How I think on the past gives me hope for the future and faith for today.
Who doesn’t love Lamentations 3:22-23?
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.”
These verses explode with meaning when read in the context of both Jeremiah and Lamentations. I’ve slowly been reading through the Bible and today found myself in Lamentations 3. As I’ve read and allowed my mind to be captivated by the faithfulness of Jeremiah, the prophet of God who stood alone to announce judgment on Judah, when all the other ‘prophets’ spoke against him, I’ve been struck by one main idea that happens to coincide with my current sermon series from Hebrews 11: Jeremiah was faithful to God’s call on his life in the most difficult situation.
When God calls us to do something we just assume that doing it will bring great blessing and success and all will be well with the world, because after all, we’re doing God’s great work. Hit pause on that thinking and read the 52 chapters of Jeremiah followed by the short book expressing his weeping over what God had him do.
Faithfulness does not equal success. Success for Jeremiah would have been a national revival followed by God reversing the proposed judgment via Babylon. Think Jonah and Nineveh.
Jeremiah was true to the job of consistently preaching, even after being thrown in jail. In Lamentations you get the idea that the ‘lamenting’ is too much for him. “How can I bear this? This has been a horrible season. Why God, why?” Then something happens in verse 21.
“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.”
Here’s a little help from the notes from the NKJV Study Bible: “This I recall to my mind: Jeremiah’s remembrance of God’s faithfulness brought about a change in the prophet’s emotions. As long as we contemplate our troubles, the more convinced we will become of our isolation, our hopelessness, our inability to extricate ourselves from the present trouble. But when we focus on the Lord, we are able finally to rise above, rather than to suffer under, our troubles.”
God is good. He is faithful to His word. Jeremiah was faithful to the dreadful job God gave him to do. Instead of bemoaning and getting more and more depressed on how rotten the situation was, he changed his thinking. He thought on the faithfulness of God. And it gave him hope. And that is how he was able to pass on to us the gift of Lamentations 3:22-23.