As we continue our investigation of this rather dour book of the Bible, Lamentations, I am reminded of how blessed we are to have a God like ours! Yes, He is righteous and yes, He is a just God. And yet, He is a God of great love and a God who is incredibly faithful! I turned my desk calendar over the other day and read these amazing words of encouragement from Isaiah … “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand!” In times of great adversity God’s people stand tall! Why? Because they know exactly who their God is and who their hope is in! And for us we too know who our hope is in … it is in the Lord Jesus Christ! This has been so true for me over these recent days!
In this third lament under the microscope this morning, there is some very distressing reading. It really is a time of great tragedy and hardship for God’s disobedient people. Who could have predicted such a fall from grace? Well, Jeremiah did! He warned them for over four decades of their need to transform their lives to lives that bring honour and glory to God. But they either failed to listen, or just down right ignored Jeremiah’s counsel. He prophesied their downfall and it is at this point we see his prophecy becoming a reality … and it is very dire indeed! Yet, remarkably at this terrible time of doom and gloom, we see something quite amazing. We see the writer suddenly turn his eyes from his tragic predicament to God! And we see one of the great verses of encouragement from the whole Bible stated so clearly! It really is momentous!
The writer cries out, “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 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. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Out of the depths of despair we hear of God’s great love and faithfulness! At this point, I am reminded of Paul’s great wisdom when he teaches, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. What an amazing God we have!
Brett Lee-Price has the responsibility of unpacking this very difficult third lament today. Let us have ears to hear clearly with today and let us have hearts that will respond with action!