Tuesday 2 September 2014

"IT IS GOOD THAT ONE SHOULD WAIT QUIETLY ..." Bible Thoughts for Sept. 2st


            The Lamentations of Jeremiah are a remarkable mixture of positive thinking, but also at times. of deep depression.  We meditate on Jeremiah’s state of mind through all his experiences.  What a pathway he had in life! beginning as a young priest in the good reign of Josiah, how spiritually stimulated he would been in that era. We will read of this in a couple of weeks, Josiah was the final good king in Jerusalem “who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul …” [2 Kings 23 v.25] and a remarkable Passover was held (v.22), but soon after this he was killed in battle and “Jeremiah … uttered a lament” for him” [2 Chron. 35 v.25]
            What a total contrast his life became after that!  The climax he was fully involved in was the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple.  After that the Governor the Babylonians appointed is murdered, those who remain decide, against the word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah, to go to Egypt; probably some were blaming the prophet for their distressed state.
Jeremiah is overwhelmed by sorrow, in the opening chapter of his Lamentations he writes of his “groaning, yet there was no one to comfort me.” [v.21]   In today’s chapter it is evident that the people have turned against him, it is so often human nature to look for someone to blame; politics especially is a blame game! .
       We judge verses 61-63 to be a prayer; “You have heard their taunts, O LORD, all their plots against me.  The lips and thoughts of my assailants are against me all the day long … I am the object of their taunts.”   Also in v. 17, “my soul is bereft of peace,” it is obvious he is ‘talking’ to the LORD.
       However, Jeremiah is blessed with times of uplifting vision, a lesson for us when we are weighed down by sadness or anxieties.  “The LORD is good for those who wait for him,” he writes, “to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” [v.25,26]   Jeremiah is granted an all embracing view of his total relationship with the LORD – surely this is granted as he looks back on the pathway he has travelled – how the LORD has led him. All who believe in the LORD and his (their) Messiah should seek to perceive such a vision, most of all, in times of stress.. Jeremiah perceives of God that, “though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men” [v.32,33] 
Jeremiah lifts up his mind to see the ‘big picture’ of his relationship with God – and we must do the same,  “It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”
Lamentations 3 we have Jeremiah representative of the nation remembering v1 to v17 the affliction brought by Almighty God. Insomuch Jeremiah writes "my strength and my HOPE is perished from the LORD".

What does this remembrance bring? He is humbled. And now we have a change in perspective; "this I recall to my mind, therefore have I HOPE". At this low point, what does he also remember that changes his perspective from HOPE perished, to having HOPE?

The LORD's mercies and compassion and the promise of (a portion) inheritance:
"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassion fail not. They are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness"

We are reminded of the words of exhortation by the Apostle Paul:
"My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth...if ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons..."

Let us never forget these words of great HOPE and comfort, and put ourselves in the hands of our God. Also let us be of the same mind as the Apostle Paul:
"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us".

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