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November 21, 2020 1:36 pm
You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye. Is there something here for me. I mean it's just words printed on paper right well it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than Inc. join us for the next half hour, as we explore God's word together as we learn how to explore it on our own. As we ask God to meet us there in its pages welcome to more than Inc. but the weather has changed to boys winners shamans white stuff here in the Brigham city is coming down so but this is nice I just I just love I tell people what time you know what is grown up with snow. When I see the first snow coming down the fall. That meant playtime and I'm not a skier but still every time I see snow like I get playful is what it is anyway. Today we are we are just a few days before Thanksgiving I and our broadcast schedule here and we thought it would be a good deal to actually talk about Thanksgiving is five days away so you give Jeff a little while to sort of think about it and but it can be difficult for a lot of people and things living right.
I don't know where you're going to because I have just spent a couple of weeks just deeply thinking about this passage that we do address today, yes and gain some fresh thoughts. You know, every year, kinda brings around a different set of expectations regarding holidays and and families and all of that and I had never really paid attention before today that the rest of this Lamentations 3 passage pertaining to our expectations and so when we get going and talk about that I'm whittling into that little bit. Yes, all you really rely on your recent studies because 20/20 is the year that hasn't blown our expectation off the planet right we just have encountered so many things this year that we did not expect right then and what you think might be caused and not be thankful right but will talk about the fact that in the midst of probably the worst of circumstances, and the worst you can indeed be genuinely thankful. Not just because mom or dad said what you need to be thankful for that note would actually be genuinely thankful. Even though everything looks like it's going south right and it has to do with the discipline of the mind right that writer of Lamentations has been this. I remember this I will call to mind that will turn my attention consciously and deliberately.
This direction yet so let's set the context we are going to going to Lamentations, because when were thinking about this program.
What's the what's the most down as part of the entire world. This might be the most down or such.
I mean just emotionally information is reminisce this it's it's horrible.
So let's set the context okay is it can't be your first experience right now cannot be worse than what was going on okay and it's really important for us to remember because this book was written shortly after Jerusalem had been put under siege by the Babylonians and city of Jerusalem was reduced to ruins in 586 greatest seeds you know mom is reading the room okay so Lamentations the book of Lamentations is filled with horrific terrifying images and if this calibrates us when we go back and realize you got these things were written by an eyewitness to that two years siege in the people inside the city were literally starving to death and they were as recorded couple of places and limitations they were eating children to starvation.
Now that's another story for another day. But it's really important that we understand that is the context in which Lamentations was written and traditionally we understand as written by Jeremiah that his name is not on the book but there's some good evidences for that cell and keep in mind to. If you don't mind. It is Jeremiah's not bullfrog. Jeremiah was a prophet. You know in Israel, about five centuries to the southern kingdom of Judah and of its and not being really good in terms of relationship with God so God tried to warn the fact that if there if they don't change then his gift to them of the land you live in actually, you have soft sold that patient and that the southern kingdom of Judah was had been profoundly wicked for for 500 years after that point there had been good kings that had popped up. But since the time of Solomon. They had been engaging in ridiculous terrifying forms of idolatry, many of which involved the sacrifice of your children, your family just so I don't know when we connect that to the judgment of God falling in the nation, and they wind up literally eating their children. They had been doing spiritually for generations and so God in this judgment has allowed that to become a reality for them to linger on that by just we just need to how circumstances where the city had been leveled buildings had burned the temple had been destroyed and the people either killed outright or taken off into into captivity in Babylon.
So this book is full of what we call love a man that sad profoundly sad song when something or someone died and it's is important to person for Jeremiah's perspective because God called Jeremiah early on these narratives, Israel is going south, God called Jeremiah to talk to these people and to warn them and say, look, you gotta change your ways. Now can't God was clear Jeremiah early on to call them to warn them. He said you know and I can listen to, but even still need to warn the rights, so now this guy who's been warning them for decades, is the guy who's now standing in the streets of this broken interest Jerusalem raping and pillaging in the entire and he's any seeing what's happening new this is going to happen. And so, what's his personal reaction to what he's finding is happening in terms of this destruction just come about because because the nation has been so in God's face and took in the rebellion against him. And here it is. Now he sees no smoking houses, dead bodies, everything is the worst about that kind of captivity and it happened and now he pins Lamentations well and that the first part of chapter 3 is the first 18 verses is kind of his personal rumination on all of that ruin is familiar with the part that says you know all your loving kindness is indeed never sees her compassions are new every morning.
