The Bible is full of individuals who stand up and declare the word of the Lord in the face of public and political opposition. People like Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, and more – these face threats, persecutions, and ridicule for delivering a message that the people do not necessarily wish to hear. Among these great messengers is a man named Jeremiah, commonly known as the weeping prophet for the bitterness of his message to the prophet.
In Lamentation 1, we see Jeremiah writing a song of mourning, told from the perspective of the city as it is being besieged. He calls the city a widow. He writes of Jerusalem’s enemies mocking the city and taking joy in her demise. Jerusalem mourns her lost children. Then, in chapter 3, the prophet begins to insert his own voice, bemoaning the tragedies he is forced to witness. It is a book of sorrow and pain over the destruction of God’s holy city.
A Glimmer of Hope
In the midst of this, in Jeremiah 3:21-25, the prophet remembers hope:
But this I call to mind,and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.
The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
In the middle of sorrow and despair, Jeremiah remembers God’s mercy and the renewal available in Him. He remembers hope in God’s faithfulness. All of us face failure in our lives. We face difficulties, sorrow, and ridicule. Like Jeremiah, we can remember the portion we have in Jehovah.
Hope in God’s Faithfulness, Mercy, and Renewal
Jeremiah calls God’s mercies unending. Psalm 136 repeats again and again that God’s steadfast love endures forever. His mercies, His compassion, His love is faithful and enduring. In Luke 1:76-79, Zechariah praises God for the endurance of His tender mercies, and Romans 15:1-9 exults God for His mercy and calls the Lord a God of hope, of endurance, and of comfort. Ephesians 1:1-7 says God makes us alive in Christ because of His mercy and love. We know the God’s mercy does not fail, and we can trust in those mercies to deliver us.
Jeremiah also speaks of having hope in his God. In Psalm 130 calls on God’s people to hope in Him, in His love and His mercies. Psalm 31:24 and Psalm 38:15 both express hope in God’s deliverance and His mercy. I Thessalonians 5, Paul contrasts hope with hopelessness, and he writes that we should wear hope of salvation like a helmet in verse 8. Romans 8:24 simply states that our salvation is based upon hope, and Paul goes on to make the case that hope sustains us in the face of every trial this world can throw at us. Finally, Hebrews 6:17-20 speaks of our hope anchoring our souls. In the middle of this world’s tragedies and difficulties, this is the hope we can have.
We hope for renewal in God, and II Corinthians 5:17 calls those who live in Christ new creatures. Chapter 4:16-18 of the same book tells us we look away from our former physical concerns to spiritual hopes. We are renewed in the image of our Creator and Savior, and Romans 6 tells us we raise to walk in newness of life after our conversion to Christ. Ephesians 4:17-24 calls on us to clothe ourselves in newness and renewal, discarding our former selves and replacing that with a new creation. We all want a fresh start, and God promises we can be renewed in Christ when we sacrifice self and allow Him to transform our lives.
We can hope these things because God is faithful, and, if He is faithful to us, we should be as faithful to Him. I Corinthians 1:9 begins a very difficult letter with the assurance that God is indeed faithful. Hebrews 10:22-23 calls on us to hold onto our hope in a faithful God, and I John 1:9 assures us God’s forgiveness is faithful. If we place our hope in Him, if we trust His mercy, if we are faithful – then we can trust His faithfulness to us.
Jeremiah 3:21-25 stands as a testament of faith in a faithful God. God is good to the soul that seeks Him and waits on Him. Our renewal is found in Him alone, and our responsibility then is to seek Him and come to Him on His terms. He is available to us. The Jerusalem of Jeremiah’s time never turns to embrace God’s mercy and deliverance. They fall into captivity because of their slavery to sin. We, however, do not have to share that fate. We can take hold of the hope we have in God. We can trust His mercies and find renewal in Him. He can be our hope if we faithfully trust in Him.
lesson by Tim Smelser