It Is Not A Bad Thing
Read Lamentations Chapter 3
There is so much good word in this chapter that it is difficult to pick out which verses to highlight. This chapter is a beautiful chapter of love. It is a picture of God’s love toward His children which many misinterpret as a picture of God’s wrath. In one sense it is, but the purpose of His wrath in this passage is different than the wrath which He reserves for unbelievers, scoffers, atheists, etc. Let’s begin with this:
La 3:39 Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins? 40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. 41 Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say: 42 “We have sinned and rebelled and You have not forgiven.
This theme from Lamentations has to do with the way in which God disciplines those who belong to Him. The writer, traditionally believed to be Jeremiah, is lamenting over the destruction of Jerusalem. He was aware that the disobedience of the Israelites was the reason why God allowed Jerusalem to be conquered and destroyed. In this particular verse, the writer acknowledged that God had every right to punish and discipline the nation on which He had chosen as His people. He further explained what the people must do in order to regain their privileged relationship with God.
Remember this: the Israelite nation is the Old Testament example of how the Lord deals with New Testament Christians, those who have believed and have been grafted into the family of God. As SSA Christians, our attitude toward God should be very close to the attitude of Jeremiah. We should not complain when our Savior refuses to allow us to travel down the road of disobedience. We should take that as sure proof positive that our Lord loves us; He cherishes us so much that He will do whatever it takes to bring us back into alignment with His will.
La 3:1 I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath. 2 He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light.
Speaking personally, I have been there. God has afflicted me most severely when I was outside His will; not so much when I was younger and more foolish than wise. But after my later missteps in life, when I had more than enough knowledge and wisdom to know better, He descended upon me with full throttle. That last time hopefully will be concretely implanted within my memory so that I will never again allow myself to endure that much discipline.
La 3:21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.
When those who belong to God find themselves under this kind of discipline, these verses offer hope. Without question, it is only because we are loved, dearly loved by our Father, that we can be 100% sure that we will not be consumed, for His compassions NEVER fail! This is one of the most beautiful descriptions of His unfailing love toward us that we can ever find. When we find ourselves being forced to repent, we should be aware that we are the most blessed of all men. We have hope, not because we have any power within ourselves to escape our plight, but because we are loved by our Father.
La 3:31 For men are not 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 the children of men.
This is another great expression of hope, based on solid truth. Those who belong to our Lord will not be cast off forever. His disciplines always lead us to repentance, which allows Him to shower us with compassion. Verse 33 has an additional truth. Our loving Lord doesn’t want to punish us, no more than a loving earthly parent wants to punish his children. He reluctantly does what must be done, because we have failed to return to Him voluntarily.
La 3:24 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.
This is our proper response when we have disobeyed. We repent, wait upon Him to restore us, hope in Him, and wait quietly for His deliverance. It will happen.
Prayer: Again, as we have said many times before, “Thank You!”