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.
Lamentations 3:21-23 (NIV)
[Note: The following is adapted from a post first published on 13th February 2017]
Read: Lamentations 3:1-26
Consider: If you are like me you probably find the book of Lamentations is not particularly enjoyable reading. It records the laments of those 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 later 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: 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 (3:21).
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?
In the UK we are facing the introduction of increased restrictions as the result of COVID-19. These restrictions may last many months as the Government seeks to contain the spread of the virus. Many people are facing despair as their businesses or employment suffers, their socialisation is curbed and as they face the possibility of succumbing to the virus.
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).
Pray: Father, we pray for your protection physically and emotionally at this time. Protect all those who find the COVID-19 restrictions particularly challenging. We thank you that, even in great despair and misery, you are there alongside us. Amen