May 12, 2017
Great Is Your Faithfulness
By Skip Heitzig
In our nation's current climate, it seems that more and more people are growing cynical—and not just toward politicians or the government, but toward Jesus and His promises. Looking around, it seems there are a lot more things going wrong than right in the world. Let me turn your attention today to the book of Lamentations. In this book, the prophet Jeremiah essentially recorded the death of his nation: the year was 586 BC, and the Babylonians had taken over the city of Jerusalem. The temple had been burned. There was no food or water. Disease spread rapidly. It got so bad that parents were forced to eat their own children for survival. And thousands of Jewish people were being carted off to captivity in Babylon.
But in Lamentations 3, we come to the oddest little island of hope in an ocean of despair: "This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed,because His compassions fail not.They are new every morning;great is Your faithfulness.'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul,'Therefore I hope in Him!' The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,to the soul who seeks Him.It is good that one should hope and wait quietlyfor the salvation of the Lord…. For the Lord will not cast off forever" (vv. 21-26, 31).
We live in an uncertain world, but this passage gives us a few certainties we can rely on. Here's the first: there is mercy in the midst of mayhem. Verse 22 says, "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed"—that is, utterly destroyed—"because His compassions fail not." This is an incredible statement, because Jeremiah was seeing death and destruction all around him, and yet he said, "This is not the end." Every person, including you, will face mayhem, confusion, hardship, heartache, suffering, battles, and storms—but there will be mercy in it all. The Hebrew word for mercies can be translated loyal love or covenant love. What this means is that God made a covenant with you, and He will act in love and mercy toward you because of that covenant.
Here's the second certainty: God's resources will match your requirements. Jeremiah wrote that God's mercies "are new every morning," then he paused and said, "Great is Your faithfulness" (v. 23).Every single morning, there will be a fresh supply of God's covenant love and compassion toward you. But the catch is that it's sort of like manna: you have to gather it every day. I suggest that you start your day by spending time with the Lord in prayer and in His Word, receiving in that time whatever He knows you'll need for the day.
Notice that Jeremiah's declaration "Great is Your faithfulness" wasn't based on what he was seeing or hearing or smelling—a city burned with fire, rotting flesh, the cries of women and children being massacred—but on what he knew about God: He is faithful. I think it's high time we start focusing on all the times God keeps a promise in our everyday lives, whatever it might be: "I got to eat this morning." "I could pay for gas today." "I got to hug that person again." That's the great faithfulness of God.
The third and final certainty is that delays don't always mean God's denial. Notice that in our text above, the words hope andwait appear a total of five times. Did you know that Jeremiah predicted what he saw happen in Jerusalem? Did you know he also predicted that Jerusalem would be restored after the Jews spent seventy years of captivity in Babylon? In this context, his exhortation to hope and wait makes sense. Jeremiah expected God to act and gave Him room to do so in His own way and timing.
You and I need to take a page out of Jeremiah's book by learning to let go and trust the Lord. No matter what's going on in our country, let's recognize God's mercies in the midst of mayhem, grab hold of His resources for all our requirements, and trust that His delays simply mean, "Not yet," knowing that one day He'll return and make everything right.
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