He does not betray us or turn His back against us.  He is not cowered or intimidated by the battles we encounter in life.  The word used for “great” can also mean many.  So, God’s faithfulness can be expressed and demonstrated in many different ways.  The word that Jeremiah used for “faithfulness” can mean firm, stable and steadfast.  God’s faithfulness does not waver or change.  It is not subject to the whims and winds of the world.  God will always remain faithful even when we are not or life is not. 
            Though Lamentations does imply sorrow or sadness, we should not discount the hope that we can find in Jeremiah’s message.  Hope does not come from a change in one’s circumstances or the mere absence of battles.  Hope comes from the Lord.  Hope is what we have in the midst of any trial we face.  Often, in Scripture, we see that suffering and hope are welded together.  Suffering brings hope.  And hope endures in spite of suffering.  Remember Good Friday led to Easter.  We live in a fallen world today with the hope that one day we will be with the Lord forever and safely in His keep.  Great is His faithfulness indeed!  Have a good and faithful Thursday!       

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