But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new ever morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I will hope in him.”- Lamentations 3:21-24 ESV
What powerful words- made even more powerful by knowing when and why these words were written. Do a google search for the word Lamentation and you get 2 definitions: the passionate expression of grief or sorrow; weeping. And, a book of the Bible telling of the desolation of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC. The word is synonymous with weeping, wailing, sobbing, moaning, sorrow, grieving, howling. The original name of the book in Hebrew, ekah, can be translated “Alas!” or “How?”. Later readers and translators substituted in the title “Lamentations”. Jeremiah is considered the author by many. Not only does Jermiah witness the results of the recent destruction of Jerusalem, he witnessed the invasion itself (Lamentations 1:13–15). Jeremiah was crying out to the LORD; My God, my God why has thou forsaken us?
Leader, HOW can this happen to God’s people, to His chosen? People were being killed, raped, starved to death, no food, no end in sight, seemingly hopeless. God told Israel for years of the consequences of going after other God’s, the price of turning it’s back on JEHOVAH and becoming like the world. The Old Testament is a chronicle of Israel’s repeated failure to obey God, of its refusal to keep His commandments and statutes. In Psalm 78:10-11, 40-42, 56-57, the psalmist mentions that Ephraim (Israel) did not keep the covenant of God; they refused to walk in His law and forgot His works and His wonders that He had shown them. How often they provoked Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert! They did not remember His power, they tested and provoked the Most High God, and did not keep His testimonies, but turned back and acted unfaithfully like their fathers. For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, . . . and they had feared other gods, and had walked in the statutes of the nations whom the LORD had cast out from before the children of Israel. (2 Kings 17:7-8) Can you see yourself and America in this picture? Have you done it your way, instead of God’s way? Make today an, UP UNTIL NOW, moment!
Conduit, The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) God is the source of long-suffering because it is part of His character (Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18–20; Psalm 86:15; Romans 2:4). He is patient with sinners. BUT God’s long-suffering WILL come to an end and because HE IS A JUST GOD- judgement WILL COME. The word long-suffering in the Bible is made up of two Greek words meaning “long” and “temper”. To be long-suffering, is to have self-restraint when one is stirred to anger. A long-suffering person does not immediately retaliate or punish; rather, He has a “long fuse” and patiently forbears. Long-suffering is associated with mercy (1 Peter 3:20) and hope (1 Thessalonians 1:3). Even though Israel got what God had promised, there was a BIG BUT, in this verse! God’s MERCIES are unlimited, and HIS FORGIVENESS never ending. Lamentations reminds us of the importance not only of mourning over our sin but of asking the Lord for His forgiveness when we fail Him. This book concerns itself with the fallen bricks and cracking mortar of the overrun city. Do you see any of that destroyed city in your own life? Are you mourning over the sin that’s brought you to this point? Do you feel overrun by the world, your flesh and the struggles in your life; are you in need of some HOPE from the Lord? The time is NOW to humble yourself and start FRESH, become NEW TODAY! Because it was God who told Jeremiah, to REMIND US: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) Become a NEW CREATION, start over and commit it all to the LORD! See 2 Corinthians 5:17.