Lamentations 3:19-24 The Hope of Easter

Lamentations 3:19-24 The Hope of Easter April 12, 2015

Lamentations 3:19-24 The Hope of Easter

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” ― Corrie ten Boom

For many people, Easter is a holiday to get away from all the hopelessness they may feel. Easter eggs, bunnies, dresses, and dinners all are used to hide the deep feelings of hurt that many people feel.

Perhaps you have come today because it is a tradition expected of you. You come to the church, then you go to family for dinner. A tradition that you have held for many years out of ritual. Yet at the same time, you look around yourself and see difficulties, challenges, perhaps even despair. Holidays may seem hopeless for some of us.

Jeremiah is feeling hopeless in these verses. In the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah recalls the present situation. he looks at his world and sees his circumstances and all he sees is a defeated country. The Kingdom of Babylon has invaded Jerusalem and has conquered the people of Israel.

Jeremiah weeps for his nation because he sees no hope. The book of Lamentations is a book of sorrow. Each section in the Hebrew language starts with a letter from their alphabet. He is literally crying from A to Z.

WE ALL STRUGGLE WITH DIFFICULTIES IN LIFE

Like some of you this morning, Jeremiah recalls all kinds of difficulties:

Affliction (Lamentations 3:19)

Homelessness (Lamentations 3:19)

Depression (Lamentations 3:20)

The antidote to despair is hope. The basis for hope is the strong, steadfast covenant love of God, who is faithfully working out his purpose in the world and who is going to win in the end.

Even though you see your life around you and feel difficulty, depression, or despair, realize that there is hope.

“Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope:” (Lamentations 3:21, HCSB)

Let me give you three reasons you can have hope this Easter. They come from the character of God’s love that He shares with you. We always hear about the love of God, like it is some abstract thought. However, the Bible teaches that God’s love is real and that this love has the power to give you hope.

In Lamentations 3:22, which is the key verse to the entire book tells us that God’s love is faithful.

“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end.” (Lamentations 3:22, HCSB)

It is not like a superficial love. God’s love is based on His ability to be faithful. God can be trusted to do what He says. Unlike other people in my life and your life, who may not be trustworthy, God is always trustworthy. A better way to translate this phrase would be “faithful love” or a “loyal love.” So here we have certain statements which God makes about Himself that you can look and say: “I can trust God in that.” “I can have hope.”

THREE REASONS I CAN HAVE HOPE THIS EASTER

Because of God’s faithful love, I will have eternal life (Lamentations 3:22).

“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end.” (Lamentations 3:22, HCSB)

Notice that the love of God never perishes. It never ends. It can never be destroyed. This is one reason why you can count on it. God’s love will never end.

“For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 8:38–39, HCSB)

Paul was convinced that God’s love that we find in Jesus Christ will never end.

““For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, HCSB)

The apostle said that God proved His love though the giving of His Son Jesus as a sacrifice. As a result of trusting in this act, God’s love for you will never end. You won’t perish. You won’t end. You will be with Jesus for eternity. So the love of God, which is found in trusting Jesus, follows you for eternity.

Because of God’s faithful love, I can receive mercy and forgiveness (Lamentations 3:23).

“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” (Lamentations 3:22–23, HCSB)

Not only will receive eternal life by trusting in God’s love in Christ Jesus, I also will receive mercy and forgiveness. I may go to bed tonight wondering if I messed up today. Yeah, today is Easter and it will be a wonderful time. But I may mess up today. I may not honor God today when we meet with the family. I may treat my wife and my kids with disrespect. It’s happened before.

I don’t want to do this, but I struggle with growing to be like Christ. My love may be unfaithful. My love may not be loyal. Yet, God’s love renews itself every morning.

“The merciful are blessed, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7, HCSB)

“And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” (Ephesians 4:32, HCSB)

As Christians, we are expected to be compassionate and to forgive one another. Because it is the quality of His faithful love which we are expected to imitate. Do we get that right all the time? No. God gets it right every day. Jesus showed this mercy and forgiveness on the cross. Jesus provides mercy and forgiveness for my sins every day. Jesus has paid for sins and I can look to mercy and not judgment.

Because of God’s faithful love, I can have security (Lamentations 3:24).

“I say: The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:24, HCSB)

God provides my financial security.

““This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25, HCSB)

“So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” (Matthew 6:31–33, HCSB)

“I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:12–13, HCSB)

It is not like American Social Security, where I have worked to get what I need. Although that is one way God helps us to get security. The work we do provides for our daily needs. God teaches us to be content with what we have because He wants to learn that He is our financial security.

God provides my emotional security.

“Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:11, HCSB)

God provides for my financial security, but He also provides for my emotional security. When I feel depressed, beat down, and hurt, God provides help for my time of need.

It’s not that the Lord gives my portion, it’s that He is my portion. Jeremiah reflects not only upon the mercy of God but upon the satisfaction He finds in God.

If you are feeling down, you need to place your hope in God to lift you up. You don’t need pills to lift you up. You don’t need an escape to lift you out of your state. You don’t need an artificial experience like a drug-induced experience, or a virtual reality experience. You don’t need to go shopping and you don’t need to go bingeing to feel better. You need to trust in Someone better, not something better.

God provides my eternal security.

“For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”” (John 6:40, HCSB)

Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins. God raised Him from death to provide my eternal security. God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus Himself will also raise those who make Him their Lord, not just their Savior in the end.

Let me put it another way. If God could save you, but then you could lose that salvation for eternity, then God is not a very big God.

God is faithful and loyal in His love to you. He showed it first when He created you. He did it again when His Son died on the cross for you. He will prove it in the end when He raises you from the dead and brings you to Heaven. He will prove it to you every day when you come and trust Him.

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