by: Steve Fawcett
4. Welcome to day 4 of our 4 week prayer adventure!
In tough times it is so easy to dwell too long upon ourselves; it is natural to grieve and be sorrowful and for a time, to focus on ourselves and what is happening to us, but if our eyes stay on ourselves, soon we’ll lose our perspective and soon anger, impatience or bitterness will creep in. In the last devotional I brought up the little book of Lamentations. Let’s take a closer look at part of it.
This book is made up of 5 chapters. Chapters 1,2, and 4 are an acrostic- 22 verses with each verse starting with the succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet, all 22 letters. Then, ch. 3 is 66 verses, with 3 verses each to each alphabet letter. Then ch. 5 is also 22 verses, but it doesn’t follow their alphabet. So, you can see that a lot of thought went into the writing of this book.
It is widely believed that the prophet Jeremiah wrote this letter. He is weeping over the suffering and humiliation of his people. This is when God used Babylonia to come in and wipe out Judah and Jerusalem. God had warned them many times this would happen if they didn’t get their act together and come back to the Lord; well, they never did, so it finally happened. Jeremiah is one of the few survivors left to wander amongst the ruins and dead bodies.
So, this little book contains a river of tears, a sea of sobs, a lake of laments. Jeremiah has been pushed to the brink of despair. He has no strength, no hope, nothing left to live for, and then, all of a sudden, clear out of the blue, like a sudden life boat to a dying man:Hope! in 3:21. Hope, the one thing we can’t live without. Let me mention 3 things about God’s character as seen here that gives us hope. It did for Jeremiah, it can for us too.
1. God’s love never ends.“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His compassion never comes to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”Lam. 3:22,23
As Paul would later write: we may be afflicted in every way but not crushed, struck down but not forsaken. As bad as things may be, it is still owing to the Lord’s mercies that things are not worse! If God had dealt with us according to our sins, we would have been goners long ago. We may be cast down, but not cast off. Kind of like the Vikings sometimes. Often way behind, but we love it when there is, incredibly, a big turnaround at the last second. We need to remind ourselves that life, like football, is not over until it’s over. So, don’t act like it’s over, with the Lord there is hope. Why? Because God’s love never ends. Life may be different, but it’s not over until it’s over.
2. God’s compassion never fails. It is new every morning. Don’t you just love that? Each new day you have is like a sign that God isn’t through with you yet. It’s not over yet. The last word in this script of life has not yet been written. His compassion is new. You can’t rely on old stuff, on old grace, just like they couldn’t hang onto the day old manna, so too we need fresh new grace each day. Have you spent time with the Lord and received from Him a fresh new experience of strength for today? Yesterday’s was for yesterday. Have you listened to God today?
3. God’s faithfulness is great! It never diminishes. We may be doubting or faithless but God is always faithful. So, recalling all this to mind, Jeremiah cries out in vs. 24: “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will hope in Him.” The Lord is all we really need. He is sufficient to take care of us. With Him we have enough and He more than counterbalances all our troubles. Imagine a big scale and on one side you load up all your problems and cares, it may be a heavy load, then on the other side of the scale you put the Lord and the other side then pops up like its light as a feather. The Lord is enough because He is faithful.