Summary: God’s great faithfulness: 1. Brings hope in our darkest hour (vs. 21). 2. Is the source of our salvation (vs. 22-23). 3. Makes Him our greatest gift (vs. 24). 4. Guarantees His goodness to all who trust in Him (vs. 25-26).
God's Great Faithfulness
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - March 23, 2014
(Revised and updated from sermon preached at McClendon Baptist Church on Nov. 23, 2008.)
*Church: I think of Flight 370 that disappeared two weeks ago with 239 people on board. I also think of my friend Roman who spoke to us last June. Roman and his family live in Ukraine about 50 miles from the Russian border. I think of these families and I remember that terrible things out of our control can happen in this world. But our God is faithful.
*I also think of the ten or more families in our church that have lost loved ones in the past few months. And I remember that tragedy will strike every family. But our God is faithful!
*Jeremiah confirms this great truth to us in today's Scripture. Let's begin by reading Lamentations 3:21-26. Here God's faithful prophet has been in great despair, but in these verses we see a big turning point in his heart. The old prophet got a big burst of encouragement.
*In vs. 21 Jeremiah began by saying: "This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope." What was it that Jeremiah recalled in this verse? What restored his hope? He tells us starting in vs. 22:
22. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
23. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
24. "The Lord is my portion,'' says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!''
25. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.
26. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
*Our God is always faithful, and He always will be! But what does His faithfulness mean for us today?
1. First: His faithfulness brings hope in our darkest hour.
*We can find hope in our darkest hour. We can have the same kind of hope that sustained Jeremiah in vs. 21. There again the prophet said, "This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope."
*In order to appreciate the power of this hope, we need to know a little about how much Jeremiah suffered. He is called "The Weeping Prophet" for good reason. Stanley Morris tells us that Jeremiah's service spanned more than 40 years, during the reigns of Judah's last five kings and beyond. Throughout his long, turbulent life Jeremiah constantly had to confront a people who had rejected the true Lord God for false gods.
*Jeremiah warned them that this would cause their eventual destruction, but they refused to repent. So Jeremiah was treated as a traitor 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. (1)
*Brian Bill tells us that as we come to chapter 3, we see Jeremiah baring his heart, not holding back the depths of his despair. . . In the first 20 verses, Jeremiah made 9 bitter 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 also felt that God was tormenting him mentally and physically. In vs. 4, "He has aged my flesh and my skin, and broken my bones." Then down 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."
-Back up 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, or at least they seemed to be 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." (2)
*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 short but striking 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." (2)
*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, and a solid future, but all of this suddenly collapsed. Harry's wife told him she was leaving him. She was in love with someone else.