We all know that but we don't know the context and so this would been spending so much time on doing okay. So, what we know and understand to about biblical lament is there. There is a form to it, you start with pouring out everything that's wretched rotten horrible everything that's hurting, and naming the condition really specifically saying this is wrong. This is horrible and I feel like dirt. And then there's a point in the lament where there's a conscious turning that that kind of a but God moment corner turns and many elements then stop at that point, but this one Lamentations 3 then goes on to 1/3 section where the writer applies the but God truths and so that's kind of where were going to linger today with the part that says but God this I recall to mind. Therefore, certain things are true right so let's go let's go you want to start somewhere. Lamentations 3 and what percent do you start in verse 17 3G data make a couple of comments here after all of this recitation of the horribleness of his situation. The writer says Mike's soul has been rejected from peace and I have forgotten the translation says happiness, but the Hebrew word there is good I have forgotten what good is. Things have been so horrible for so long so I say, my strength, my endurance has perished in cell has my hope from the Lord bleak yet so he's feeling utterly hopeless, but it's important to note that this word hope that happens here is not the same word for hope that shows up later in the passage. This help is is a word that's only half a dozen times in the Scriptures, and it's used in other places, to denote a false hope or hope that is not necessarily based in God so he saying you don't mind pushes my expectations were this and I didn't expect that exactly right. So does that describe 2020.
You know when your expectations come up so short run reality and I and it's passing to Jeremiah news is going to happen, but I think we finally saw with his eyes right then and what little hope you know self generated hope you just, went out the window. Select man it's worse than I thought got in the depths of the emotion of this passage is on the state. My strength has perished him, and he's done with the least in terms of his own personal resources. He's done when he goes on to say remember my affliction and my wandering the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul is remembering how down within me. So that's the summation of the first part of the chapter. He's his soul is dwelling in the horrific circumstances he saying leaving me hopeless. I can't even remember what good is or what it feels like to experience good and my soul is bowed down when I dwell in that. So does that does that describe your experience right now for many people it.is absolutely.set I and I you know we just outside of the politics of 20/20 virus thing everything and a lot of people at this phase of 2020 or seen you know what I'm just out to get their bit emotional loss economic loss social loss you know how long is it been since you were actually in a group of people where you could hug them right right so so so when he says in three Olympus through something I forgot what happiness is this forgotten what good is a lot of us get to the stage in a single man I forgot what it was like and I and its parts. My personal resources go on.
I guess I'm just a guess. And so when you mention will it celebrate Thanksgiving this year. Well, for one thing, where we live. We are under a state mandate not to gather with anybody's outside our old Thanksgiving is a little different philosophy, but I think for the cynics amongst us are saying what's there to be thankful for right and so the so this is really this is pretty close and I think that's a that's a very honest question. What do I really have to be thankful for squid saying let's have Thanksgiving and forget about the world this day and that's really not the issue. The issue is, is there something deeper. Is there something a bigger picture that's worth being thankful for when the circumstances look really so unilaterally bad, is there is there more for me to be looking at them. Just, you know, 10 yards away from me in my circumstance in life and if there is, is it because to be thankful. But like you said before, that's gonna take him to take a discipline of thinking moment. I mean your your eyes are overwhelmed with negative messages, perhaps, but what we counter when her eyes were full of negative messages.
He goes on tonsils.
Well he says in verse 21. This I recall to my therefore I have hope they're right. He has been mentally dwelling in everything that has been foul and horrible real says, but not absolutely real but circumstantial and so he says now I'm going to turn my mind another direction.
And that's going to yield hope hope that is that confident patient waiting on God.
This is a different word for hope than the one he had used a few verses before that was installing it solid and whereas previously it was just a circumstantial expectation does now I have a real hope. Here's the but God moment the Lord's loving kindness is indeed never cease for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul.
