I was thinking over the past few weeks about how much of the technology of our society can be overwhelming with the TMI (TOO MUCH INFORMATION) that is put out there, especially on social media! One thing I LOVE TO SEE is when my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ post scriptures from the inspired word of God! One of the scriptures that I see from time to time is from the book of Lamentations that always brings to mind the thought of this entitled article, “New Mercies.” The book of Lamentations is composed of five chapters in which we find five laments that are all related to the despair of the Israelites in the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple. This book of crying, of wailings even, portray the desperate, dire circumstances that the Israelites were facing. I will say that Lamentations is not one of those books that we just decide, “Hey, I’m going to read Lamentations today,” because of the sadness it contains. The last chapter of Jeremiah (ch.52) records the terrible siege and fall of Jerusalem and the temple by the Babylonians that came against them. Just reading Jeremiah 52:7-11 we get a gruesome view of the horrific things that took place. Those who would survive, would be taken captive to be held in exile in Babylon. We can’t lose sight that the prophet Jeremiah had warned of this “calamity” in Jeremiah 51. Zedekiah is recorded in Jeremiah 52 as king reigning in Jerusalem who did evil in the sight of the Lord which would bring about the calamity that Jeremiah spoke of prior. The Lord promised that due to the rebellious attitudes of His people, there would be perpetual desolation (52:6) and such would have a massive effect on the people. Not just physically, but especially SPIRITUALLY! To get an idea of the horrifying calamity that had such a massive effect on the Israelites, notice what is said regarding the circumstances of this calamity and perpetual desolation recorded in Lamentations 2:20-22. I certainly by reading such that we all agree that these are some grief-stricken people. And although they are grief-stricken in the midst of dire circumstances, it is NOT hopeless as it may seem on the surface as a great and encouraging reminder is given to them in the middle of this very sad book. A reminder that I believe we need today!
Now there’s a lot to consider in this book of 5 chapters and I would encourage you to read the 5 chapters of the book of Lamentations sometime this week. In Lamentations 3, we can see the intensity of what the people were going through. The writer of Lamentations is very descriptive of his pain, expressing such in words such as his flesh and skin wasting away with broken bone (3:4), being swallowed up in bitterness, “walled in”, bound by a heavy chain (3:7), emotionally decimated (3:11) to the point of exclaiming to have “forgotten happiness” (3:17). From what we gather from just Jeremiah 52 and the few verses from Lamentations 2 and as well in chapter 3, the imagery is quite vivid and very INTENSE of one who is grief-stricken and in anguish, in a state of what appears to be hopelessness as the statement is made in 3:18: “So I say, “My strength has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” Now how many of you would like me to end the article right here?! You know we don’t like stories that have a sad ending and that is the last note we end on! Let me ask: “Why do we do that with our lives today?!” What we find in the midst of such a sad book, the author will give the much needed reminder that our life doesn’t have to stay in the desolate darkness of affliction, of grief and sorrow! The author now takes this time to remember, to recall to his mind what we need to today. Read Lamentations 3:20-24. What is it that is brought to mind? What thought has been stirred is he decides to NOT dwell on a situation that is disparaging, but rather he puts his mind on the LORD’S MERCIES, THE LORD’S LOVINGKINDNESS! That is, a MERCY, that NEVER CEASES! This speaks to God’s proven time and time again FAITHFULNESS and LOVE! The Lord is COMPASSIONATE, and HIS COMPASSIONS NEVER FAILS! There are numerous passages where the LORD proves repeatedly of His faithful love, mercy, compassions toward His people! Even though the Lord’s people had forsaken Him, the Lord’s mercies, His compassions never fail toward them.
I thought about how comforting it is to know that no matter how dreary the circumstance that we have a God whose mercies, compassions NEVER CEASE even today! In this passage, we find that the Lord’s mercies, His lovingkindness, His compassions are new every morning! As I have many times in the past, I have read these verses in the morning time and could not help but think as the sun rose, of the wonderful God who proves His love, faithfulness, mercy, and compassions yet again! And then I thought how often we go through a wonderful day we have been blessed with and waste what has been so lovingly and mercifully offered. An opportunity to see such faithfulness, mercy, compassions, the Lord’s great faithfulness towards us, to demonstrate through our lives, to help us live for that day alone, to focus on Him in the midst of turbulent times. Because of this wonderful reality, the writer declares that he will HOPE IN HIM, due to him being ever dependent on the Lord who is his portion (3:24). Rather than the writer speaking of Jerusalem and land that would be allotted as his portion or the people’s portion, He says that the LORD IS HIS PORTION! The LORD WILL PROVIDE! I thought of God who assured the Israelites through the Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 41:10. We sing a song that speaks to us of this very topic we are considering, entitled “God Will Take Care of You.” How many times do we stop and consider that the Lord is our PORTION, HE IS OUR GOD?! What we find here in the text is something that was greater than land, it was a relationship with God, the great, faithful, merciful, compassionate God who never fails, who gives hope to the hopeless, strength to the downtrodden! This was the authors hope and confidence!
As noted from Jeremiah 52 and Lamentations 2, the perpetual desolation, the calamity that had befallen them was of their own doing. They did that to themselves! The warnings were given, the prophet Jeremiah spoke words by which they could be revived, yet it was not heeded and what horrific consequences they suffered due to their own rebellion. I believe that the scripture of Hebrews 10:31 still echoes loud and clear today in 2021, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” The word of God warns us today of the calamity that will befall us, the wages of sin that will bring forth death as Romans 6:23 says if we don’t turn away from sin. May we pay close attention to those warnings and strive to live in accordance with the Lord’s will.
My friends, may we find comfort today, even as those who are righteously striving to live for God, surrounded by disparaging circumstances of our time, remember the words, “The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.” Be encouraged today! Our story is NOT over! We just have to make up our mind to focus on the Lord God whose mercies never cease, whose compassions never fail, they are new every morning and great is his faithfulness! If you haven’t claimed the Lord as your portion to HOPE in HIM, don’t pass up the opportunity to make Him your portion today and forevermore! I encourage you to get with me to talk and study.
Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 😊