They are New Every Morning
“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” (Lamentations 3:22-26).
The Book of Lamentations was the writings of Jeremiah the prophet even though his name is not mentioned as the author. It was written 586BC and 575BC during or soon after the fall of Jerusalem. It is clear that Jeremiah witnessed the spiritually backslidden conditions of the last days of the southern kingdom of Judah before it fell to the Babylonians. He describes in detail what was happening and why it happened. In those last days before Judah fell there were many false prophets going about telling the people that they would not see the sword or famine even though the people of Judah had been utterly unfaithful to God just as the northern kingdom of Israel had been and had fallen to the Assyrians in 722BC. The false prophets had lied to the people and would be judged by the LORD for deceiving His people with their reckless and boastful lies (Jeremiah 5:11-13; 23:31-32).
Jeremiah was a true prophet and because of the very weighty message God had laid upon his heart Jeremiah could not sit in the circle with the merrymakers with their glitzy prosperity and health doctrines and glamorous prophecies of one sort or another to titillate the fleshly senses of the people and to scratch their itching ears with what they wanted to her instead of telling the people what they needed to hear. Jeremiah as “the weeping prophet” could not join in their revelry but chose to sit alone (Jeremiah 15:17).
Like all of the true prophets God’s Word became spiritual food for them and a joy and delight because they bore His name and pronounced His blessings to his people yet it would also turn bitter in their stomachs because of the judgements they had to pronounce. They were filled with a righteous anger and with a great sadness of heart because the LORD’s name was being defiled before the pagan world and His honour besmirched by Israel’s rejection of His Word and by their idolatry and embracing of the ways of the pagan nations.
Jeremiah was in good company with all of the faithful prophets that had gone before him, who, like him, had been persecuted and rejected because of the Word of the LORD being spoken through them as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21). Jeremiah had to bear the burden of the desolation that was coming upon God’s people because they had adopted the ways of the nations and had allowed those ways to infiltrate their ranks as God’s Holy people who by and large were no longer separated to Him from the pagan world (Jeremiah 15:16-17). There were some righteous people in the city as God always has a faithful remnant in every age but not enough to stem the floodtide of the impending judgement to come in an overwhelming deluge.
During the time of Jeremiah, before the Babylonians made their first incursion into Israel, the kingdom of Judah was prospering materially, living at ease by and large and many living in luxury including the priests and the spiritual leaders and the false prophets while at the same time spiritually and even physically neglecting the poor and the needy among them. The prophets were not exposing sin but telling the people what they wanted to hear instead of what they needed to hear. God had not sent them at all. If they had really stood in God’s presence they would have proclaimed His word to His people that would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds (Jeremiah 23:21-22).
Instead of exposing the root of the problem being sin and the need to repent and turn back to God they were applying ‘spiritual band aids’ but not dealing with the cause of the spiritual infection spreading like gangrene among the people. As the prophet Jeremiah writes; “For from the least of them to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; from prophet to priest, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of My people with very little care, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace at all. Are they ashamed of the abomination they have committed? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; when I punish them, they will collapse,” says the LORD” (Jeremiah 6:13-15).
There were three more incursions after the first incursion with each one being more severe that the one before it by the Babylonians and on the fourth invasion the City of Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians after a long siege. The prophet Joel speaks of four invasions of the Land of Israel by swarms of locusts which historically referred to the four invasions by the Babylonians and prophetically referring to the armies of the Islamic Antichrist that would come against Israel in the last days (Joel 1:1-4). Locusts in scripture represent demon spirits (Revelation 9:2-3).
Now we are told in the New Testament about what happened to Israel when they turned away from the LORD and we read about this in 1 Corinthians 10:1-12. What happened to Israel is applicable to us today as the Body of Messiah having the New Testament. As Rabbi the apostle Paul writes; “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did” (1 Corinthians 10:6). While we are not obliged to keep the sacrifices and offerings made under the Law of Moses we are commanded to keep the moral and ethical laws and the spiritual precepts and commands of God’s Word.
