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02 September - 2 Kings 7; Lamentations 3; 1 Corinthians 16


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Posted 02 September 2007 - 10:06 AM

First Portion

2 Kings 7


7:1 Elisha said, “Hear the word of Yahweh. Thus says Yahweh, ‘Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour will be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.’”

7:2 Then the captain on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, “Behold, if Yahweh made windows in heaven, could this thing be?”

He said, “Behold, you shall see it with your eyes, but shall not eat of it.”

7:3 Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate. They said one to another, “Why do we sit here until we die? 7:4 If we say, ‘We will enter into the city,’ then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. If we sit still here, we also die. Now therefore come, and let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they save us alive, we will live; and if they kill us, we will only die.”

7:5 They rose up in the twilight, to go to the camp of the Syrians. When they had come to the outermost part of the camp of the Syrians, behold, there was no man there. 7:6 For the Lord had made the army of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great army: and they said one to another, Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come on us. 7:7 Therefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their donkeys, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life. 7:8 When these lepers came to the outermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and ate and drink, and carried there silver, and gold, and clothing, and went and hid it. Then they came back, and entered into another tent, and carried there also, and went and hid it. 7:9 Then they said one to another, “We aren’t doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we keep silent. If we wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come, let us go and tell the king’s household.”

7:10 So they came and called to the porter of the city; and they told them, saying, “We came to the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, there was no man there, neither voice of man, but the horses tied, and the donkeys tied, and the tents as they were.”

7:11 He called the porters; and they told it to the king’s household within. 7:12 The king arose in the night, and said to his servants, “I will now show you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we are hungry. Therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, ‘When they come out of the city, we shall take them alive, and get into the city.’”

7:13 One of his servants answered, “Please let some take five of the horses that remain, which are left in the city. Behold, they are like all the multitude of Israel who are left in it. Behold, they are like all the multitude of Israel who are consumed. Let us send and see.”

7:14 They took therefore two chariots with horses; and the king sent after the army of the Syrians, saying, “Go and see.”

7:15 They went after them to the Jordan; and behold, all the way was full of garments and vessels, which the Syrians had cast away in their haste. The messengers returned, and told the king. 7:16 The people went out, and plundered the camp of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of Yahweh. 7:17 The king appointed the captain on whose hand he leaned to be in charge of the gate: and the people trod on him in the gate, and he died as the man of God had said, who spoke when the king came down to him. 7:18 It happened, as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, “Two measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be tomorrow about this time in the gate of Samaria;” 7:19 and that captain answered the man of God, and said, “Now, behold, if Yahweh should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be?” and he said, “Behold, you shall see it with your eyes, but shall not eat of it.” 7:20 It happened like that to him; for the people trod on him in the gate, and he died.

