Friday, November 22, 2019

Great is Thy Faithfulness

"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." (Lamentations 3:22–23)

Jeremiah began prophesying during the reign of the good king Josiah. Though many of the priests and prophets refused Jeremiah’s message, Josiah and others listened. After Josiah died, however, people began to turn away from Jeremiah. The prophet lived to see Jerusalem and the temple sacked and burned, and the people he had sought to save dragged off into captivity. Jeremiah lived beyond this time and ministered to those left behind; but they too rejected his message and finally dragged him off to Egypt with them, where he eventually died.

As Jeremiah sat outside the ruins of Jerusalem, he composed five poems that comprise the book of Lamentations. Each of these five poems has 22 stanzas, for the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The first, second, and fourth poems (chapters 1–2 and 4) have one verse per letter, following the alphabet. The third poem has three verses for each letter. The last poem has 22 stanzas, but does not follow the alphabet.

This is an alphabet of God’s work. The city deserved destruction because she had played the harlot and refused to repent. She had rejected Jeremiah, calling him “Terror on Every Side” (Lamentations 2:22), and thus she had rejected God.

But because of all his daily sufferings, Jeremiah had learned something about God’s mercies in the midst of affliction. The people were going to be afflicted in much the same way Jeremiah had been. Jeremiah reminded himself, and told them in the process, that God is faithful. If they sought Him, they would find Him. Jeremiah had learned that God’s love means that His people will not be completely consumed. Every morning brings a new sign of God’s love and compassion, for it gives a new opportunity to repent and serve Him.

Thus, in the heart of his book, in the center of the third poem, Jeremiah told them that if they wait on the Lord, they would find Him faithful. Those who seek Him will find Him. Those who wait quietly will see His salvation. Those who accept His judgments as just, and do not kick against them, will find His peace (Lamentations 3:19–33).

If God really wanted to destroy us, He would not send prophets to warn us. He would not let us live and daily give us new opportunities to change our ways. As long as we still live, God is showing us mercy. If there is some change you have been postponing, strive to set that change in motion today.