Many of the commandments are repeated in the New Testament and are obligatory on all who call upon the name of the LORD! because the laws and commandments of God, being summed up in the 10 Commandments, are written in our hearts by the Holy Spirit if we have been spiritually born again from above and have the Spirit living down on the inside of us (Jeremiah 31:31-34). As we walk by faith and with a spiritual disposition of a repentant heart, we will walk in step with the Holy Spirit as we walk in the light of God’s Word and in the power of the Messiah’s blood which will keep us from sin (1 John 1:7-9) (Revelation 12:11) (Galatians 5:25) (Psalm 119:9, 105). God’s Word will be a delight in us but also at times bitterness when we have to speak what He says even though it is not what we would prefer to say.
Today we are living in the end times and I think in the very last of the last days before the Messiah our Lord Jesus comes back. Israel has been reborn as a nation now for 76 years and the nation is God’s prophetic time clock for the Gentile nations. When you consider the spiritual darkness in the world and the spiritually backslidden state of western Christendom it mirrors the backslidden state of the Kingdom of Judah in the time of Jeremiah. The ‘modern Babylonians’ are Islam which is spreading its tentacles across the nations of the world with a global agenda to see an Islamic empire of global proportions with Jews and faithful Bible believers in their gun sights. Western Christendom is now infested with false prophets, dreamers and schemers fleecing the sheep of their hard earned dollars. The sins of Sodom are prevalent within Christendom as we see the ordination of homosexuals and lesbians and the sanctioning of same-sex marriage being the norm.
You have church worship services on par with discos and nightclubs and rock concerts with their mesmerising light shows and overly loud amplified music, with leading personalities playing the crowd and stage shows that are geared to entertain their audiences. There is no shortage of ‘feel good’ sermons and personal prophecies of one sort or another replacing the solid teaching of God’s Word in many churches. You have the faith prosperity kingdom now, kingdom dominion people plying their ‘wares’ upon gullible and undiscerning believers as they rake in the dollars into their own coffers.
Many congregations are gathering around them teachers to scratch itching ears that want to hear stories and visions and dreams to satiate their itching ears (2 Timothy 4:3-4). While visions and dreams have their place among the body of Messiah they can never replace the faithful exposition of the Word of God. It is only God’s Word ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit that can break the rock of human hearts that resist God and the salvation found only in the Lord Jesus (Jeremiah 23:28-30). While all of these things are going on the ‘Babylonians’ are closing in as we see the Islamic Trojan Horse well entrenched within the western democracies. The Continent of Europe, Great Britain, America, Australia and New Zealand all countries historically associated with Biblical Judeo-Christianity, are now neo-pagan. Islam is God’s judgement on a backslidden western Christendom!
Now when we read the Book of Lamentations in the midst of the judgements due to the spiritually backslidden state of God’s people, we also see that God has given us hope as we seek to remain faithful to Him and to His Word, for it is God who is at work in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. As we do all things without grumbling or disputing; we will prove for ourselves and to others in spiritual darkness to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom we all appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life” (Philippians 2:13-16).
Let’s look now at What God says in the Book of lamentations to His weary and worn prophet grieving over the sins of God’s people and I dare say grieving over his own propensity to sin if it were not prevented by the Spirit of God living in Him. The encouraging Word of the LORD that came to him comes to us today in this dark world that is getting darker by the minute.
Always remember that when the thick darkness blanketed all of Egypt and that saw despair and death in the houses and hearts of the Egyptians, God’s people had light and the hope of expectancy in their houses and in their hearts as they sheltered by faith under the Blood of the spotless lamb sacrificed for their sin, that justified them before God, and protected them from His wrath as it descended upon Egypt. At the hour of the deepest darkness they knew that their rescue was coming! Now let’s look at the Word of God and the hope we have as we see the dark days approaching that will be terminated by the Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus! In the lamentations as the prophet laments the backsliding tendencies of his own heart and the spiritual backsliding of God’s people the ray of God’s light breaks through the darkness to give light to Him and to all those who God loves and who have a heart for Him even when things are dark.
