Highlights In Today's Reading:
Lamenting over the pitiful miseries and despair of his people, Jeremiah finds comfort and hope as the suffering prophet expresses his magnificent faith in the mercy of God (3:22-23). In Chapter 4 Jeremiah laments the devastation of Jerusalem, the starvation of the people, but most of all, he laments that their sins were the cause of their suffering. We see him in Chapter 5 crying out to God for the restoration of the nation.
The old prophet Jeremiah had walked with God through one adversity after another. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness (Lamentations 3:2). But he was assured that the loving, sovereign God he served was able to guide and protect him through the darkness. But it is also true that whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth (Hebrews 12:6; compare Revelation 3:19). Since we all need a "little" improvement, we can truly thank the Lord for His chastening.
The worldly-minded say that there is nothing so distressing, so depressing, so bewildering, or so hopeless to contend with as darkness. But the servant of God knows it is a blessing to develop faith and trust, and to experience His wonderful love.
Before Jeremiah could recover from one calamity he was stricken with another. The darkness of suffering had a particular meaning for Jeremiah as he remembered a lifetime of thankless ministry and its miseries. But he had no regrets for his faithfulness because his life was in the loving hands of God. He knew that not one blow more than was necessary would be permitted to fall. The rod of God's love brings us nearer to Him. The most prolonged suffering will cease as soon as His perfect purpose is accomplished.
Even though a Christian may be "in darkness" it need not lead to despair. It should draw him closer to God. God does not reveal Himself in these times of darkness because He is teaching us to walk by faith, not by sight. Be prepared for times of darkness when you just can't understand what God is doing in your life.
Although Jeremiah is often in darkness (3:2) not knowing its meaning, there is always a revelation of His loving, caring nearness. Would you choose not to suffer affliction with the people of God . . . (and) to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season? Would you choose the easy road of this world rather than esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt (Hebrews 11:25-26)?
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
Thought for Today:
God's excellent power is shown through us when a Christian does not despair over bad situations.
As the merciful Savior (Lamentations 3:22). Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life (Jude 1:21).
3:5 builded against =b> besieged; 3:9 inclosed =b> blocked; 3:14 a derision =b> a laughingstock; 3:15 wormwood =b> bitterness; 3:29 putteth his mouth in the dust =b> speaks humbly; 4:10 sodden =b> boiled.
Pray for Government Official: Rep. Dave Weldon (FL) • Country: Croatia (5 million) in southeastern Europe • Major language: Serbo-Croatian • Religious freedom • 73% Roman Catholic; 15% Serbian Orthodox; 5% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Pray and fast as you confess your sins and intercede for our nation (Nehemiah 1:4-6).
Optional Reading: Revelation 5
Memory Verse for the Week: Philippians 1:29