Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 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.’ The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:21-26 (NIV)
Read: Lamentations 3
Consider: The book of Lamentations is not particularly enjoyable reading as it records the lament of a person who saw the desolation of Jerusalem after the Babylonian invasion. Historically the book is attributed to the prophet Jeremiah by both Jewish and Christian writers, despite the author’s name not being mentioned at any point in the book. The book follows on from the book of Jeremiah where the prophesies against Jerusalem are given and fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem.
The Hebrew name for the book ekah is taken from the first word of the book, translated in English as ‘How’. This is not how – as in ‘How did this happen?’. Rather it is how shocking – referring to the extent of Jerusalem’s destruction. The writer does, however, answer the ‘How did this happen?’ question in 4:13 where it states: But it happened because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests, who shed within her the blood of the righteous.
While Lamentations can be a hard and disturbing read, it does contain some exceptional passages of scripture. Despite all the desolation and despair around them, the author is able to say what is quoted above from Lamentations 3:21-26. When facing such difficulty he could still say: Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
Ask yourself the question whether or not you could say such things of God when facing debilitating hardship. Would your lament be one of self-pity, or would it focus on God and his faithfulness?
Lamentations is only five chapters in length, so is worthwhile reading completely. As a book Lamentations confronts human grief and misery, but puts it firmly within the context of God and his faithfulness. Towards the end of the book the author is able to say: You, LORD, reign for ever; your throne endures from generation to generation. Lamentations 5:19 (NIV)
Pray: Father, we know that, even in great despair and misery you are there alongside us. Help us to wait for you and to rely on your faithful love. Amen