(Lamentations 3: 19-26) Exposition:
(Vs.19-21) “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:”
All of the men God has used have had a sense of their own inability to serve Him and have been painfully aware of their own sins and spiritual shortcomings, and that if it were not for the grace of God resting upon them they would not stand against the wicked and evil desires that were at war with their inner spirit man where God resided by His Spirit. Before God can use any man or woman in His service He will show them their spiritual wretchedness and spiritual frailty and that unless they lean completely on Him they will never succeed in what God has called and gifted them to say and to do for Him.
In hindsight the writer of Lamentations remembers his wanderings and Luke warmness of heart and the bitterness it produced in him when the Babylonian invasion came. Before God can use any of us we must first come to the point where we see our best and fairest efforts for God tainted with selfish ambition and often laced with pride if they are not done in the power of his Spirit. How many times have we wandered from the sheep fold of God or entertained thoughts and desires and even dallied with habits that have drawn us away from our sure security in our Triune God.
When the prophets were pronouncing God’s judgements they were all painfully aware of their own deficiency in spiritual matters, but also recognised the grace of God at work in them and the Spirit moving in them to declare boldly the Word of God that the fire of the Holy Spirit kindled in their spirit deep down on the inside of them, even though they knew that what they prophesied would for the most part be rejected but they went ahead anyway. Jeremiah declares; “For whenever I speak, I cry out; I proclaim violence and destruction. For the word of the LORD has become to me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, “I will not mention Him or speak any more in His name,” His message becomes a fire burning in my heart, shut up in my bones, and I become weary of holding it in, and I cannot prevail. For I have heard the whispering of many: “Terror is on every side! Report him; let us report him!” All my trusted friends watch for my fall: “Perhaps he will be deceived so that we may prevail against him and take our vengeance upon him” (Jeremiah 20:8-10).
Isaiah was used mightily by God and came to be known as the greatest evangelist of the entire Old Testament, yet before God used Him, Isaiah saw his own spiritual poverty and complete unworthiness to say or to do anything for God (Isaiah 6:1-7). He saw the LORD in all of his pure and glorious splendour, he then saw himself in all of his sinfulness and after repenting and receiving cleansing from a burning coal taken off of the altar he then he saw his task and in that order. Even though God told him that his message would by and large be rejected he was to announce God’s Word regardless (Isaiah 6:8-13).
Sometimes we have to face our past sins and failures, confess them to God without any excuses, and agree with what God says about them without any excuses for them, and then by faith look only to Him for the future with a willingness to say and to do only what He leads us to say and to do. It also needs to be said that once we have faced our past failures and confessed them to God He wipes the slate of our past sins clean by the blood of His Son and cleanses us by the blood, and then, having a clean heart, He then anoints us with the Holy Spirit for testimony and service according to His good acceptable and perfect will for our lives (Romans 12:1-2).
Those whom God uses often spend years being prepared by Him and God does a thorough spiritually refining work in them so that when they are used by Him they never forget where they were and what they would have become if it were not for the loving kindness and grace of God and His call and gifting for their assigned task working in their life. The author of lamentations as he reflects on his past wanderings of heart at times and that of his people, he becomes downcast in his soul. However, the blessed Spirit of God gets his weary and worn servant to take his eyes off of himself and to look to the LORD and to what He can do and will do.
By the Spirit of God, even in the face of past defeats he has hope in the LORD and calls to mind the perfect consistency of God’s unchanging promises that He can never annul. It may be you find yourself in this same situation that the writer of lamentations found himself and feel within yourself that you are too bad for God to use especially when you look at your past failures and sins and acts of disobedience. However, God has not finished with you. If there is a glimmer of hope that He might have mercy upon you, and if there is a desire to do His will and a desire to be made willing despite what has happened in the past, then there is certain and radiant future and hope for you. Call to mind then what God’s Word tells us about His character.
(Vs.22) “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.”
God judged Israel for their sins yet did not cast them away. In the Word of God we see that God’s covenant promises to them as His people will be fulfilled and that at the very end of this present age after a remnant have encountered the Messiah the nation will be completely restored spiritually and nationally. To this the prophets testify! In 1948 after almost 2,000 years of exile, Israel was reborn in a day (Isaiah 66:7-9). It was a miracle of God!
