Lamentations 3:21-26 – 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 have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who look to Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote these divinely inspired words while surveying the devastation of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonian army. Jeremiah had repeatedly prophesied God’s promise to enact judgment via the Babylonians against His stubbornly sinful people, Israel, unless they repented. Now God had finally carried out those warnings, and it was an awful thing to behold.
Yet in the midst of the carnage and utter destruction which Jeremiah describes (read the rest of Lamentations!), and through which he had suffered right along with the rebellious nation, he declares God’s steadfast lovingkindness and mercy. God was, in those terrible circumstances, at once unleashing due consequences upon the wicked, and acting in covenant lovingkindness and mercy toward His faithful ones. Jeremiah knew that for as severe as God’s judgment had been, it was still far, far less than what was deserved. Further, he proclaims that, toward those souls “who look to Him, who seek Him, who wait upon Him” in faith for “the salvation of the Lord,” God’s dealings are not judgment at all, no matter what their circumstances, but “unceasing steadfast love and unending mercies, every single day”!
Even as all the injustice experienced by Joseph (cf. Genesis 37-50), and all the suffering heaped upon Job (cf. Job 1-2), were not the outpouring divine judgment against sin, but the purposeful outworking of God’s favor toward them, albeit through temporary afflictions, so with Jeremiah and the faithful remnant in Lamentations. And so with you and me and all who “wait for the salvation of the Lord” through faith in Jesus Christ!
The hymnist, William Cowper, beautifully expressed the mystery of God’s steadfast favor to His beloved children even as He leads them through “fiery trials” (1Peter 4:12):
God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines, of never-failing skill;
He fashions up His bright designs, and works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints fresh courage take, the clouds that you much dread,
are big with mercy and will break in blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace;
behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour;
the bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.
How about “storing up this Word in your heart” (Psalm 119:11) by memorizing Lamentations 3:22-23 today.