Great Is His Faithfulness
Delivered By
C.C. Risenhoover
Delivered On
June 4, 2017
Central Passage
Lamentations 3:39
Attached Document
Open Document
Description

Lamentations is a series of songs of mourning written against the backdrop of the Babylonian invasion and destruction of Jerusalem. The verses in the book enable you to visualize the awful sufferings endured by the people of Jerusalem at the hands of their enemies.

 

Despite the pain and the turmoil that the people endured…God had His man in Jerusalem to record the events…and to bring honor to His name. That man is believed to be Jeremiah. He was known as the weeping prophet. A study of his life reveals a portrait of unending sadness and deep depression.

 

We’ll start with Jeremiah 1:5-6. God spoke to him and said, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.”

 

Well, so much for life not beginning at inception. This verse alone shoots down the claim of abortionists who say a fetus isn’t alive.

 

But, back to Jeremiah: he answers the Lord in this way: “O Sovereign LORD, I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”

 

Jeremiah may have been the only teenager in history who didn’t think he knew it all. For whatever reason…whether youth or something else…Jeremiah didn’t want to accept God’s call. So, if God’s calling you to some special service…and you don’t want to do it…you have something in common with Jeremiah. However, you can’t use the age card on God. He doesn’t care how old you are…or how young you are. If He calls you to do something…you’d better do it.

 

If…after accepting the call…Jeremiah thought he was going to be a popular preacher…he had another think coming. God wanted him to preach judgment…which is never popular with the rank and file. God told him, “See, I have put my words in your mouth! Today I appoint you to stand up against the nations and kingdoms. You are to uproot some and tear them down, to destroy and overthrow them” (Jeremiah 1:9-10). That kind of preaching would be a bit unpopular.

 

That kind of preaching has always been unpopular…but Jeremiah’s ministry was one of proclaiming the impending judgment of God. That took precedent over everything else. Therefore, his personal life was one of loneliness. He was even forbidden to marry…and in no uncertain terms.

 

The LORD told him, “Do not marry or have children in this place. For this is what the LORD says about the children born here in this city and about their mothers and fathers. They will die from terrible diseases. No one will mourn for them or bury them, and they will lie scattered on the ground like dung. They will die from war and famine, and their bodies will be food for the vultures and wild animals” (Jeremiah 16:2-4).

 

In Chapter 16, Verses 5-13…God laid out a bleak picture for people who have been unfaithful to Him. Jeremiah knew what the people had become…and he wept openly about their sins. “Oh, that my eyes were a fountain of tears; I would weep forever! I would sob day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered. Oh, that I could go away and forget them and live in a shack in the desert, for they are all adulterous and treacherous” (Jeremiah 9:1).

 

Because nobody paid attention to his message…Jeremiah suffered acute depression. Nowhere is that more prevalent than in Jeremiah 20:7-18, where he complains mightily to the LORD. I’ll read the first three verses.

“O LORD, you deceived me, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So, the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”

 

Jeremiah’s pain is understandable. His ministry covers some 50 years…and there’s no record of even one convert. On top of that King Zedekiah imprisoned him because he didn’t approve of his preaching. So, he was sitting in a dungeon while the Babylonians were invading the city and fulfilling his prophecy.

 

But when Jerusalem fell…and many were killed and taken captive…Jeremiah didn’t gloat and say, “I told you so.” He, instead, suffered with the remnant of people that remained.

 

If you’re tempted to complain about your lot in life, here’s a summary of Jeremiah’s life: he was rejected, ignored, hated, mocked, and imprisoned. He witnessed his beloved Jerusalem ransacked, desecrated, and destroyed. He experienced the horror of war, the brutality of the enemy, and the pangs of hunger. So, what did he do about it?

 

He stood amid the rubble of the city…among the bodies of the dead…and he lifted his voice in praise to God for His great, unfailing faithfulness to his people.

 

This is a great lesson for us. Despite his trials and troubles, Jeremiah had grasped just who God is. He knew that if things went well…or if everything fell apart…God would still be God and that He would be eternally faithful to His people. He found hope in a hopeless situation because he believed in the faithfulness of God.

