Need to rehearse truth

Book of Lamentations  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 10 views
Notes
Transcript

Service Notes

Before prayer, update from Tony.
I just wanted to let you know what happened on Monday evening after we returned from Cumming. At around 7 pm, I went to take out the trash. A U-Haul was parked near the trash dump, and a man was throwing away a large bag. He shoved the bag over, and, as he turned around, I saw that it was the guy who had punched me on Thursday night. He saw me and walked up to me. He told me he was glad to see me because he wanted to tell me something. He found a Bible that Jamar had left for him, and he read it all weekend. On Sunday night, around the time that Vision had been praying for him, He accepted Christ as His Savior. He told me he had lost his job in LaGrange, and was into drugs, homosexuality, and even witchcraft. The bag he threw away was all of the above-mentioned stuff, and he didn't want that in his life anymore. He told me he was moving to Macon, GA , and would be living with his brother, who apparently is a worship leader at a church there. He was going to find a job, and pay back what he owed to the guy who leased the apartment (there is a third roommate who works nights!). He told me that LaGrange is an evil place, and he needed to leave the city to avoid the influence, so he packed up his stuff in the U-Haul, and was leaving at the moment. He left a note to the third roommate (who doesn't even know what in the world is happening), and told him that there was a preacher in the apartment complex that he needed to find and talk to so he could also know the truth. I prayed with him (his name is Malik (Maleek), and he got in his U-Haul, and drove off.
Just wanted to let you and Vision know what happened the day after we got back, and how the Lord is wrapping up this continuing narrative.
prayer with Hills
Interview with Stephen Cofield concerning GriefShare
How did it go?
What did you learn?
How can we be a place where people find healing?
When is the next one?

Introduction to Reading

Been many, many weeks since we were in Lamentations. Wrote out a schedule, shared it, and didn’t follow it. Many good reasons.
Additionally Lamentations 2 was one of the hardest times I have ever experienced standing here. Wasn’t eager to get back to it.
Reminder: Lamentations shows us that hope does not come from a change of circumstances. Rather, it comes from what you know to be true despite the situation in front of you.

In our laments we express the sorrow we feel. But we also rehearse the truths we believe.

Psalm 42:3-5 “3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. 5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”
Suffering brings a time of meditation: This is both listening to your heart and also reasoning and talking to your heart.
Hope springs from truth rehearsed / Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy
I consider this when I speak to our high school students on Sunday. Will they be prepare to rehearse the truth in time of need?
In the midst of the darkest moments of your life, I hope they will have the courage and conviction to say: “But I will call to mind what God is like. I’m going to rehearse what I know to be true. I’m going to recite what I know I believe. I’m going to dare to hope.”

Question: Are you rehearsing truth in your life?

Suffering is both traumatic and clarifying.

Great is they faithfulness

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; all I have needed thy hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Gives imagery of looking out and seeing all that God has provided.
What about when you look about and you see destruction.
Jeremiah is not just reflecting in his heart; he is pushing his heart toward what is true despite what he sees with his eyes.  He is rehearsing what is true so that hope will rise.

Lamentations 3

Everything builds to this point in the book, and chapters 4-5 turn back to the devastating scene but with a different mindset.  Something is supposed to happen to you in verses 21-33.
Rather than sounding like A-B-C-D, the structure is A-A-A, B-B-B, C-C-C, D-D-D, etc.  It seems to increase the intensity of what is being said.
We will look at the theological center of both the book tonight.
The sections that precede and follow verses 21-33 have very different perspectives.

Two Different Perspectives on Hardship

First Perspective

We see Jeremiah’s struggle and sadness over God’s actions.

Lamentations 3:1-5 “1 I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. 2 He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. 3 Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day. 4 My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones. 5 He hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail.”
The judgment of God has become personal and overwhelming.
no peace or happiness v.17
no endurance or hope v.18
the grief of the moment is relentless v. 20

Second Perspective

Lamentations 3:38-41 “38 Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? 39 Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? 40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. 41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.”
Lamentations 3:55-58 “55 I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon. 56 Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. 57 Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. 58 O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.”

