Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Pray, He is Faithful

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

I have been reading the Old Testament Prophets for the last several months. I have found myself particularly drawn to Jeremiah’s lament - Lamentations. I can’t think of another book that takes a reader from despair to hope so seamlessly. Despair came at the hand of the cruel Babylonians as its army crushed Jerusalem [chapter 2]. Hope came through the great affirmation of God’s enduring faithfulness to His people [3:22-23]. 

At first glance, one might think that God did not hear Jeremiah’s lament because it seems so negative. For anyone who comes to that conclusion, I’d ask you to read it again. There is hope because God keeps His covenant with His people.

Lamentations closes with a prayer, and right off we see that Jeremiah believed the relationship between God and Judah remained, even though it was severely strained by the sins of the people. And think about it for a moment, if the possibility of reconciliation were not possible, what’s the point of his prayer? God’s covenant relationship was strained, certainly. Snuffed out, NEVER!

That is the point of the prayer’s conclusion. “Bring us back…unless You have rejected us” [5:21-22]. Jeremiah’s prayer hinged on one little word, unless. It’s not a condition as some might think. It really points to God’s faithfulness. Jeremiah was profoundly aware of the blessing to Abraham’s seed forever [Genesis 12:1-3]. Now, he’s talking with God about it. “You’re not going back on Your word, are You? You haven’t forgotten Your promise, have You? You’re not willing to abandon us now, so unless You’ve reneged on Your promise, bring us back!” 

Prayer is a vital sign that our relationship with God is secure. When we call out to God, praying with sincerity, acknowledging our sins, resting in His mercy, it demonstrates we are in His hand. It is hopeful. We are not defined by our past or present sins but have “bright hope for tomorrow.” Yes, it’s confidence that the best is yet to come. 

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

Great is thy faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me

LORD, restore us to Yourself, so we may return; renew our days as in former times, unless You have completely rejected us and are intensely angry with us. Lamentations 5:21-22

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