Scripture Reading: Lamentations 3:19-23
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
The author of the book of Lamentations is uncertain, although many ancient Jewish and early Christian traditions ascribe it to Jeremiah. Jeremiah has been called the “weeping prophet” because he so often would express the anguish of his spirit. Jeremiah was a prophet of doom and not surprisingly he only attracted a few close followers. God commanded Jeremiah to not marry and raise children because the Lord was going to soon send a divine judgment upon Judah that would sweep away the next generation.
Lamentations is not the only OT book that contains individual or community laments. (A large number of the Psalms are lament poems, and every prophetic book except Haggai includes one or more examples of the lament genre.) Lamentation is the only book, however, that consists solely of laments.
The book of Lamentations mournfully expresses the people’s overwhelming sense of loss that accompanied the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple as well as the exile of Judah’s inhabitants from the land that God had covenanted to give Israel as a permanent national homeland.
In 1923, Thomas Chisolm wrote one of the greatest modern hymns about the faithfulness of God from this text in Lamentations. In the first stanza he writes about the character of God and how it does not change. God is compassionate and that compassion will last into eternity. In stanza two he writes about God’s faithfulness in maintaining the order of the universe. In stanza three he writes of God’s faithfulness in forgiving our sins and providing strength for today and hope for tomorrow. Each stanza leads to the great culminating chorus that declares the victorious words of Jeremiah, “Great is Thy faithfulness.”
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God, my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.
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.
Pardon for sin And a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today And bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, With ten thousand beside.
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.
Prayer: Our heavenly Father, as your followers we know Lord that you love us. We believe that you watch over our lives and that you guard us each and every day. Help us to remember that your love is unfailing and your compassion is everlasting. Give us the strength and the hope to arise every morning remembering how great your faithfulness is to each one of us. In spite of what the previous day has brought into our lives, we awake with a new hope, a hope for a better and brighter day. And we have the promise that you are there Lord and that your compassion upon us will never fail. Amen.
NIV Study Bible Zondervan