Summary: Sometimes it looks like God has failed. But he never fails. His compassions are new every morning.
LAMENTATIONS 3:22-33 “NO SUCH THING AS A ‘GOD-FAILURE’”
Not this past week, but the week before, there were power-failures all over the area, because of all of the storms. I’m sure you know the signs of a power failure: The lights don’t work. The air conditioner doesn’t work. The refrigerator doesn’t work. If you’re on a well, like I am, the water doesn’t work. Nothing works. We are so dependent on power for everything, and when the power goes out, we are utterly helpless.
Is there such a thing as a “God-failure,” when God stops working? Sometimes there are signs that seem to indicate that we are experiencing a God-failure: a physical problem, a financial problem, a personal problem, a natural disaster, a national disaster. Something bad happens, and it looks like you are experiencing a God-failure. “Has God stopped working,” you wonder to yourself. “It looks as though God has stopped caring, stopped protecting, stopped blessing. I think we are experiencing a God-failure.”
This morning, we are going to be taking a look at the book of Lamentations. We are in our second week of our sermon series entitled “Quick Looks at Mysterious Books.” There are certain books in the Bible that are mysteries to the average person, books in the Old Testament that you generally skip over when you’re looking for things. There are some real treasures in those mysterious books, and we are mining those treasures as we take quick looks at some of those mysterious books. Last week we took a quick look at the book of Job. We learned about ourselves, and we learned about God, and how God works.
Today, we are going to see that there is no such thing as a “God-failure.” God never stops working, never stops blessing, never stops caring, never stops protecting – even during those times when it seems as though God has failed. The book of Lamentations is a good one to read, if you’re thinking on this subject. It is written by the prophet Jeremiah. It’s called “Lamentations” after the word “lament,” which means to cry. Jeremiah was crying, he was lamenting, because his country had just been destroyed by a foreign nation. His favorite city, Jerusalem, was ruined – just a pile of rocks now, with smoke rising up to the sky. It was a “9-11” type of situation for Israel, but worse. Most of the people of Israel were either dead or had been taken prisoner, and Jeremiah was one of those prisoners.
It looked like Israel was experiencing a God-failure. They were supposed to be the “chosen people” of God – the nation from which the Messiah would come. But now, that nation was all but gone. You would think that Jeremiah, God’s prophet, would have been depressed, down in the dumps, as he found himself being deported to a foreign nation where he didn’t want to live. But instead, here in the Book of Lamentations, we see the Jeremiah was filled with hope. Look at verse 22: “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.” As Jeremiah sat in the wagon that was taking him far away, as he looked over his shoulder at the ruins of Jerusalem with its smoke rising into the night sky, Jeremiah was filled with hope.
You see, Jeremiah knew that God’s compassions never fail. God is faithful. The terrible things that happen in life – God is in control, and he will use them for something good. In this circumstance, God was disciplining the people of Israel. This chosen nation of God had strayed very far away from him. Hardly anyone believed in the true God anymore. Hardly anyone was looking forward to the Messiah anymore. God needed to do something, and so he allowed this foreign nation to swoop in and destroy the chosen people. But not all of them were destroyed. A few of them remained, and that gave Jeremiah hope. He knew that it was because of the Lord’s great love that they weren’t all consumed. God had a plan, and Jeremiah knew it. God wouldn’t completely abandon his promise of sending a Messiah. God wouldn’t let the survivors of Israel die off in a foreign land. God would keep his promises, and Jeremiah knew it.
As far as this national disaster that had taken place for Israel, Jeremiah could see that it was good. God was using it to bring the survivors back to him. Many of the survivors of Israel would repent of their sinful lives and turn back to God. That’s why Jeremiah wrote in verse 27: “It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him.”