Rev Dr Malcolm Tan, 14 June 2020
Sermon Notes by Anita Fam
The video recording of the sermon can be seen here.
Lamentations 3: 17-26
v. 21-26 is the apex of the book of Lamentations. Verses 17-20 gives us the preliminary background for the apex.
See v. 17-20
⁃ The background is a life of lamentation.
⁃ The prophet/lamenter starts by saying that he cannot recall the good times anymore.
⁃ He describes a life of setbacks and disappointments where his hopes have been dashed.
⁃ See v. 19-20. He doesn’t have a happy life. He has a life of bitterness and affliction.
⁃ See v. 20. Very often our souls are cast down because of the experiences which we have gone through.
See v. 21-26 reveals a process of reasoning.
⁃ See v. 21-22. A realization of the prophet where he realises that he is still alive even having gone through so much. It was because of the love of God.
The prophet sees three great attributes of God’s great love:
⁃ His loving kindness in His merciful action towards him. Though life many be terrible, God still doesn’t stop loving us.
⁃ His mercy and compassion. He is kind to us even though we don’t deserve it. It is all because of God’s generosity towards us.
⁃ His covenant faithfulness to us. He will be true to us even when we are not true to Him.
The fact that the prophet was not consumed in spite of his actions was a powerful testimony to him.
The prophet came to the conclusion in v. 24 that the Lord is His portion.
⁃ See Numbers 18:20. God gave the Levites (the children of Aaron) Himself. They received no portion in the land.
⁃ The Lord is the treasure of the prophet’s life.
⁃ Sometimes we go through the bitterness of life to discover that God is the most important treasure in our lives. This is an important life commitment - that the Lord will be our portion.
See v. 25 for the comparison made with v. 18.
⁃ The Lord is good to those whose hope is in God and not in the things which we had hoped for from Him.
⁃ The Lord is our hope. Our hope is in Him.
See v. 26
⁃ Hope is always for a better tomorrow.
⁃ See Psalm 37:7. The psalmist was caught in a situation where his enemies were too great for him but he could still wait for the Lord. He could still be still before the Lord and he could wait patiently for the Lord’s intervention. We are not to be upset when evil doers do wrong to us.
⁃ The background to Lamentations was that Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonians. See Lamentations 3:7. There was hardship experienced. The only recourse that the prophet had was to wait quietly for the Lord’s salvation.
⁃ We need to wait quietly for God’s help.
See v. 22-23
⁃ The love and grace of God is new every morning.
⁃ Everyday is a new opportunity to experience God’s grace in a fresh new way.
In the 1980s, Robert Schuller wrote the book Tough Times Never Last but Tough People Do.
⁃ He echoed this message.
⁃ See Psalm 30:5. Tough people survive because of the grace of God.
Today is an anticipation for the days ahead. This is a message of hope.
See Lamentations 3: 19, 21, 23 and 29 where “hope” is mentioned many times.
⁃ This is a passage of hope amidst a book of crying and lamentation.
⁃ Our hope is in the Lord Himself, not in other people or circumstances.
⁃ Our hope is in the salvation of the Lord. We should wait on Him and for Him.
⁃ Our hope is in the future which God alone can bring to and for us.
In these days, we are caught in a bind. Do we continue to self-impoverish ourselves through self-distancing or do we rush back to the marketplace?
⁃ We need to be resilient. We also need to have the courage to try new things but yet have the wisdom to seek God through it all.
⁃ We have the biblical message which is over and above resilience, courage and wisdom.
The biblical message is:
⁃ Our hope is in the Lord Himself. We must not take our eyes off Jesus.
⁃ Our Hope is in the intervention, help and salvation of the Lord.
⁃ Our hope is in the future that God alone can bring to us.
⁃ See Psalm 30:5 “... weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”