Therefore, I have hope in him. The Lord is good to those who wait for him to the person who seeks him. It's good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord is good for man that he should bear the yoke in his youth to first put this on the table right right here after his first rights, but after this, but God moment when he suddenly turned his attention to God's covenant devotion to his people, then suddenly he's redefining what is good member. He had said before, he's getting a bigger picture for you right I have forgotten what's good, but now says oh but this is good this is good this is good and he is reorienting his help, not in his circumstances, but fixing it on God's will. And he's not. He's not looking to circumstances and saying well it's okay because now the circumstances toasting.
This is in the full presence of the terrifying circumstance exactly, but what he's saying is that I'm missing part of the picture.
So let's lean into what he is remembering is consciously fixing his attention now to commemorate something about God and after dozen 21 so this I recall my mind and therefore I have real hope will were you recalling your mind you, not you, not trying to actually talk yourself into the fact that your circumstances just aren't that bad, right, which is what I hate when someone you tell someone you know I had a bad day and then look at you and series yeah I cut Christian jerkiness. Yeah, I know this is important to jump over the grief should be joyful, so let's give thanks typewritten Lamentations validates all of the authenticity of the grief yeah and yeah so in fact what we do instead we should be doing is to Jeremiah just his weight thinking stop for a second stopping overwhelmed about my I see him remember the bigger truth that has not changed and what is that truth, without truth is that the Lord's loving kindness is never cease like that line because the that were loving kindness is not a close match to reviews for hardly think you probably look this up. When I did years ago. This is said said his I tell people who are more familiar with New Testament beloved words what I want to copy this is likely a copy of the Old Testament. This said, is a is a is a demonstrated kind of as a determination affected comes from the root of this word to mean zeal and zeal is like this unstoppable termination will in a real sense, this is God's unstoppable determination to bring good in our life. That's what this thing is you get more on that were now I know I'm not on that a particular just thinking that word that I like to use the status is total devotion devotion to great God is absolutely fixed on doing good for you as I like devotion because it tells the determination of the will and that's exactly what this is so even though everything is falling apart. Jeremiah's world, he says, but God still has this fixed determination that will not be stopped. He is devoted to his people know what I was thinking of is is he files I was saying. It never ceases and interesting work that music never strays never wonders never vacillates he's got his eyes fixed on his people doesn't change with either devotion as I recall to that word sometime gets gets used for a like. If you have a water jar in your point out of it and it goes empty. This is this is the idea that you know you haven't come to the end of your water jar. That's the second part of what he said. His faithfulness never fails that word fails me and it's never poured out completely, never used, not never gets finished. Never is complete. Nothing left, right, and that's really important because they have just experienced this incredible judgment of God, and it looks like his patients was used up well and I like these two words to because instead of saying that God doesn't say the guy just determined it says that in a symbolic kind way he has this big reservoir of determination and I'm sorry you have a great last drop in and it tells me to the God pre-pre-determined to fill that reservoir with love and good towards his RME and this is something that the put their ahead of time and I'm sorry you have not drained it doesn't have a whole and it has run dry.
Got God's determination before hand to bring good in your life has not run dry. And so, so that tells me more about not just his determination to love and to bring good out of his predetermination to bring love good you have not come to the end of that reservoir that reservoir still full and then he cries out. Oh, this compassions never fail their new every morning on what is that my gosh you know everyone is pretty obvious that the one thing that has never failed to happen since the beginning of creation is the day always arrives unite the sun clears the horizon every morning and is funny because when I said this this week to our daughters who live in Fairbanks they can look at each other with a funny look. Is there almost approaching the days when there is clear where they live you if it's only partially in perfume it is to live in the sun is going to fit the planet has continued to turn right orbit has not changed every morning. God's faithfulness is poured out. We have daylight so his his love toward us is as predictable as the rising of the sun also speaks of the fact that it's maybe sort of adapted to today like it wasn't adapted to yesterday afternoon everyone refashioned I mean is that it'll definitely be there but is refreshed different to last. It is refreshing today so is not an old is not an old compassion. It's compassion it's meant for this morning for sure.
He adapts that way ever ghostwrite steel. In that sense you well. This word faithfulness is related to truth actually in the original language and so that this is a true truth right God renews every morning his promise to his intention to be good to us today and I seem to recall. Maybe you can look at this Marie Schlesinger call this word faithful has this kind of root idea being firm foundation on days she stayed in sync on it like quicksand. It's it's from.