At present the nation of Israel are still to be spiritually restored and their national restoration is a partial restoration at present but in the Messianic Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah their national restoration will be complete! Why? Because of the LORD’s great love and because of His love Israel will never be destroyed or rejected by Him. At the very end of this age God is going to show mercy to His people who even now for the most part are still aliens and strangers to their own covenants of promise and estranged from the Messiah our Lord Jesus. However, this is going to change after the nation passes through the time of Jacob’s Trouble and are delivered out of it by the mercy and love of the LORD for His wife Israel. This remnant will have a personal encounter with the Messiah (Zechariah 12:10-13:1)
In that day the Messiah, in the line of King David, will reign over them as their rightful Monarch and as the King of the Jews! (Jeremiah 30:1-10). Even though God has disciplined His people because of their sin and waywardness and even because of their rejection of the Messiah, because of His great and eternal unchanging love He will never consume them. In fact He is going to completely restore Israel spiritually and nationally, not because of anything they have done to earn or to merit it, but for His own name’s sake and because of the blood covenant He made with Abraham, perpetuated by Moses and completely ratified in the New Covenant made with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah in the Messiah’s blood! (Ezekiel 36:22-38) (Jeremiah 31:31) (Matthew 26:28). Why? Because His compassions never fail!
His compassions speak of a deep stirring of the bowels or the churning of the stomach, a deep desire that brings forth a strong emotional response for someone who is in desperate need of succour in spirit, soul and body and who knows it. This was what moved the Messiah our Lord Jesus of whom we read; “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). God’s compassions never fail.
If you have been spiritually reborn and redeemed and washed by the Messiah’s blood and are yet conscious of your past sins and failures and feel deep down on the inside feel that God cannot use you then reflect on this great eternal truth that His compassions for you never fail. After all when a young sheep wanders from the sheep pen does not the compassionate shepherd leave the 99 in the sheep pen and goes out to even brave the elements if He has to in order to retrieve the one that has wandered away from the fold and when He finds it He lays it across his broad shoulders and with great joy carries it back into the sheep pen where there is great joy over the one who was lost but was found again (Luke 15:3-7). And then we read that God’s great love does not consume us and that His compassions are broad in their scope and minute in their details.
(Vs.23) “They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
God is not just faithful but is great in his unchanging faithfulness towards us even when we are passing through the dark night of the soul when Satan is harassing us with our past failures and sins and telling us that God has forsaken us and has passed us over. Here we are told that God’s great love, His compassions and His faithfulness never change towards us as His blood redeemed, blood sanctified, blood washed children who have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. God cares for us continually in ways that we are not always aware of and only in hindsight do we see where He was with us in a past crisis that at the time we thought would never go away. Even though dark and stormy clouds of life’s changing circumstances may block out the light of the sun for a season it still shines and its warmth continues and we know that in time the sun will shine once again when the dark cloud in our soul has been dispersed and the warmth is rekindled in our soul.
Indeed as it is written of the Messiah; ““For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace, when all the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble; the day is coming when I will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of Hosts. “Not a root or branch will be left to them.” “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and leap like calves from the stall. Then you will trample the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day I am preparing,” says the LORD of Hosts” (Malachi 4:1-3).
There is a poem titled Footprints in the Sand which many who are reading this article may well be familiar with. However, it reveals God’s great faithfulness. One night a man had a dream. “There was a man who dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, You said that once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed you most, you would leave me.” The Lord replied, “My son, My precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I Carried You.”
Reflecting on this poem it reminds us of the psalmist who wrote; “The Lord is the strength of His people, a fortress of salvation for His anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them for ever” (Psalm 28:8-9). And again it is written in the prophet Isaiah; “He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40:11). In light of these great spiritual truths concerning the Good Shepherd we can say with confidence…
(Vs.24) “I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”
It is written in the Psalms; “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5). If we would increase in our faith in our Triune God then we must wait upon Him. It does not mean we do nothing of course. What does a waiter do in a restaurant? He waits on the customer and serves the customer. Waiting on the LORD is not sitting around but actively serving Him. We need to keep praying, reading his Word and offering Him praise and thankfulness for His blessings even though we may not see them in our lives or we are waiting yet to see them come to fruition. Waiting on the LORD and reading His Word will enlarge our capacity for faith to increase and become stronger. As we read; “faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). This “hearing” is not something we just hear with our physical ears but with the ears of our heart being enlightened. Just hearing the truth will not change us until it becomes an inner spiritual revelation deep down on the inside. God’s Word can do this when it is sown into the soil of our heart by the Spirit of God.
