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Hope in the midst of consequences.

Written By: Eddie Snipes - Nov• 09•11

Lamentations 3:22-26

 22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.
 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
 24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!"
 25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.
 26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD.

 

The book of Lamentations was written by Jeremiah shortly after Babylon destroyed Israel and took the nation away as captives. Jeremiah and a few of the poorest of the people were left behind. To understand the power of this passage, we must understand the events leading up to it.

 

Israel was given the Promised Land as a symbol of God’s unmerited favor. At the time the nation entered the land, God stated that they were not receiving the land because they were better than the nations that inhabited it before them. The nations were being driven out because of their wickedness, and if Israel became corrupt, they too would be driven out (Joshua 23:15). The Lord made it clear on several occasions that the land was His. As long as the people followed Him, they would enjoy the blessings, but if they departed from God, they couldn’t take His blessings with them.

 

It’s similar to us today. How can we expect to bask in the Lord’s blessings if we are not abiding in His presence?

 

Israel fell after generations of moral decline. At the time before Babylon conquered them, the Lord sent Jeremiah out to witness their complete departure from God. The people were even using the Lord’s temple as a worship center for pagan gods. After much pleading with the people, the Lord allowed Nebuchadnezzar to conquer the nation. Yet this happened with the promise that the Lord would preserve His people from complete annihilation and in seventy years, the Lord would visit the remnant to bring them back again.

 

This takes us to the Lamentation above. Even though the people turned from the Lord, praised idols for their prosperity, offered their children as sacrifices, and cast away any semblance of morality, God showed that His heart was still clinging to the people. Judgment was actually a call of repentance and the Lord was even showing mercy in the face of judgment. The purpose was not to destroy the people. It was to drive out the iniquity that was destroying the people.

 

In the midst of lamentation, a promise shined. Compassion was still renewed every morning, and those who sought the Lord and waited on His deliverance would find goodness. If this is true for a nation mourning over their devastation, how much more true is this for this era, where Jesus is our High Priest and advocate? In any circumstance of life, the Lord’s desire is for our good. Even when we are experiencing consequences for our foolish choices, the Lord is in the midst of the hardship with renewal, mercy, and a call to seek Him – with the promise that we’ll find His goodness.

 

When we make bad choices, we may indeed suffer harsh consequences. Though our lives may be temporarily covered by shame, fear, and sorrow, the Lord is good to those who seek Him and hope in His salvation.

 

This promise was given to those who were in rebellion against the Lord. It was written for the benefit of those who were suffering the consequences of their actions. Though the Lord didn’t promise to remove the consequences, He did promise to work through their difficulties and reveal good to those who turned to His faithfulness.

 

You and I will suffer consequences for many bad choices. Most will be minor, but some may be severe. However, even in the depth of our remorse, we have the promise of a new day, filled with mercy and hope. And all we must do is turn, seek the Lord, and put our hope in His salvation. If we do these things we may still suffer, but we’ll emerge from the other side into joy and confidence in the Lord. Those who hope in Him will have hope in life – regardless of anything they have done beforehand.

 

Eddie Snipes

11/2011

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