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 10:07 AM

Second Portion

Lamentations 3


3:1 I am the man that has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.
3:2 He has led me and caused me to walk in darkness, and not in light.
3:3 Surely against me he turns his hand again and again all the day.
3:4 My flesh and my skin has he made old; he has broken my bones.
3:5 He has built against me, and surrounded me with gall and travail.
3:6 He has made me to dwell in dark places, as those that have been long dead.
3:7 He has walled me about, that I can’t go forth; he has made my chain heavy.
3:8 Yes, when I cry, and call for help, he shuts out my prayer.
3:9 He has walled up my ways with cut stone; he has made my paths crooked.
3:10 He is to me as a bear lying in wait, as a lion in secret places.
3:11 He has turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces; he has made me desolate.
3:12 He has bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow.
3:13 He has caused the shafts of his quiver to enter into my kidneys.
3:14 I am become a derision to all my people, and their song all the day.
3:15 He has filled me with bitterness, he has sated me with wormwood.
3:16 He has also broken my teeth with gravel stones; he has covered me with ashes.
3:17 You have removed my soul far off from peace; I forgot prosperity.
3:18 I said, My strength is perished, and my expectation from Yahweh.
3:19 Remember my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.
3:20 My soul still remembers them, and is bowed down within me.
3:21 This I recall to my mind; therefore have I hope.
3:22 It is because of Yahweh’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed, because his compassion doesn’t fail.
3:23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
3:24 Yahweh is my portion, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
3:25 Yahweh is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.
3:26 It is good that a man should hope and quietly wait for the salvation of Yahweh.
3:27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
3:28 Let him sit alone and keep silence, because he has laid it on him.
3:29 Let him put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope.
3:30 Let him give his cheek to him who strikes him; let him be filled full with reproach.
3:31 For the Lord will not cast off forever.
3:32 For though he cause grief, yet he will have compassion according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses.
3:33 For he does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.
3:34 To crush under foot all the prisoners of the earth,
3:35 To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the Most High,
3:36 To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord doesn’t approve.
3:37 Who is he who says, and it comes to pass, when the Lord doesn’t command it?
3:38 Doesn’t evil and good come out of the mouth of the Most High?
3:39 Why does a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?
3:40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to Yahweh.
3:41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands to God in the heavens.
3:42 We have transgressed and have rebelled; you have not pardoned.
3:43 You have covered with anger and pursued us; you have killed, you have not pitied.
3:44 You have covered yourself with a cloud, so that no prayer can pass through.
3:45 You have made us an off-scouring and refuse in the midst of the peoples.
3:46 All our enemies have opened their mouth wide against us.
3:47 Fear and the pit have come on us, devastation and destruction.
3:48 My eye runs down with streams of water, for the destruction of the daughter of my people.
3:49 My eye pours down, and doesn’t cease, without any intermission,
3:50 Until Yahweh look down, and see from heaven.
3:51 My eye affects my soul, because of all the daughters of my city.
3:52 They have chased me relentlessly like a bird, those who are my enemies without cause.
3:53 They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and have cast a stone on me.
3:54 Waters flowed over my head; I said, I am cut off.
3:55 I called on your name, Yahweh, out of the lowest dungeon.
3:56 You heard my voice; don’t hide your ear at my breathing, at my cry.
3:57 You drew near in the day that I called on you; you said, Don’t be afraid.
3:58 Lord, you have pleaded the causes of my soul; you have redeemed my life.
3:59 Yahweh, you have seen my wrong. Judge my cause.
3:60 You have seen all their vengeance and all their devices against me.
3:61 You have heard their reproach, Yahweh, and all their devices against me,
3:62 The lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day.
3:63 You see their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their song.
3:64 You will render to them a recompense, Yahweh, according to the work of their hands.
3:65 You will give them hardness of heart, your curse to them.
3:66 You will pursue them in anger, and destroy them from under the heavens of Yahweh.

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 10:08 AM

Third Portion

1 Corinthians 16


16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I commanded the assemblies of Galatia, you do likewise. 16:2 On the first day of the week, let each one of you save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come. 16:3 When I arrive, I will send whoever you approve with letters to carry your gracious gift to Jerusalem. 16:4 If it is appropriate for me to go also, they will go with me. 16:5 But I will come to you when I have passed through Macedonia, for I am passing through Macedonia. 16:6 But with you it may be that I will stay, or even winter, that you may send me on my journey wherever I go. 16:7 For I do not wish to see you now in passing, but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits. 16:8 But I will stay at Ephesus until Pentecost, 16:9 for a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 16:10 Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without fear, for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. 16:11 Therefore let no one despise him. But set him forward on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I expect him with the brothers.

16:12 Now concerning Apollos, the brother, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brothers; and it was not at all his desire to come now; but he will come when he has an opportunity.

16:13 Watch! Stand firm in the faith! Be courageous! Be strong! 16:14 Let all that you do be done in love.

16:15 Now I beg you, brothers (you know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have set themselves to serve the saints), 16:16 that you also be in subjection to such, and to everyone who helps in the work and labors. 16:17 I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus; for that which was lacking on your part, they supplied. 16:18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge those who are like that.

