Every Day Faithfulness
A storm is raging. It’s as dark as night. You can’t seem to even see a few inches in front of your face. The wind is deafening. The light is hidden. But you know it is not gone forever. Yet darkness can be so dark.
Jeremiah felt this as he lived his life as a prophet in the Old Testament times. Judah had been taken captive by the Babylonians because of their disobedience to the One True God. Jeremiah was living during this captivity and seeing the destruction of property and people. It was simply catastrophic. Jeremiah was overcome by emotion. He wondered where God was through it all. Then, He remembered the character of His God. And this is where He firmly plants his hope.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Steadfast Love Never Ceases
Love - This is what all of humanity craves. Many times it is proclaimed as a feel-good emotion. It is seen most clearly in acts done from one human to another. On the flip side when there is abuse or neglect, we say this where love does not exist. Love is also a command that Jesus gave as the first and greatest act of obedience to Him - loving Him more than anything else and loving your neighbor as yourself.
So as Jeremiah sees the destruction all around him, the first attribute of God He testifies of is His STEADFAST LOVE. This is resolute, firm, unwavering, unmoveable love. Not only does he proclaim this of the one true God, but He states that it never ceases. It never comes to an end. In the midst of turmoil and heartache, Jeremiah is reminding his own heart and the people around him, that although things don’t look so positive, they must refocus on who God is in the midst of His disciplines. They don’t know the end of the story. A Savior is coming to rescue them, not merely from their enemies, but from their own sin-darkened hearts. Psalm 117:2 echoes this truth - “For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.”
We as his children and those who are helping others to see His beauty in hard and difficult times must keep this truth before our minds and hearts. His love never stops or ceases. There is nothing that we can do to cause Him to love us more and there is nothing we can do to cause Him to love us less. His love is steadfast!
His Mercies Never Come To an End
A wonderful definition of mercy is compassion or forgiveness shown to someone whom it is within one’s power to punish. God has every right to punish us for every act of sin we have committed against Him. Yet, He chooses to not hold our sins against those who are His children. This is the power of the cross. This is the power of the blood - the blood that Jesus shed for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus tells a parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35. There was a servant who owed a massive debt to the king. The servant went before the king begging him to have mercy on him and forgive His debt. The king had pity on him and did this very thing. The servant knew that the king had every right and the power to punish him for his debt, but was given the gift of mercy. This parable ends with a powerful picture of the consequences of unforgiveness toward others. When we have been shown mercy, we must give mercy in return to our fellow man. But the beauty of the mercy of God is that it never comes to an end. IT WILL NEVER RUN OUT! When our heads hit the pillow at night, we feel the weight of God’s mercies. Yet, Lamentations 3:22-23 gives us beautiful hope for the next day and the next day and the next day.
Every morning, they are new.
His mercies have eternally existed, but each day they will be seen, experienced, or acquired again or for the very first time. This is our hope in this sin-cursed world where our own hearts continue to fight against doing what we don’t want to do, but should and also the times we are hurt by others.
Great Is His Faithfulness
Faithfulness is a trait that each person on earth desires to have as part of who they are. But we are fallen creatures who look to our own interests rather than those of others. We break commitments. We dishonor pledges. We are not true to our promises.
His faithfulness is great! As in massive, substantial, significant, extraordinary, and abounding. God’s covenant promises and integrity remain constant and unbroken no matter what. Because of this unfailing character of our Mighty God, we can walk in complete trust. He is always true to His Word and Promises. Hebrew 10:23 reminds us to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who has promised is faithful.” When I look at myself and see how much I fail to love others well, to forgive others, and to show mercy to others, I immediately have to lean into what Christ has done for me.
As Jeremiah is reminding the readers of Lamentations about this mercy, the immediate audience is his fellow Israelites who are in the midst of destruction, captivity, and death. This is occuring because of their disobedience and idolatry that took place in previous decades and centuries. And by all accounts, it looks like God is done with them and has wiped His hands clean. But Jeremiah reminds them that what may look like a lost cause or a hopeless situation CANNOT be what God is intending in this difficult place. God cannot lie or fail or give up on His children. Do we feel in our own lives at times that He has? Absolutely! But this is the importance of trusting in God and His character. Are there consequences to our sin? Absolutely! But He does not give up on His children. This is where the cross of Jesus comes into play. God the Father sees the blood of His Son and counts no sin against us. He loves us and disciplines us, but NEVER GIVES UP ON US! He sent His Son for the very reason of this redemption!
We need God’s mercies every day to overshadow our own sinfulness as well as bring refuge to us in the hard trials that He allows into our lives. We need His steadfast love to keep pursuing us. We are in desperate need of His faithfulness to push us to love Him more.
"For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”