Summary: This is the 21st sermon in the series "3:16- Numbers That Bring Hope".
Series: 3:16- Numbers That Bring Hope [#21]
THE HOPE THAT COMES FROM BROKENNESS
After reading our text this morning, I have decided to start a new series, (not really).
Lamentations 3:16 (NIV)
“He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust.”
You can read the verses before and after verse 16 and still not find anything hopeful. In fact, you can even read all 5 chapters of Lamentations and not find anything that seems very hopeful. What you will find is a lot of crying and mourning. So, how in the world, is there anything hopeful in our text today?
The crazy thing about this sermon is that this sermon is probably very fitting for most of our lives. The world says, “When you hit rock bottom, the only way is up”; and there is some truth to that; but the Christian should say, “Sometimes God lets you hit rock bottom so that you will discover that He is the Rock at the bottom”. As I was preparing this sermon, I remembered a song that fits perfect with this sermon- “Chain Breaker”.
Lamentations 3:1-4 (NIV)
“I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long. He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones.”
There is hope in…
I’m sure that you all have decided that I have lost my mind; but I have not. The reason that the Israelites were going through such terrible times and pain was due to their sins.
James 5:14-15 (NIV)
“Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.”
Sometimes we go through pain because of sinfulness and sometimes we go through pain because God is allowing us to go through it in order to build our faith. As the song says, “If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker”. You can either allow your pain to destroy you or you can give it to Jesus and let Him deal with it. Your choice.
Lamentations 3:5-6 (NIV)
“He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead.”
There is hope in…
2. Feeling lost.
Again, you are thinking that I have lost my mind. The Israelites were either slaves in Babylon or left to die with the few people that the Babylonians did not capture or kill. Do you ever feel like it would be better if you were dead? Do you feel like God has left you?
James 4:7-10 (NIV)
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
When you turn away from God and give into your fleshly desires, it does seem like God has left you. The truth is, you are the one who left. The next line of the chorus of “Chain Breaker” says, “If you feel lost, He’s a way maker”. The answer is to submit yourself to God and resist the devil. After that, the devil will run and you need to go to God. You go to God by humbling yourself before Him.
Lamentations 3:7-17 (NIV)
“He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains. Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer. He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked. Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding, he dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help. He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows. He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver. I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long. He has filled me with bitter herbs and sated me with gall. He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust. I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.”
There is hope in…
3. Needing to be free.