Summary: Part 6 in a series on Lamentations. Three prinicples ways to return to God.
Encouraged in God
A. Pearls from God
1. Jenny was about to turn six.
a) She and her mom were at the local five-n-dime store and she saw some pearls that she needed.
b) The cost was almost $2 and Jenny’s mother Jenny could do extra chores to make enough money to buy them.
c) Jenny counted her money in her piggy bank, did extra chores around the house, and earned enough money to buy the pearls.
d) She loved the pearls and wore them everywhere, even to bed.
2. Jenny’s birthday came and went.
a) She got typical presents – Clothes, games, etc…
b) The night of her part, her dad went to tuck her in and asked is Jenny really loved him. Jenny affirmed. The dad then asked if he could have her pearls.
c) Jenny offered other things to her dad as a token of her love, but she really loved those pearls.
d) This scenario went on for several nights.
3. The Best Gift
a) Finally one night, dad came in to put Jenny to bed and asked the same question.
b) With tears running down her cheek, Jenny handed her dad the pearls.
c) With tears in his eyes, dad reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet pouch.
d) Inside the pouch was a strand of real pearls that her dad had purchased for her birthday.
e) He waited to give the genuine pearls until she was willing to part with the imitation ones.
B. The Genuine God
1. Israel’s First Love
a) Once Israel had put God in first place of their lives.
b) They begin to rely more and more and individual people and physical things than God.
c) They traded in a real string of pearl for dime-store imitation pearls.
d) They gave themselves over to idolatry and God dealt with His people severely.
2. Jeremiah’s Despair Over Judah
a) Lamentations vocalize what Jeremiah felt inwardly for his people and their plight.
b) In the first 2 ½ chapters, we see despair, depression, and a people devoid of hope.
c) In the middle of chapter 3, Jeremiah focuses again in the hope that comes from God (3:23-24).
d) In the latter section of chapter 3 (40-66), Jeremiah highlights three ways that God encourages his people.
II. God Encourages His People – Three Key Ways
A. Repentance for Sin (40-42) – Four Key Ingredients
1. Self-Examination (40a)
a) Not examining ourselves as compared to others – Luke 18:11
b) But examining ourselves in the light of God – 2 Corinthians 13:5
c) God has given us a standard to shoot for – Leviticus 19:2
d) He has given us the tools to determine that standard – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
e) Though we might be reluctant to look honestly at ourselves, God assures us that He still loves us.
2. Stepping in God’s Direction (40b)
c) Know that God’s desires is for people to walk toward Him – 2 Peter 3:9
3. Serious Prayer (41)
a) Lifting their hearts to God – Philippians 4:6-7
b) Lifting their hands to God – 1 Timothy 2:8
d) Hearts and mind that near to God – James 4:8