Summary: In the midst of hardship, remember to call to mind the goodness and faithfulness of God. Ponder what God has done for you and can do for you. He has not changed. Trust Him.
Jeremiah penned down his grief after his nation and city Jerusalem fell to Babylon in 586 BC.
• He expresses his sorrows over 5 laments in this book. The people suffered because they have sinned against God and rejected Him.
• God is faithful. If the people would learn their lesson, repent and seek God, they would find the hope and the help they need.
Chapter 3 describes the afflictions Jeremiah experiences.
• 3:1 “I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.”
• From vv.1-18 Jeremiah describes the pain and suffering that he and his people has gone through.
• And then in 3:19-20 he says, “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. 20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.”
When afflictions come, we can become very discouraged.
• We feel like God is against us. We feel like we are in the dark and there is no way out.
• We feel like something heavy is pressing on us. We cannot find release.
• Our prayers are not being answered. We feel like giving up because our hope is gone.
Jeremiah would have ended up in despair, but we thank God he did not.
• He did something remarkable in verse 21. 3:21-22 “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”
• One THOUGHT changed everything. Jeremiah chose to CALL TO MIND something - the unchanging love of God. God is faithful, and His compassions never fail.
• This thought stopped the downward spiral that his emotions were taking him.
Dear bro/sis, it is alright to be honest with God and express our sorrows like Jeremiah did, but it is not alright to stay there. Don’t let our pain and disappointment holds us bondage.
• Jeremiah did not choose to stay in despair or wallow in self-pity. Rather, having poured out his sorrows, he chose to think about God and His promises.
• The suffering was God’s lesson for His people who had sinned. But God did not reject them as His people. The father, who disciplines the child, still loves the child.
It is very important what you allow yourself to think about.
• What are you always thinking about? Are we always thinking about ourselves, and our problems?
• Rom 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
• Have you thought of God and what He says? When was the last time you give a thought about God? Do you think about what God says every day?
Jeremiah shifted his focus from his suffering to God. He did it deliberately.
• Choose to remember God. Recall a verse. Sing a song. Think of His goodness.
• Remember a time when God showed His grace and mercy to you. Push God to the front even when you do not feel like doing it.
Lam 3:22-23 tell us Jeremiah remembers these FOUR aspects about God.
(1) God’s great love, (2) God’s unending compassions (compassions never fail)
(3) God’s daily blessings (they are new every morning), and
(4) God’s faithfulness (great is your faithfulness).
Why am I still living today? Jeremiah’s answer: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed.”
• We could have perished with the rest, but we did not. We are still alive today because God has been gracious.
• Things could be worse if not for His love, His grace and mercy.
His compassions never fail. The word ‘compassions’ is in plural in Hebrew.
• God has not ceased loving us. Rev Koh Soon Meng preached a few weeks ago, God’s love has never left you. You may feel that way or think that way, but His love for you has not changed.
• It keeps coming, it never ends. His compassion will not run out.
They are new every morning. It’s like this, you wake up one morning and find your rice pot filled with rice, or your car filled with petrol, or your fridge filled with food?
• This happens every morning. It wake up and your lack is being filled up.
• That’s the way it is with God’s mercies, Jeremiah said. You can never use them up.
This is how God provided manna for His people in the wilderness when they left Egypt.
• God sent it every day. It cannot be exhausted. The people were instructed to gather as much as they wanted, because it would always be more than enough. He is a ‘more than enough’ God.