 

Listen to these words in Lamentations 3:22-23: “Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, because his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

 

The word “faithfulness” in verse 23 means “firmness, fidelity, steadiness and steadfastness.” It’s a word that perfectly pictures God…one upon whom you can depend when you face life’s trials.

 

God is faithful in His grace. In the English Standard Version of the Bible, Lamentations 3:22 reads: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end…”

 

In the Old Testament, the word “mercies” is translated “loving-kindness” more than 30 times. This word conveys all the ideas of “love, grace, mercy, faithfulness, goodness and devotion.” It pictures God as the divine lover of humanity.

 

Jeremiah remembered that it was the pure grace of God that had freed Israel from slavery in Egypt…and despite their failures and wanderings it had been God’s grace that had kept them a redeemed people.

 

And if you’re a Christian…you can be sure that it was God’s grace that saved you. Only grace could reach you in your lost and doomed condition. Here’s what Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:1-15: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”

 

We couldn’t get to God…so God came to us. He came in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sins. Philippians 2:8 tells us: “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on the cross.”

 

And He came to you in the person of the Holy Spirit to draw you to God. Jesus said in John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

 

God’s grace not only saves us…it also secures us. It was God’s grace that sought you out when you were lost in sin…and it’s God’s grace that keeps you in your saved condition. If your salvation rested upon your ability to be faithful to the Lord…none of us would ever be saved. We’re all prone to failure and spiritual wandering.

 

Be thankful that God’s in charge of your salvation…and not you. He saves you by His grace…and He keeps you by that same grace. What 1 Peter 1:3-5 tells us is this: “In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”

 

God is faithful in His grace…and He is also faithful in His gifts. Again, we read these words in Lamentations 3:22-23: “Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.”

 

The word “compassion” literally means “womb.” It’s God’s grace actively moving and growing inside your life…because God’s gifts are faithful. He didn’t promise you an easy road…but He did promise that His grace would be sufficient for your needs.

 

Speaking of what he called histhorn in the flesh,” Paul said that three times he pleaded with the Lord to take it from him. But the Lord’s answer was “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

 

Grace can be defined as “the unmerited love and favor of God toward sinners.” But it means much more than that. It also refers to relying on God’s strength to face the battles and difficult times in our lives. With God’s grace, we can face the trying times of life and be victorious.

 

If you’re a believer…you’ll never face a situation where God will not give you the grace to help make it through. In Isaiah 43:1 the Lord said, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

 

A Christian always has the gift of His presence. In Hebrews 13:5, God said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

 

And in the last verse of Matthew Jesus said, “And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

In addition to the gift of His presence…we also have the gift of His performance. God is much greater than any problem we will ever face. Paul spoke of this when he wrote: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

 

So, we have the gift of His presence…the gift of His performance…and the gift of His provision. God wants to meet our needs…but not our greed. Philippians 4:19 tells us, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

 

Jesus made that clear when He said, “So do not worry saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:31-34).

 

God has promised to take care of His children…and He will. His idea of “taking care” may be different than yours…but that’s where faith in the trustworthiness of God comes in. You must come to the place where you’re willing to let the Lord take care of you in any way that He sees fit.

 

God is reliable. He was faithful in the beginning…and He will be faithful in the end. The most reassuring verse in the Bible is Hebrews 13:8, which tells us: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

 

In Scripture God is referred to as a satisfier…as the soul’s “portion.” This word “portion” means the “spoils of war.” What Jeremiah is saying is that, “In the battle of life, God is my reward, my share, and my portion.”

 

If you view the Lord in that way…He will be all you need to satisfy your soul. You can then say with David, “[He] satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle” (Psalm 103:5).

Or, “…for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:9).

 

God may not give you all the things you desire in life…but He will always give you that which is best…and He will give you that which will satisfy the soul.

 

Paul wrote in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

 

God is a satisfier and sustainer. He will never fail those who place their trust in Him. God said through Isaiah, “...those who hope in me will not be disappointed” (49:23). And Paul wrote in Romans 10:11, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

 

Most important than all else, God in Jesus Christ is a savior. To paraphrase Jeremiah, “Those who wait upon the Lord will see Him bring them out of their troubles and trials. He will not fail His children, but, in His time, He will deliver them from all their valleys.”

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