So we still say that, don't we sleep on it because tomorrow is another day.
Tomorrow is another day just it's just kind of worked its way into artwork created to understand tomorrow's another day.
If we forget that we were going be done in the night wealth right you continue with the metaphor about the sun going down at night you signed was that at night thinking things are so bad the sums going down you know I'm enough to send and God says right here or able things may look really dark today but my compassions will be back tomorrow for you every morning as we start the next day. I have not decided to withdraw my love for you and we have that kind of truism it says the darkest hours just before the dawn right do we understand that no matter how much darkness it seems like were in. Are we looking with that expectation that God will bring the dawn right. That is a huge theological idea… He's built into creation that the physical earthly Don happens every morning, but there will become a new day in all of eternal reality, the son of God is shown to be who he is and creation is remade. We have this eternal hope that extends so far beyond what's happening this week. You know makes me think to Corrie 10 boom, you know, if you don't know Corrie 10 boom today.
She passed away decades ago, but she was involved with the World War II is sheltering Jews and stuff but she was.
She wrote some grace. I remember her in her biography talking to her sister there, both in this concentration camp.
By the way they were not Jews themselves. They were Christians who helped Jews, but he would always say to his sister would always say to her saying you know basically what things look really bad in a concentration camp MAR but she would say the best is yet to be and so she would constantly take Corian and do this should remember, look, this is not the end of everything. They're the best is yet to be and so that's what Jeremiah is doing right here. The best is yet to be in tomorrow another deal come up in God's loving kindness and compassion have not failed.
They are as firm as they ever have been, even though things look pretty bleak well and he goes on in the passage say in verse 24 the Lord is my portion, says my soul. Therefore, I have hope in him now just a little study to appear whenever you run across the Lord and it's all in capital letters L ORD that is the proper name of God. That's that's the way English editors have agreed to say. Well this word is Yahweh. This is God's personal name and that he revealed a nice version okay right. That was the one revealed to Moses when he said I am that I am so their writing process. I am remembering this the high a.m. the eternal one is my portion. So what is it mean to be a portion okay so culturally run is generally that brings up the idea of every family in Israel being assigned feet on the ground in the land God promised them help associate a specific place that was theirs and and so for us, figuratively, that the Lord has assigned himself to us. He is dished himself up on the plate and said here.
This is for you your porch. This is this is for you and all of me. You have all of me. It also implies that there's nothing outside of that, that's right, the Lord is my portion that will be enough for you that is enough is enough is a word I like to use so you know that that has just written resulted in his huge turning point for the writer here.
The Lord is my portion and Psalm 7326 actually restates that another way, saying the nearness of God, there is my good very definition could is if God is good is near you. I like to always re-translate limitations 324 the Lord is my enough. Yes, the Lord is enough Lord is my enough and you know you if you go to Passover Seder. They sing the song called dying. I hate Amy when he remains enough would been enough, you would've been enough so that the Lord is my enough which is interesting. It's an interesting thing against your present circumstances are your expectations blessed because you are over expecting something about your certain grants or is the Lord your enough in the circumstance right because you always have him no matter what your circumstances are. And here's that probably the last big thing I want to press into it. In this passage is.
He says so in verse 25 the Lord is good to those who wait for him to the person who seeks him.
So before he had said I have forgotten what good is and now suddenly he remembers yeah I am is good and he's good to those who simply will seek to those who wait for him who lean their strength and exchange there exactly their weakness for his strength and even says at the end of this chapter think it's 56 and 57 ejected that when he draws near to God. God respondent does yes yes so we want to leave with you when we remember who God is, we can redefine good is the presence of God.
That's a one-size-fits-all good he's in every circumstance. He's good to those who wait for him who seek him.
It's good to wait quietly for the deliverance of God it's good to learn to be controlled and disciplined by God. And that's why the writer because he's still good in the midst of towering really bad deed he is. So that's our encouragement to you as if God is good to those who wait for him.
Seek him. Remember loving kindness of the Lord to join us next of her and come back to Thanksgiving a couple days after Thanksgiving and will continue talking about Thanksgiving as a topic so I'm Jim and I'm Dorothy with us today. Thanks