Old Testament: Lamentations 3:1-66
Lamentations 3:1-66 The Core Of The Issue
Chapter 3 The core of this little book is in the chapter. The middle is the middle. Verses 22-23 have been some of the most comforting of any in the Bible to saints throughout the ages. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to end, great is thy faithfulness.” Someone even wrote a really cool hymn based on verse 23.
Wiersbe mentions a famous portrait of Jeremiah while the city of Jerusalem was burning. Here it is:
Andrew Murray said, “God is responsible for the life that is completely committed to Him.” This maxim has sustained me many times in the ministry. It sums up this chapter.
I am not writing on the Psalms in this blog but I have noticed studying the psalms that often when the writer is lamenting, he beings with his complaints and whines but always ends up lauding the Lord by the time he is finished. Billy Graham said he liked reading the psalms because no matter how poorly he was doing, the psalmist seemed to be doing worse. That is true of this chapter.
Notice that Jeremiah begins with some very heavy complaints (vv. 1-20) but ends up praising the Lord by the end of the chapter (vv. 21-66).
New Testament: Hebrews 1:1-14
Hebrews 1:1-14 Getting The Right Angle
Some one long ago told me Hebrews was a very difficult book. I wish they hadn’t! I memorized a number of verses from Hebrews and understood them quite well early on! What that person meant was that there were a lot of Old Testament references and the more we know about the Old Testament, the more we would understand Hebrews. However, the author writes all the OT Scriptures for us so we don’t have to look them up.
There has been quite a bit of controversy over the purpose of the book which can be dispelled somewhat easily. First of all, it’s written to the Hebrews so that clears up a lot right there. Secondly, I never thought Paul wrote it. Having memorized a lot of verses when I was a young Christian, I never understood how anyone could think the same person who wrote all the Pauline epistles could have written this book. The style is quite a bit different. If you want to think that Paul wrote it, that’s fine. I don’t think it matters a great deal.
Once we’ve established that the author, whoever he is, wrote to Hebrew Christians, we have established pretty much what the writer was doing. He was encouraging them in the midst of persecution and so was trying to keep them from defecting from the faith. I am assuming “once saved, always saved” since it does not seem possible that someone could trust the Lord and He saves them and then they can do something to lose their salvation. If we didn’t do any works to earn our salvation, how could WE do anything to lose it? Eternal life would be an oxymoron! However, we can become so discouraged or confused that we do not progress in our Christian lives or in our sanctification. That all said, let’s plunge in!
The Bible is an amazing book! There has been some great literature over the years but I don’t know how the Bible could be topped. The Bible has history, poetry, prophecy, more history, letters, and more prophecies (v. 1)! It’s all so simple and so intricate. Though written by many authors, it’s written by One Author. It can be studied for more than a lifetime. What is the theme? What was everyone writing about? In a word, Christ. In several words, it is God’s message to us on how we can have a relationship with Him. God tells us that rebellion against Him leads to death and a relationship with Him, through Jesus, leads to life. The death and life that I reference are both temporal and eternal. If we enter into a relationship with Him in time, it continues throughout eternity. If we continue to rebel, we will be separated from Him eternally.
Christ is the center of everything (v. 2, cf. Col. 1:15-20). Christ is the manifestation of Yahweh but in the flesh, what we call the “incarnation” (v. 3a). He was the sacrifice which provided the purification of sins” (v. 3b).
The author launches into a dissertation on how Christ is superior to any of the angels. Christ was often called “the Angel of the Lord” in the Old Testament (cf. Gen. 16:7, 9, 10-11; 22: 11, 15; Exod. 3:2; Num. 22:22). I believe He several times showed up in Old Testament times. There is a particular grammatical construction in the Hebrew that differentiates these references to Christ from any other angels or even when a regular angel is called “an angel of the Lord.” These appearances of Christ are technically called “theophanies” or “Christophanes.” Here are some examples: Genesis 16:7-14; Genesis 22:11-18; Judg. 5:23; and 2 Kings 19:35. You may disagree but I think they are Old Testament appearances of Jesus. The point of the writer in this chapter, according to verse 4, is that Christ is greater than any angel.
He quotes Psalms 2:7, 2 Sam. 7:14, 1 Chron. 17:13, Deut. 32:43 (Septuagint, Paul’s Greek translation, see NIV note), Pss. 104:4, 45:6-7, 102:2-27,and 110:1 to make his point.
Angels are only “ministering spirits” sent to aid the saints, believers (cf. 1 Cor. 1:2) in their Christian lives.
Psalm 102:1-28 A New Wardrobe A Lament By Anonymous
Proverbs 26:21-22 Wood I?
I think we just covered this but OK. These verses add a nuance though.
There are some people that really like to stir up other people. You might be surprised but did you know Scripture commends that kind of behavior. Look at this Scripture:
” . . . let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Heb. 10:24-25 ESV RSV
Context. Context. Context. Context can be everything, can’t it (remember Proverbs 26:4-5)? Hebrews is about provoking, encouraging, and exhorting each other in a fellowship to doing good and loving each other. It is completely different than Proverbs 26:21-22.
Proverbs is about stirring up people to cause trouble and strife (v. 21). Verse 22 is not about people whispering good things about others. It is the sick psychological phenomenon of putting others down to elevate yourself and feel better about yourself (cf. Jer. 17:9).
But you wouldn’t do anything like that, would you?
Choose Life: Scripture: Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB “Daily Subscription”
“The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Do you ever feel like you are suffering and God is looking the other way? Have you felt like you pray but the heavens are like brass? Do you feel like God is like a bear or a lion waiting to pounce on you? Jeremiah felt that way (cf. Lam. 3:10)?
In the third chapter of Lamentations, Jeremiah poured out his heart to God (cf. Ps. 62:8). Though he loved Jerusalem and all its inhabitants, God had the city burnt down to the ground. He had warned them for years but they didn’t listen.
After whining and complaining for quite a while (read Lam. 3), he was able to encourage himself with the thought that God is faithful and a good God. (Satan’s attacks are always in some form of trying to convince us that God is not good!) Yahweh’s “lovingkindness” is hesed which is literally God’s covenantal love. He is bound to be loving because He is in a covenant with us. Further, it is part of His nature, Who He is. In the New Testament we would speak of agape which is God’s self-sacrificial love.
Since God is love (cf. 1 John 4:8, 16). He cannot deny Himself. No matter what happens to us, God is with us (cf. Matt. 28:20). In fact, Christ is Emmanuel which means “God with us” (cf. Matt. 1:23). He is always compassionate, “His compassions never fail.”
God has something new for us every day. He renews his love for us every day and every morning.
His faithfulness is wonderful and unfailing.
Next time you feel like God has abandoned you, ask yourself if you are going to trust your feelings or God’s Word?
When you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Did you ever observe that when you get depressed or angry that you are usually not conforming to what you know in God’s Word? Here’s how we should respond to the Bible:
The facts of the Bible come first, we have faith in those facts, and then our feelings follow. If you’re down today, check to see if you following the Biblical pattern or if you’re leading with your emotions.
If you are leading with your emotions, look for a Bible verse that meets your needs. You can check the concordance in your Bible, use Bible software, or buy a Promise Book. Go to christianbook.com or Amazon and do a search for one. They even have some good ones on the rack of Christian books at the local CVS!
Don’t let your feelings get in front of the facts of the Scripture! Have you ever seen a train that has the caboose in the front?
The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: Getting The Right Angle