His Great Faithfulness in Our Great Suffering
As we turn towards Lamentations 3, we turn to the greatest reminder in all of God's Word that when there are great sufferings, during them we can find the assurance of God's greater faithfulness.
Lamentations is a book that is about what it sounds like it's about—the lamentations of a person in deep suffering. Do you remember all of the weeping prophet Jeremiah's woes? His testimony is the 25th book of God's Word, and it is aptly called Lamentations. Does that title suggest anything to you? It is the cry of a troubles soul. It is the testimony of a man who knew pain, weakness, and much sorrow.
When Troubles Come in Overwhelming Waves
Jeremiah's woes were unimaginable to our relatively peaceful lives. He lived through the death throes of the final days and hours of the nation of Judah.
- From an earthly perspective Jeremiah's life was a failure. During his lifetime he watched the decay of God's chosen people, the horrible destruction of Jerusalem and the deportation of the nation to Babylon.
- He preached for 40 years and saw no visible result among those he served. Instead those countrymen he warned for God sought to kill him if he wouldn't stop preaching doom (Jer. 11:19-23). He had virtually no converts to show for a lifetime of ministry.
- He had no one to find joy and comfort with as his own family and friends were involved in plots against his (12:6).
- He never had the joy of a godly home because God never allowed him to marry, and thus he suffered incredibly agonizing loneliness (16:2).
- He lived under a constant threat of death, as there were plots to kill him in secret so no one would find him (18:20-23).
- He lived with physical pain while he was beaten severely and them bound in wooden stocks (20:1-2).
- He lived with emotional pain as his friends spied on him deceitfully and for revenge (20:10).
- He was consumed with sorrow and shame and even cursed the day he was born (20:14-18).
- His life ended with no relief as he was falsely accused of being a traitor to his own country (37:13-14). Jeremiah was arrested, beaten, thrown into a dungeon, and starved many days (37:15-21). If an Ethiopian Gentile had not interceded on his behalf he would have died there.
- In the end, tradition tells us he was exiled to Egypt, where he was stoned to death by his own people.
Perhaps the most striking feature of this book is the fact that despite the terrible woes of the life Jeremiah was called to (1:5), he saw that it was all at the Master Potter's Hand (18:1-6). At the point of near despair over his failed ministry, God asked Jeremiah to go to the Potter's house and there he would get a message from the Lord (18:2).
Although Israel had failed so grievously, the heavenly Potter was able to bless them again if they would but repent and yield to his Perfect Touch. So for us who have heard Christ's reminder that we will suffer just because we belong to Him; and for us who live in the times approaching the end of days, we can learn a great truth to live by.
Jeremiah's life is a wonderful canvas, across which is painted the truths that you can see and display God even more clearly:
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