Monday, September 24, 2012

Finding Strength In God's Promises

Lamentations 3:22-23:

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

The book of Lamentations is about the fall of Judah and its capital Jerusalem.  The nation was captured by the Babylonians and king Nebuchadnezar. This book was written by Jeremiah who is referred to as the weeping prophet.  Jeremiah had warned the nation of its sins and he had exhorted them to repent.  The nation did not heed his warnings and because of that it fell.  This is the cause of the sorrow and sadness of Jeremiah.  King Zedekiah was warned by Jeremiah to repent, but he refused, and in the end the king of Babylon captured him and tortured his two sons before his very eyes.  Then Nebuchadnezar put out Zedekiah’s eyes and put him in a cage and sent him to Babylon like a freak in a circus show.  (See Jeremiah chapter) 39.
The book of Lamentations is a tedious record of woe, sorrow, grief and sadness.  This is a dark and depressing book. See 1:3; 1:22; 2:1; 3:2.  Jeremiah is obviously heart broken. He’s deeply broken. You will be hard pressed to read a more expansive, heart rending description of human misery anywhere in scripture than here. It’s a very sad chapter.  Do you think you’ve got problems? Listen please to these complaints of this prophet from the early centuries.  But in the midst of this terrible darkness shines a brilliant light filled with hope and peace.  Lamentations 3:22-23 are like a star shinning in the darkness of night.  It is worth reading Lamentations just to find these two precious verses that so comfort our souls.  I want to talk to you about God’s faithfulness.  Numbers 23:19 reads:

“God is not a man, that He should lie, 
Nor a son of man, that He should repent; 
Has He said, and will He not do it? 
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

Since God cannot lie, we can count on Him to do exactly what He promised—to be perfectly reliable, always steady and stable, never fickle or vacillating. That is His faithfulness. His Word is infallible and unfailing. Since it is without error, it will surely come to pass.  God is faithful.

Let me define a few of the words of this text. The word mercies is from the Hebrew word chesed.  This word means loving kindness, mercy and pity.  In Hebrew the word is חסד.

 The word compassions is from the word rakham and means to cherish, or to have a tender love.  It contains the idea of a mother cherishing the child of her womb. The Hebrew word is רחם
The word faithfulness is from the Hebrew word emunah and means to be firm, to have moral fidelity. It suggests the security of those who are thus protected and cared for by the Lord.  The Hebrew word is אמוּנה.

There is a wonderful hymn from Thomas Chisholm called Great Is Thy Faithfulness.  Thom­as O. Chis­holm was born in 1923. Ac­cord­ing to Chis­holm, there were no spe­cial cir­cum­stanc­es which caused its writ­ing—just his ex­per­i­ence and Bi­ble truth. The hymn first ap­peared in Songs of Sal­va­tion and Serv­ice, 1923, com­piled by Wil­liam M. Run­yan. It is the un­of­fi­cial “school hymn” of Moo­dy Bi­ble In­sti­tute in Chi­ca­go, with which Run­yan was as­so­ci­at­ed for a num­ber of years. This hymn is based on the great promise that I am sharing with you in this post.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.


Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

         This promise in Lamentations should be a wonderful comfort to us in these days. With so much uncertainty in the world, with political corruption, ecclesiastical declension, and with such enormous deception taking place we wonder how can the church go forward? But Christ is on His throne. He will have the victory. Let us never forget what is the answer for the world. It is not human philosophy, man-made religion, pseudo cult-like groups that create a counter culture to the church, but rather, the answer for the world is the advance of the kingdom of God. Let our hearts be encouraged by this wonderful promise. 

1 comment:

Rick Wagner said...

Amen! May we look to the Word of God for our comfort and not to the world around us.