Sermon on Lamentations 3:22-33
Text: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. 27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.
28 Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him. 29 Let him bury his face in the dust — there may yet be hope. 30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace.
31 For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. 32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. 33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.
There are certain things that we count on to get through our lives. We count on the fact that our alarm will wake us in the morning. We count on the fact that, when we get into our vehicles, they will start. We count on people to be there to help us. However, in spite of our trust in those things, they will, at times, let us down. The alarm doesn’t go off, or we don’t hear it, and we are late for work or school. We sit down in our vehicle and turn the key and nothing happens. The friend that said that you would get together forgets and you end up by yourself. It is so wonderful when you can actually find something that you can actually count on. As we study this portion of God’s Word, we find something that we can count on, no matter what. YOU CAN COUNT ON THE LORD’S GREAT LOVE. It is 1. A Love That Is Fresh Every Morning. We are also comforted in knowing that it is 2. A Love – For You – Even When Trouble Strikes.
In all likelihood, the book of Lamentations was written by the prophet Jeremiah. As the title of the book suggests, its five chapters are full of sorrow. The prophet is lamenting what had happened to Judah. The Babylonians had come in and completely destroyed Jerusalem. The temple had been destroyed. A majority of the people had been led away into Babylon. Those who were left behind were experiencing complete impoverishment, even to the point where cannibalism was, at least being talked about, if not actually practiced. Death and destruction were all around. As Jeremiah looked at the conditions around him, he, also knew full well why this had happened. It was because of Judah’s sins. The people had continually turned their backs on God and followed false gods. Instead of trusting that the Lord would come to their aid, they trusted in political alliances. As a result, the destruction of Jerusalem took place.
With that as the central theme of the book of Lamentations, you can see why the verses under our consideration stand out like a bright ray of hope in the darkness of gloom and destruction. Jeremiah has confidence, even as he sits in destruction because, “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. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (Verses 22-24) Jeremiah praises God for what he had done. How can that be? Wasn’t there destruction all around him? Yet, Jeremiah knew what could well have happened to the people. They could have been like the northern kingdom of Israel that was conquered by the Assyrians. When the Assyrian conquered Israel approximately 120 years earlier, the people were taken from Israel, never to return. However, though conditions looked dire for Judah, the Lord had made the promise that they would only be in exile for 70 years. Then the people would return and would rebuild Jerusalem. They would not be consumed.
Jeremiah knew the reason that they were not consumed. He said very plainly, “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” (Verse 22) It was because of the LORD’s great love. Actually, the translation of “great love” falls a bit short of the beauty of the word in its original language. The word highlights not only the greatness of the Lord’s love. It also carries the idea of “faithfulness.” The Lord’s love was something that you could count on. It wasn’t like a stream of water that dried up in the heat of summer. You could count on it always being there.
You and I have also experienced this type of love from God. By all rights, we should have been consumed by God’s anger over our sins. There are so many ways that we have sinned against God. We have not always loved others as we should. We have said the worst about people, rather than building them up. We have put the things of this world ahead of our God. Though our earthly logic tells us that these are not really big sins, God has said that all sins are equally condemning in his sight. Each one of us, indeed every person who has ever lived deserves to be eternally consumed by God’s anger in hell.
However, God’s great, faithful love has been shown to us, as well. This was the love that moved him to send his Son into the world to be our Savior. Jesus’ great, faithful for you motivated him to do all that was necessary for your salvation. It was his great, faithful love for you that led him to live on this earth in your place. His love for you moved him to endure the cruel things that were done to him during his lifetime. It was love for you that moved him to stay on the cross and endure his Father’s all-consuming anger. He willingly suffered the punishment so that you and I would never have to. He told you that he rose from the dead so that you could be sure that your sins are forgiven and heaven is your home. In great, faithful love the Holy Spirit entered your heart and created the faith that reaches out and accepts all that Christ has done for you. We gladly say with Jeremiah, “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” (Verse 22)
We, also, have this wonderful assurance in verse 23, “They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” God’s great, faithful love is new every morning. God tells us that his great, faithful love is new every morning. In other words, it never runs dry. There will never be a day when God will say of his children, “I want nothing to do with them.” His forgiveness is always there for us. What a comfort for us as we go through our daily lives. Though we strive to live lives that are pleasing to God, we know that we will continue to stumble and fall into sin. We don’t have to come before God on trembling knee, wondering if this is the sin that finally pushed him to turn his back on us. Rather, God’s great, faithful love is new every morning for us. You never have to worry about God’s love for you. It is new every morning for us.
It is because we have this love that we can face the difficulties that this life can bring. After speaking about God’s great love, Jeremiah said, “It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” (Verse 26) In those times of trouble, we can wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Please, don’t misunderstand me to say that it is sinful to groan under life’s burdens or cry at life’s hurts. That’s only natural. However, we can wait quietly for the Lord’s salvation, his deliverance, because we know that, he loves us and always wants what is the best for us.
In verse 28, Jeremiah notes, “Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him.” God does allow certain evil things to enter our lives. Think of our sermon last week as we studied Job. However, we have the assurance that there is always a benefit for us in the long run. Even though we cannot possibly understand what that might be at the moment, we know that God loves and cares for us and is always out to do what is for our benefit. The apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 5:3-5, “We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” As Paul went through his life and dealt with all of the setbacks and persecutions, he saw that, ultimately, God had brought him through each and every one of them. Because this had happened in the past, he had the confidence that God would help him through any future trials. His sufferings ended up giving him hope.
This is also the hope that Jeremiah expressed in verse 31-33, “For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.” Yes, God will allow grief to enter our lives. It will come in many different forms. It might come from a physical ailment. It might be a financial setback. It will come when, as we stand up for what is right in God’s eyes, we are shunned or made fun of. However, we do have the assurance that, ultimately, it will be for our benefit. We are also reminded that, “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.” (Verse 32) In other words, God is not going to let you swing in the breeze when you are going through these trials. He cares about you and will always be there right beside you. You never have to face any of these things on your own. This thought is reinforced in verse 31, “For no one is cast off by the Lord forever.” At times the heart might wonder if God even cares about us at the moment of trial. God wants to assure us that, even when we suffer consequences for things that we have done wrong, he has not abandoned us. When we start to wonder if God really loves us and cares for us when trouble strikes, we need merely to look at the cross and the empty tomb. That’s how much God loved you. That’s how much God loves you. You don’t ever have to doubt God’s love for you. It is always there.
As we go through life, there are really very few things that you can truly count on. So many things that we think will always be there for us aren’t there when we need them the most. How blessed we are to know that we can always count on the love of the Lord. His love for us is the one constant in our life. We don’t ever have to worry about him not loving us, for he has promised that his love is new every morning. You can’t use it up. How thankful we are that God comes to each one of us and tells us again and again that he loves us. As much as we appreciate his love when all is going well in our lives, we can truly appreciate that great, unfailing love when it seems the darkest in our lives. God makes this promise to us in Isaiah 54:10, “‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” In spite of what the world may tell you and in spite of what it might look like at the moment, you can count on the Lord’s great love. May this comfort and encourage us each step of the way, until we get to experience the fullest extent of his love in heaven. Amen.
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