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Summary: Part 4 in a series on Lamentations. Jeremiah brings out five causes of lost hope.

Losing Hope

Lamentations 3:1-18

I. Introduction

A. The Value of Hope

1. An Interesting Experiment

a) Two sets of laboratory rats were placed in separate tubs of water.

b) One set of the rats was left in the water unattended and within one hour they all drowned.

c) The second set of rats were taken out the tub periodically and then placed back in the water.

d) After a few days, these rats could stay afloat for over 24 hours.

2. The Conclusion of the Experiment

a) Both sets of rats had the physical ability to swim for over 24 hours.

b) One set of rats saw no reason to do so.

c) The second set had a belief that someone or something would take them out of the water.

3. Hope Defined

a) Hope is not counting on an improbable turnaround of a doomed outcome.

b) Hope is a confident expectation of a favorable outcome.

c) God’s word is a source of hope – Psalm 119:81

d) God’s hope blesses, assured and shelters His people – Jeremiah 17:7-17

e) God’s hope does not disappoint – Romans 5:5

f) It is an anchor for the soul – Hebrews 6:18-19

B. When Hope is Gone

1. Hopeless Times in Life

a) There are times that life seems hopeless.

b) In other words, there is no confidence in a favorable outcome.

2. Jeremiah’s Expression of Hopelessness

a) In this section of Lamentations, the prophet looks at the circumstances that could lead people to lose hope.

b) Jeremiah was closely identified with those in Jerusalem that his grief becomes a metaphor for his people.

c) Jeremiah takes us through the process of grieving as he makes strides for renewed hope.

d) When sin overcomes us then hope disappears.

e) Jeremiah brings out five aspects of his grief and why his hope was lost

II. Losing Hope

A. God’s Hand is Gone (1,3)

1. A Failure to Recognize God’s Providence

a) All that had happened to Judah was by the will of God.

b) God’s people had failed to honor God’s covenant relationship and thus God made good on His promises – Deuteronomy 28:15ff

2. A Failure to Recognize God’s Punishment

a) God takes no pleasure in punishment

b) God’s correction was a sign of God’s love – Revelation 3:19

c) God’s correction is intended to produce righteous behavior – Hebrews 12:10-11

d) God’s correction delivers us from condemnation – Proverbs 23:13-14

3. A Failure to Recognize God’s Provision

a) The same rod that is used for correction is also used for protection and comfort – Psalm 23:4, Micah 7:14

b) All things work together for good for those that love the Lord – Romans 8:28

B. God’s Light is Gone (2-6)

1. The Symbolic Meaning of Darkness

a) Darkness is associated with death – Job 3:5

b) Darkness is associated with wickedness – 1 Samuel 2:9

c) Darkness is associated with punishment – Job 18:18

d) Darkness is associated with despair – Psalm 88:6

2. God’s Light Still Shines

a) The cloud of sin blocked out the light of God – Matthew 26:45

b) God is a Sun and Shield – Psalm 84:11

c) When God is trusted and obeyed, the Light will be seen – Isaiah 50:10

3. Seeing the Light in the Darkness

a) Keep troubles in perspective – Romans 8:18, 2 Corinthians 4:17

b) Know the purpose of trials – James 1:2-5

c) Continue to examine yourself.

d) Psalm 139:23-24 – “Search me O God and know my heart. Try me and know my anxieties and see if there is any wicked way in me. Lead me in the everlasting way.”

e) God will deliver us from the power of darkness and deliver us to the kingdom of light and love – Colossians 1:13

C. God’s Heart is Gone (7-9)

1. Jeremiah feels like a prisoner.

a) He is locked up and penned in.

b) He is under a heavy burden.

c) His prayers are of no avail.

d) His path has too many obstacles.

2. The Road of God

a) Is narrow and difficult – Matthew 7:14

b) Is full of obstacles and adversaries – 1 Corinthians 16:9

c) Is made easier by allowing God to bear our burdens – 1 Peter 5:7

d) Is made negotiable by righteous prayers – 1 Peter 3:12, James 5:16

e) Is to be navigated without the weight of sin – Hebrews 12:1

D. God’s Help is Gone (10-15)

1. The Target of God’s Wrath

a) The bear and the lion are used as metaphors to demonstrate the feeling of God’s anger.

b) His arrows of affliction and sorrow were piercing and stinging.

c) His people are being ridiculed because their relationship to God.

d) He had become a source of bitterness to His people.

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