Rely On The Lord's Faithfulness      Lam. 3:19-33, 37-39         May 29, 2005
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During my years in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the chapel opened with the hymn: "How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord is lain for your faith in His excellent word." That always blessed my heart, because I knew of the Lord's faithfulness through His word. The lesson shares many different experiences in which we can Rely On The Lord's Faithfulness.

1.    Rely On The Lord's Faithfulness In Times of . . Depression. 3:19-23

A.    The Depression and His . . Roaming. 3:19
    19 Remember my affliction and my homelessness, the wormwood and the poison.

B.    The Depression and His . . Remembering. 3:20
    20 I continually remember [them] and have become depressed.

C.    The Depression and His . . Renewal. 3:21-23
    21 Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 [Because of] the Lord's faithful
love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. 23 They are new every morning; great is
Your faithfulness!

    It is easy to sympathize with the depression Jeremiah experienced. His wanderings, or roaming homeless, caused depression. As he thought back and remembered these experiences he relived the depression. Sometimes all of us can relive the sadness of the past, but we certainly do not need to stay there. Jeremiah experienced renewal in these experiences, and later as he remembered the Lord's love and care through them, he testified of the Lord's mercies which continued each morning.

2.    Rely On The Lord's Faithfulness In Times of . . Discipline. 3:24-29

A.    The Discipline from . . Staying. 3:24-26
    24 I say: The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him. 25 The Lord is good
to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. 26 It is good to wait quietly for
deliverance from the Lord.

B.    The Discipline from . . Silence. 3:27-28
    27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is [still] young. 28 Let him sit alone and be
silent, for God has disciplined him.

C.    The Discipline from . . Submission. 3:29
    29 Let him put his mouth in the dust-- perhaps there is [still] hope.

    I have noted in the testimony of several very productive Christians how they learn
from the discipline of waiting upon the Lord. Jeremiah learned to rely upon the Lord as he
stayed in a difficult situation and witnessed the Lord's faithfulness. Then he learned from
periods when it seemed God was silent even though he was bearing the yoke of faithful
service. Through each of these encounters he remained submissive to
the Lord , and recommends that to all of us.

3.    Rely On The Lord's Faithfulness In Times of . . Distress. 3:30-33

A.    The Distress from being . . Smitten. 3:30
    30 Let him offer [his] cheek to the one who would strike him; let him be filled with shame.

B.    The Distress from . . Suffering. 3:31-33
    31 For the Lord will not reject [us] forever. 32 Even if He causes suffering, He will show compassion according to His abundant, faithful love. 33 For He does not enjoy bringing affliction or suffering on mankind.

    The popular gospel song says, "If I never had a problem I wouldn't know God could solve them." Now that truth does not mean we want to go out seeking problems or distress, but when they come, watching the Lord at work in the situation helps us rely on Him. Have you ever learned about the Lord's faithfulness by turning your cheek for someone to smite? This has never seemed like a desirable option to me, but it is mentioned here and in the teachings of Jesus. So even if we are unjustly smitten, and put
to shame, Jeremiah states the Lord does not reject us. Our text tells us God's abundant, and faithful love will be shown because He does not enjoy bringing suffering or affliction upon mankind.

4.    Rely On The Lord's Faithfulness In Times of . . Deserved Punishment. 3:37-39

A.    The . . Ordination of God and Deserved Punishment. 3:37-38
    37 Who is there who speaks and it happens, unless the Lord has ordained [it]? 38 Do not
both adversity and good come from the mouth of the Most High?

B.    The . . Obviousness of God and Deserved Punishment. 3:39
    39 Why should [any] living person complain, [any] man, because of the punishment for his sins?
If we think clearly we would have to admit our sin deserves to be punished.  Suppose a person only sinned once a month; that would be 12 sins a year, and 120 sins in ten years. What kind of a judge would allow such a person to go free, and not be punished? Obviously we sin more than that and deserve punishment. Is God fair? No!  He is merciful. He allowed Jesus to died for our sin. If a person realizes he/she deserves punishment they need a commitment to the Lord as the only solution and then Rely On
The Lord's Faithfulness. Amen? Amen!