His Word has the capacity to separate in us that which is spiritual in nature from that which is fleshly in nature. As it is written; “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight; everything is uncovered and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
As we wait on the LORD by faith with a thankful disposition it will increase our expectancy in seeing Him act on our behalf. As we pray without ceasing in the Holy Spirit, read His Word and I might add even take communion every day and openly confess with our mouth His promises as we wait with expectant faith, He will act according to his perfect will and timing. God is never early but He is never late but always on time! Why? Because He wants us to know how great His faithfulness is, His loving kindness and mercy and that these mercies from Him are new every morning and that without fail! God is always pleased with faith and rewards it (Hebrews 11:6). If He sees a small sparrow when it falls to the ground and if He knows the number of hairs on our head, then He most certainly knows every detail of our lives (Psalm 139). And then we read…
(Vs.25-26) “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
Salvation in the Word of God is not only a word that describes our deliverance from the power and penalty of sin and our restoration back into a right relationship with God through the Messiah His one and only begotten eternal Son, but also refers to physical deliverance from situations that we may find ourselves in when faced with trials and tests of every kind or circumstances that are out of our control. God is good to those who hope in Him while waiting on Him by expectant faith and seek Him. Sometimes this waiting on God is not boisterous and loud but a quiet and steady confidence that God still has everything under control even when it does not look like He does in the natural. He is always at work!
As Rabbi the apostle Paul writes; “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Not everything that happens to us in this life is from the LORD. Sometimes we make wrong decisions, sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances that we have brought upon ourselves, and at other times some will cause us to be in circumstances that are none of our doing and beyond our control, sometimes Satan will set up circumstances to trip us up spiritually and even use others to do this. However, in all these things God works the dark and coloured threads of life’s experiences into the tapestry of our lives. He sees the end result. He already sees the finished result of His spiritual creative artistry, a design He planned from all of eternity, our days being recorded in His book even before they came to be (Psalm 139:16).
Waiting quietly before the LORD and continually seeking to obey His Word and to please Him in what we say and do as we walk by faith in His promises will increase that peace of God which transcends all human understanding. As it is written; “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Quietness of spirit will in the end facilitate confidence in the salvation and providence of our Triune God. As it has been said; “He is silently planning for you in love!”
While writing and reflecting upon his lamentations Jeremiah the prophet sees that in the midst of the darkness of despair and seeming hopelessness there is a God who gives him hope for a future spiritual and national restoration of His fellow Jews, not because they have earned or merited it, but because of His great love Israel is not consumed because His compassions never fail and He will always outsmart the devil every time who is always hell bent of destroying the people God has redeemed with the blood of His Son, the Messiah our Lord Jesus.
Jeremiah also reminds himself that the mercy, the lovingkindness and the faithfulness of God are mercies from God that are new every morning and greatly comprehensive in their scope. In these great truths Jeremiah exclaims that God is His portion in this world and for the world to come. God is also our portion in this world as His blood-redeemed, blood-sanctified, blood-washed children, and no matter what happens, He has said I will never leave you or forsake you even unto the end of the age! God then is a faithful God who remembers His covenants to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob being Israel and the Body of Messiah spiritually grafted into God’s Olive Tree Israel!
As Moses writes in the Torah; “There is none like the God of Israel, who rides the heavens to your aid, and the clouds in His majesty. The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He drives out the enemy before you, giving the command, ‘Destroy him!’ So Israel dwells securely; the fountain of Jacob lives untroubled in a land of grain and new wine, where even the heavens drip with dew” (Deuteronomy 33:27). Whether it is the blessings of God’s great lovingkindness, His compassions, His faithfulness towards us as His children, they are His mercies showered upon us and they are new every morning. Selah.