It was one of the darkest times in the history of God’s people. Because of their shocking sinfulness they suffered untold horrors from the Babylonians especially during the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. In Lamentations (3:21-25), Jeremiah mourns over them, but he also shines four rays of light from the LORD upon them to brighten their future.
Hope is the first ray of light: “This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope” (v. 21). Jeremiah brought a message of hope to the people. It was not a just the wishful thinking of a naïve optimist nor was it based on chance like that of the gambler. No, it was the LORD that he had in mind. His hope rested upon the LORD. Without Him there is no hope but with Him there is always hope.
Love was the second ray of light: “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not” (v. 22). “The LORD’s mercies” translates a Hebrew word that speaks of a very deep and committed love. It is used of the love of a husband and wife who have covenanted themselves to one another for life. It is not about give and take but give and give and give. It is not about what the other deserves but what they need. It is an unending and unconditional love. God demonstrated this love to His people by never giving up on them. Even though they often failed Him and suffered dire consequences for it, “His compassions fail not.”
Faithfulness is the third ray of light: “They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness” (v. 23). Jeremiah knew that he could count on the LORD’s mercies and compassions every day. As we sing, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; they are new every morning.” God’s blessings of love today will be matched tomorrow and every day thereafter. James reminded his readers of the consistency of God’s benevolence towards us when he wrote, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
Goodness is the fourth ray of light: “’The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’ The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him” (vv. 24-25). Jeremiah chose to make God his heritage because He knew of God’s goodness. He would invest his very soul in God. God would have his loyalty, his love, his service, his life. He would set no terms on God. He would demand nothing of Him. He would rely completely on God’s timing and God’s plan for his life. Even long before it was written, Jeremiah knew what we now know: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
In our own times of darkness, let us remember these four rays of light from the LORD. We, too, can have hope trusting in the love, faithfulness, and goodness of God. May your future be bright!
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
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