THE FAITHFUL GOD
Lamentations 3:21-23 (NIV)
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21-23 (NKJV)
21 This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
The book of Lamentations is a series of dirges, or poems of mourning, that were written against the backdrop of the Babylonian invasion and destruction of Jerusalem. In the verses of this book, we can see the awful sufferings endured by the chosen people of that city at the hand of their enemies. In the midst of the pain and the turmoil, God had His man in Jerusalem to record the events and to bring honor to His Name.
The writer of the book of Lamentations is believed to be Jeremiah. The man known as the Weeping Prophet. A study of this man’s life (Jeremiah) reveals a portrait of unending sadness and deep depression.
Allow me to give you some of the background for this man of God (Prophet Jeremiah).
1. Received an unwanted call to minister – Jer. 1:5-6
2. Called to a ministry of preaching nothing but judgment – Jer. 1:9-10.
3. He was forbidden to marry so that he might give himself more fully to his ministry of proclaiming the impending judgment of God – Jer. 16:1-13. As a result he was very familiar with loneliness.
4. He was a man of deep sadness and he wept openly about the sins of his people (the nation of Israel) – Jer. 9:1.
5. He endured depression as the result of his message going unheeded for so long. He even came to the point where he tried to get out of the ministry, Jer. 20:9. His pain is understandable, because in a ministry that spanned some 50 years, there is no record of even one convert.
6. He suffered imprisonment by King Zedekiah because the king did not approve of Jeremiah’s preaching – Jer. 32:5. Even while the Babylonians are invading the city in fulfillment of his prophetic declarations, Jeremiah is sitting in the dungeon – Jer.. 32:2.
7. After Jerusalem falls and many have been killed or taken captive, the prophet does not gloat or take an “I told you so” mentality. Instead, he becomes broken with the remnant and enters into suffering with them – Lamentations 1-5.
After enduring a life like this. After being rejected, hated, mocked, imprisoned, ignored; after seeing his beloved Jerusalem ransacked, desecrated and destroyed; after experiencing the horror of war, the brutality of the enemy and the pangs of hunger, Jeremiah still able to stand forth amid the rubble of the city and the bodies of the dead and lift his voice in praise to God for His great, unfailing Faithfulness to His people.
How was this possible? Despite his trials and his troubles, Jeremiah had a handle on the reality of just WHO God is! Jeremiah knew that whether things went well, or whether everything fell apart, God would still be God and that God would be eternally faithful to His people, Ill. Lam. 3:21!
Like Prophet Jeremiah, we all go through difficult and trying times. When these times come to us we also need the blessed assurance that God is faithful!
Thankfully the Bible gives overwhelming evidence of the faithfulness of God.
Allow me, from these verses to share some glorious lessons, as they are presented here, about The Faithful God.
I. V. 22a A LESSON ABOUT LOVE
(Mercies – This word is translated “loving-kindness” over 30 times in the Old Testament. It is a very expressive word that conveys all the ideas of “love, grace, mercy, faithfulness, goodness and devotion.” This word pictures God as the Divine lover of men. It finds its New Testament equivalent in the word agape (AGAPE). Regardless of what we face as we go through this life, we must ever remember that God loves us unceasingly and perfectly through them all! Notice 3 quick thoughts about the love of God for you and me.)
A. The Scope Of God’s Love – John 3:16; Rom. 5:6-7. None in beyond the reach of the love of God Almighty – Eph. 2:1-4. Regardless of how you may feel at any given moment of life, God does love you and He will always love you. He loves as no other can, or as no other will!
B. The Strength Of God’s Love – Jer. 31:3; Rom. 8:38-39. God’s love for man is a love that knows no boundaries. He loves us constantly and completely. It is a love that can never be broken by us or by Himself. His love is boundless and eternal. Never forget the awesome truth that God loves you! When others turn their backs on you and when their love grows cold and empty, God will still be there to love you and He will never stop or change in His love for you!
C. The Source Of God’s Love – 1 John 4:8. By His very nature, God is love. Everything that happens in your life and in mine is an expression of His great love for you and me. That is why we can quote Romans 8:28 with blessed assurance, because no matter what happens to me or to you, it is a product of the great love of God for us. We must always remember that nothing happens in your life or mine that does not first pass through the filter of God’s love and of His will for our lives – Isa. 45:7, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”
I. A Lesson About Love
II. V. 22b-23a A LESSON ABOUT LIFE
(Compassion – This is a word that literally means “womb”. It means “to be moved in the heart out of love for another.” This word is a picture of the grace of God in the life of the believer. You see, as we pass through our storms and our valleys, we do not do so alone! God observes our path and gives grace for the journey. There are 2 thought given here about the grace (GRACE) of God that we need to learn and remember as we go through life.)
