Summary: Jeremiah points out that God will be faithful to you every step of the way. Each day when you rise, God will already be taking care of you. His grace, strength and love will be as much a daily part of you life as is breathing.
LAMENTATIONS 3: 21-25
EVERY STEP OF THE WAY
It was the first morning of the first grade. Little Johnny was having breakfast with his parents, talking about what would happen in the YEARS TO COME. "After the first grade, I'll be in the second, then the third, then..." Suddenly a look of panic, then resignation crossed his face. "Boy," he groaned, "I've sure got a long way to go!"
The year 2013 is ending. Soon the first of 365 pieces of 2014 will be here. All of them contain the unknown. Some of them hold joy; others will reveal pain. How will you maneuver successfully through a such a long, hidden trail?
Jeremiah points out in today's passage that God will be faithful to you every step of the way. Each day when you rise, God will already be taking care of you. His grace, strength and love will be as much a daily part of you life as is breathing. Whatever 2014 brings, your Heavenly Father will be right there with you to guide and sustaining you every step of the way.
I. A DESPERATE REALITY, 21.
II. A DECISION TO RELY, 22-23.
III. A DECLARATION OF RELIABILITY, 24-25.
Let's first look at what Jeremiah latched on to when his world was falling apart. Verse 21 is really the "hinge" on which the book, and Jeremiah's life turns. "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:" Unbelief causes us to look at our God through our troublesome circumstances. While Jeremiah's outward affliction and inward turmoil pushed him toward despair, Jeremiah forces himself to bring truth to the forefront of his mind. Like a computer that "defaults" to certain settings, each of us have a "despair default." If we don't reconfigure our minds, we will slide down the slippery slope of discouragement and complaint.
Here's how it works. If Jeremiah just focused on those things that were filling his mind (the things and circumstances around him), he was going to be bummed out. Look at verses 19 and 20. "I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me."
In order to break out of this pattern and cycle of despair, Jeremiah needed to be vigilant about what he allowed himself to think about. He needed to bring other things to mind ÈÎ He needed to call them up from his memory, from his hard drive and make himself think about what was true so in verse 21 he declares, "Yet this I call to mind..."
Friends, what Jeremiah did was something we need to do as well. We need to engage our will, and purposely and deliberately focus on things other than our problems. Force yourself to remember truth. Recall a verse. Remember a time when God demonstrated His grace and mercy to you. Push God's faithfulness to the front of your mind, even when you don't feel like doing it. When you do, God will begin to restore hope to your life by crowding out the hopelessness that threatens to shipwreck your life.
II. A DECISION TO RELY, 22-23.
The mood of despair was displaced by the beautiful affirmation of hope by what Jeremiah call to the forefront of his thoughts. Now, what did Jeremiah call to mind? What did he focus on while he was hurting? What did he lock onto when he was trapped by all the rubble in his life? Verses 22 and 23 contain four phrases that help displace despair with renewal.
The first blessed recall is found at the beginning of verse 22. "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed." Why doesn't God destroy us or consume us? He could and often should. He could because He is God and He should because we are sinners. If left alone our sins would consume us... if it were not for His lovingkindness or great love. We all walk closer to the edge than we think. There is a thin line between disaster and prosperity, joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, life and death
Why doesn't God destroy me? The basis for renewed hope is God's great love. The Hebrew word for "love" is hesed, a word rich with meaning. It has within it the idea of "loyal love," of a faithful love that will not let go because it does not depend on emotion but on an act of the will. God sticks by the people He has chosen. God loves us because He promised to love us and nothing can cause Him to break His promise. His covenant keeping love includes making true the promises that He has made to us who have entered into a father-child relationship with Him.
As bad as we often think things are, if it weren't for God, things would be much worse. That seems obvious, and perhaps it is, but we need to hear it again. If it weren't for God, and for God's love, no matter how bad things are in your life right now, they would be much worse without the Lord. Recall God's loving-kindness toward you often in 2014.