Summary: *Think what God’s faithfulness can mean in your life.
God’s Great Faithfulness
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - Nov. 23, 2008
*The big headline in yesterday’s paper said, “Bastrop mill closes; 550 lose jobs” Chances that they will resume operations are very slim. Economist Bob Eisenstadt was quoted as saying, “This is without question an economic disaster for Morehouse Parish.” (1)
*This economic downturn is real, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. But our God is faithful! Others among us are going through the pain of grief. In the last few days both the Young family and the Boyett family have had to say goodbye to their moms, and we lost my brother much sooner than we expected. But our God is faithful! Think what His faithfulness can mean in your life.
1. First: God’s great faithfulness brings hope in our darkest hour.
*You can find hope in your darkest hour. You can have the same kind of hope that sustained Jeremiah in vs. 21 where he said, “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.” What was Jeremiah remembering in this verse? It was God’s mercy and compassion, the Lord’s great goodness and faithfulness to those who trust in Him.
*Now in order to appreciate the sustaining power of this hope, we need to know at least a little about how Jeremiah suffered. He is called “The Weeping Prophet” for good reason. Stanley Morris tells us that Jeremiah’s service as a prophet spanned more than 40 years -- during the reigns of Judah’s last five kings and beyond. Throughout his long, turbulent life he constantly had to confront a people who had rejected God for false gods. He warned them that this would cause their eventual destruction, but they refused to repent.
*Jeremiah was treated as a traitor by the people for the ultimatums he delivered from God. He was thrown into a dungeon without food. Even some of his own townspeople and relatives opposed him and tried to kill him. (2)
*Brian Bill tells us that as we come to Lamentations chapter 3, we see that Jeremiah bares his heart, not holding back the depths of his despair. . . In the first 20 verses his language was real and raw. In those verses Jeremiah made 9 complaints. Here are some examples:
-In vs. 3, Jeremiah felt like God was against Him. “Surely He has turned His hand against me time and time again throughout the day.”
-Jeremiah felt that God was tormenting him mentally and physically. In vs. 4, “He has aged my flesh and my skin, and broken my bones.” In vs. 15&16, “He has filled me with bitterness, He has made me drink wormwood. He has also broken my teeth with gravel, and covered me with ashes.”
-In vs. 7, Jeremiah felt trapped. “He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out; he has made my chain heavy.”
-In vs. 8, his prayers were unanswered. “Even when I cry and shout, He shuts out my prayer.”
-And in vs. 18, Jeremiah was ready to give up, as he said, “My strength and my hope have perished from the Lord.” (3)
*Christian, have you ever been there? Have you ever felt like you were in a hole so deep you could never get out? Do what Jeremiah did in vs. 21: Remember God’s great mercy and compassion. Remember God’s faithfulness.
*Brian Bill gave this simple definition: “God’s faithfulness means that everything He says and does is certain. He is 100% reliable, 100% of the time. He does not fail, forget, falter, change, or disappoint. He says what He means and means what He says. Therefore He does everything He says He will do.” (3)
*You can find hope in your darkest hour through the faithfulness of God. Harry Teuchert knows this is true. For years Harry had been a successful publisher of materials for churches. Everything in his life seemed to be perfect: A lovely home, a family, a solid future; but all this suddenly collapsed. Harry’s wife told him she was leaving him. She was in love with someone else.
*Devastated, Harry tried to cope, work, continue with his life, but this tragedy was too overwhelming. Despite all the other good things in his life, Harry felt like a complete failure with nothing to live for.
*He was on the road to meet with a church about their anniversary publication. Arriving early, Harry sat down in the fellowship hall. Suddenly, he began to think about suicide. His life was over. All was finished. As he sat at a table, he began to cry intensely, holding his head in his hands. The more Harry wept, the more he was convinced that his life had ended. He would continue no more. He was beaten. It would be so easy to end it all.