A. V. 22b God’s Grace Is Sufficient – (Ill. The great Apostle PAUL and the thorn in the flesh. God did not promise an easier road, but He promised that His grace would be sufficient for the need – 2 Cor. 12:9.)
(Ill. Grace (GRACE) is usually defined as “The unmerited love and favor of God toward sinners.” It carries that idea, but this is a word that changed with the growth of the church. It came to refer to the strength of God to face battles and to bear up under times of difficulty. With this in mind, we should always remember that regardless of what life sends our way, we can be confident of the fact that the Lord will give us the necessary strength to face the trying times of life. You’ll never face a situation as a believer that God will not give grace to help you make it through.
Notice the promise given in Isaiah 43:1-2…. “1.) But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2.)When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”)
B. V. 23a God’s Grace Is Specific – According to this verse, the grace of God is as fresh (FRESH) as the new day. We do not have to worry about there not being enough for us to make it through, for God’s grace in our lives is as fresh as the new day.
(Ill. Note: Matt. 6:34, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Just as every new day brings with it its own set of burdens and problems, so each day witnesses a new, unfailing, all-sufficient, supply of God’s marvelous, matchless, wonderful, amazing grace.”)
I. A Lesson About Love
II. A Lesson About Life
III. V. 23b A LESSON ABOUT THE LORD
(Faithfulness – This is word which means firmness, fidelity, steadiness, steadfastness. This word pictures God as One upon Whom we can depend. We can be sure that as we face the storms, trials and valleys of life, God will ever prove Himself to be steadfast and faithful to you and me. To put it very simply, you can count on the Lord! His faithfulness is revealed in:
A. His Presence – Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20. These verses, along with others reveal the great truth that God is always present with His children. Even when He cannot be seen, He is there. When you cannot trace God in your life, I challenge you to come to the place where you can trust Him.
B. His Performance – Eph. 3:20 – Focus on the word able (ABLE)! If this verse is to be taken at face value, and I am certain that it is, then it becomes plain that our God is greater, by far, than any problem we have, or will ever face. God is an awesome God and His children need to be remembering that great truth. God will take care of you!
C. His Provision – Phil. 4:19; Matt. 6:25-33; Psalm 37:25 – These verses teach us the great truth that God is interested in meeting our needs. Please hear what the Lord said: Needs not Greed’s! God has promised to take care of His children, and He will! It may be that His idea of taking care is different than yours, but that is where faith in the trustworthiness of God comes in. We must come to the place where we are willing to trust the Lord to take care of us in any way that He sees fit.
Notice the trust that Job had in the Lord – Job 13:15. I am sure that Job would have chosen another alternative than losing his children, his health and his wealth, but he is willing to trust the Lord through times that cannot be understood and that make no sense.
What about you and me? Do we really believe that the Lord is absolutely faithful? Do we believe that He has our best interests at heart? Are we confident of the fact that God will indeed provide for our needs?
D. His Person – Heb. 13:8; Mal. 3:6. These verses reveal the truth about God nature that makes Him reliable at all times. That is simply the fact that He does not change! God is the same as He has been forever, and the same as He will be forever. He was faithful in the beginning and He will be faithful in the end. He was steadfast in the lives of the Bible characters who placed their faith in Him and He will be steadfast in the life of ever believer who will trust Him in these days. God is a steadfast and trustworthy God!
Great is the faith that can stand amid the wreckage of life and declare the praises of God. Prophet Jeremiah was that kind of a believer. Are you?
During the early years of missionary activity in China, four members of one family accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but the youngest, a little boy, did not. Later he came to his father and said he wanted to confess publicly that he had received the Savior. The father felt he was not old enough, so he explained to the lad that he might fall back if he made a profession when he was so young. To his well-meaning, concerned father, the boy gave this touching reply: “Jesus has promised to carry the lambs in His arms. I am only a little boy. It will be easier for Jesus to carry me.”
The simplicity and genuineness of the boy’s faith made a profound impression on the father, and he quickly sensed that his son knew what he was doing. Soon the youngster made known his faith in Christ and followed the Lord in believer’s baptism.
As you and I face the battles, burdens, valleys, storms and trials of life, we must always remember that we are His little lambs and that He is well able to carry us safely through. I hope you can see a little more clearly this evening that He is The Faithful God! The GREAT I AM.
Lord Jesus, you are our Faithful God and we will always praise you no matter what life throws at us.
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord for His Faithfulness!