September 29, 2017
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Jeremiah is called “the weeping prophet,” because he was so broken over the sins of his people, the Israelites, who were facing God’s judgment! Consider what he wrote in Jeremiah 13:15 through 17 (Good News Bible):
People of Israel, the LORD has spoken! Be humble and listen to him.
Honor the LORD, your God, before he brings darkness, and you stum-
ble on the mountains; before he turns into deep darkness the light you
hoped for. If you will not listen, I will cry in secret because of your
pride; I will cry bitterly, and my tears will flow because the LORD’s
people have been taken away as captives.
Lamentations is the other book of the Old Testament that Jeremiah authored. It consists of five chapters in alphabetical acrostic, “…a tearstained portrait of the once proud Jerusalem, now reduced to rubble by the invading Babylonian hordes.” (Introduction to ‘The Book Of Lamentations’ in Nelson’s The New Open Bible). But in the middle of this lament the prophet penned this great encouragement to all who face the hard things of life – Jeremiah 3:21 through 26:
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 quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
Devastation was all around Jeremiah! Yet because of “…the LORD’s mercies…[and] His compassions…” (verse 22), he had hope! “They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness…”! Upon what was his hope based?
• Moses told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 30:1 through 3: When “…you return to the LORD your God and obey His voice…among the nations where the LORD…drives you…God will bring you back from captivity….”
• At the dedication of the temple, Solomon, in II Chronicles 6:12 through 42, prayed for the nation and people in various predicted circumstances. The last one was this:
When they…[are] delivered…to the enemy, and they take them captive
to a land far or near…when they return to You with all their heart and
…soul…then hear from heaven…their prayer and supplications…and
forgive Your people… (II Chronicles 6:36, 38, and 39).
• Isaiah prophesied that Israel, “…in the latter days…” (Isaiah 2:2), would be greatly blessed by turning the to LORD and His Messiah whole-heartedly! (See Isaiah 2:2-5; 11:1-12:6; 59:21-62:12).
Jeremiah found his hope in the Word of God and the promises therein! What about you? There are so many explanations and promises concerning life in the Bible. I maintain that every aspect of life is – in one way or another – covered in God’s Word! Saint Paul, in Colossians 3:16, admonishes us to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….” But to accomplish that, you must dwell in the word ! As Jeremiah wrote in Jeremiah 15:16: “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart….” This is the key to the faithful and powerful Christian life!
What are the LORD’s mercies and His compassions, mentioned in verse 22?
• The Hebrew word for mercies is חֵסֵד (pronounced kheh’-sed). Toward us, it means God’s kindness – according to Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary. Mercy generally means that God does not give us what we deserve! Grace, on the other hand, means that God gives us what we don’t deserve! What do we deserve that God doesn’t give us?
✡ We deserve His condemnation! We are sinners, through and through! In Isaiah 64:6 we are told, even “…our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…”! If the very best we can do is filthy and unclean before our holy God, how do our sins look to Him? Is it any wonder that we need a Savior? Jesus Christ paid for all our sins! He took them “…out of the way, having nailed [them]…to the cross…”! (Colossians 2:14 — See also I Peter 2:24).
✡ We deserve eternal judgment in hell! For it says in Revelation 20:8: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolators, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Instead, by God’s grace, we have been given salvation in God’s Son, and “…all things are yours….the world…life or death, or things present or things to come — all are yours. And you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.” (I Corinthians 3:21 and 22).
• Compassions in Hebrew is רַחַם (pronounced rakh’-am). According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, the word means, “…sorrow for the sufferings or trouble of another, with the urge to help.” And help the LORD certainly did – when we could not even help ourselves!
Such mercies and compasisons of God never run out! By His faithfulness, “They are new every morning…” (Lamentations 3:23). And such faithfulness, mercies, and compassions gave Jeremiah hope in the midst of the worst conditions! You can find that same hope in whatever you might be facing!