Do you hear the difference?

What has changed. Let’s read. I want you to read v. 21 when we get to it.
Lamentations 3:19–33 (KJV)
19 Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.
20 My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.
21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
28 He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.
29 He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope.
30 He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach.
31 For the Lord will not cast off for ever:
32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.
33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

What Changed?

Lamentations 3:21 “21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.”
Therefore is the turning point!
The destruction of Jerusalem sends a message, but it is not the entire story.
The calling to mind creates hope. This is only the second time that the word hope is used in Lamentations, and it is the first time that it has a positive context. 
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, sun, moon, and stars in their courses above join with all nature in manifold witness to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love. [Refrain]

You live through suffering by what you believe, not by what you see or feel.

This is why lament is helpful and uniquely Christian. 
Lament mourns the “thing” that has happened, but it anchors that grief in God’s character.

We find this throughout the Bible

Job 1:21 “21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Habakkuk 3:17-18 “17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
1 Peter 4:12-13 “12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
God’s Words calls us to put our trust in God over and over when the circumstances of life are painful. 
Hard is hard, but hard is not bad.  Why?  Because God is good.  Lam 3:26-27 “26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. 27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.”
So if today you are suffering because of your own sin, because of the sin in the world, or because of someone else’s sin, there is great hope here. 
If your heart is saying “it is hopeless” Argue back.

Hope springs when the truth about God is rehearsed.

God’s mercy never ends

Lamentations 3:22-24 “22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.”
Mercy is God’s covenant love for His people, and it is rooted in the very character of God.
The circumstances of life might cause us to be tempted to conclude that we are permanently on God’s “bad side.”
Weak example of being desperate for something and finding they would not give me my sandwich. Ordering a sandwich at Machu Piccu. I have been more desperate for mercy than this.

The word is used by God after the failure of the Israelites with the golden calf in Exodus 34. 

The ultimate hope for the people of God is not their ability to keep God’s commands, but on God’s ability to keep being God. Exodus 34:6 “6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”

The foundation of everything. 

Lamentations 3:24 “24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.”
Also, could be said as the Psalmist in Psalm 73:26 “26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”
His faithfulness is greater than my faithlessness
His forgiveness is greater than my trespasses
His mercy is greater than what we really deserve. 

God does not waste our waiting

Lamentations 3:25-30 “25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. 27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. 28 He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. 29 He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. 30 He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach.”

There is alot of good here.

Each of those first 3 verses start with the word “good”

What does it mean to wait?

Place one’s hope in God. 
It means that you are trusting that God is the one who can deliver you or that the situation is so difficult that your entire confidence is resting on Him. 
Psalm 62:1 “1 Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.”
We wait upon the Lord because He is God and we are not.  And isn’t it reality which makes waiting so difficult?  Waiting feels as if you are doing nothing. 
We are actually doing one of the greatest things that a Christian can do – to put your trust, hope and confidence in God.

There can be continued pain in that waiting

Lam 3:28-30 “28 He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. 29 He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. 30 He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach.”

The story is not over

Part of the grief of suffering and judgment is the fear that it will never end or that it has no real and lasting purpose. 
The Bible is so explicitly clear about the judgment or suffering not being the final word.
Lamentations 3:31-32 “31 For the Lord will not cast off for ever: 32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.”

God is always good

Lamentations 3:33 “33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.”
God is not in heaven taking delight in the disciplining of His children. 
God is doing so because of loving purposes that are behind the hardship.
God cannot allow Israel to continue in their rebellion.  He must stop them. 
The ultimate aim of God flows from a gracious and loving heart.  He wants what is best for His children, and that is why Jerusalem has been allowed to be destroyed.

Hope springs when the truth about God is rehearsed.

God’s mercy never ends

God does not waste our waiting

The story is not over

God is always good

Closing Questions
Have you spent the last week listening to and rehearsing the wrong narrative in your head and heart? 
Can you make the turn from very hard circumstances to trusting in God’s goodness? 
Can you rehearse the truth tonight and remind your heart what is real and true and right?
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more