16:19 The assemblies of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you much in the Lord, together with the assembly that is in their house. 16:20 All the brothers greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

16:21 This greeting is by me, Paul, with my own hand. 16:22 If any man doesn’t love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. Come, Lord! 16:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 16:24 My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 12:09 AM

The Lamentations of Jeremiah - G. Booker and T. Haltom

Chapter Three -- Renewed Hope in Affliction

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 10:44 AM

02 September 2008

2 Kings 7
Lamentations 3
1 Corinthians 16

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 10:51 AM

02 September 2009

2 Kings 7
Lamentations 3
1 Corinthians 16

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 03:42 AM

02 September 2010

2 Kings 7
Lamentations 3
1 Corinthians 16

DEPRESSION

Today Depression has become a major health problem; one that is very hard to deal with, medically. Many medications threaten to create more problems because of their side affects. We have thought about this during the last 3 days as we have read the LAMENTATIONS of Jeremiah. What a difficult life this prophet experienced since he was called to serve God as a young man. Now we picture him sitting, as an old man, by the ruins of the wondrous temple Solomon had built 350 years before while all around him is the burnt and ruined holy city of Jerusalem. He is utterly depressed.

He writes, “Look O LORD, for I am in distress; my stomach churns; my heart is wrung within me … my groans are many, and my heart is faint.” [Lamentations 1:20,22] After all he has been through; all his efforts to make the Kings and princes turn back to God and seek God’s mercy, but they would not listen. Instead they turned on him; one of his worst experiences was being thrown into a dungeon which was really a cistern and sinking down deep into the mud at the bottom.

Then he is caught up with the enemy in the capture of the city, but they give him his freedom! But freedom to do what? He is utterly distressed and laments, “My eyes are spent with weeping … my bile is poured out to the ground because of the destruction …” [Lamentations 2:11] But stop! In today’s Lamentations 3 suddenly a new way of thinking comes into his mind.

“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. The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man (or woman) that he bear the yoke in his youth” [Lamentations 3:21-27]

Our life revolves around our relationship with God; if depression strikes, the only real solution is to rediscover that relationship. Jeremiah further says, “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD.” [Lamentations 3:40] Or, as Paul puts it today in the final chapter of 1 Corinthians [1 Corinthians 16], “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” [1 Corinthians 16:13,14]
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Posted 02 September 2011 - 11:59 AM

02 September 2011

2 Kings 7
Lamentations 3
1 Corinthians 16

"BUT THIS I CALL TO MIND"

Depression is one of the most difficult things for the medical profession to treat – and those medications which are prescribed as a cure are sometimes as bad as the problem! Jeremiah’s lamentations show that he went through a time of extreme depression after Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed. Today’s third chapter contains his complaint, “he has driven me and brought me into darkness without any light” [Lamentations 3:2]. And again, “He has filled me with bitterness” [Lamentations 3:15]

However, he then starts to think more positively, “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” [Lamentations 3:21-23]. These delightfully positive words have been made into a hymn we often sing. Jeremiah continues, “The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him” [Lamentations 3:25]. The word ‘wait’ (qavah) is such a meaningful word! Jeremiah continues, “It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” [Lamentations 3:26]

We note how David employs this word in the Psalms, it was a focus of his meditations, “None who wait for you shall be put to shame … Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation, for you I wait all the day long” [Psalm 25:3,5] The word wait has a special fullness of meaning, often used in the context of patience, submitting to the far-seeing will of God. The popular portrayal of God as purely a kind and loving God is unfortunate, a tragedy really.

Jeremiah, like others, such as Paul [Romans 11:22] , see it differently. Jeremiah writes, “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? Why should a living man (or woman) complain about the punishment for his (her) sins? Let us test and examine our ways and return to the LORD!” [Lamentations 3:38-40] Yes, may all who read this – joyfully do that. As they “call to mind” his steadfast love.
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Posted 02 September 2012 - 06:00 AM

02 September 2012

2 Kings 7
Lamentations 3
1 Corinthians 16

"MY SOUL IS BEREFT OF PEACE ... BUT THIS I CALL TO MIND"

Such are the means of modern communication rarely a day goes past without us hearing some news of events that are causing anxiety – even distress – among believers in some part of the world. We reflected on this as we continued reading Jeremiah’s brief book of Lamentations. It was obviously written after the tragedy of Jerusalem’s fall and the destruction of the Temple.

But today’s chapter, Lamentations 3 – is most remarkable! It contains some great lessons for us – lessons of the perceptions that can come into our minds from God if we truly seek him as Jeremiah did. First, he says, God “has enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation” [Lamentations 3:5] Maybe we can use that word ‘envelope’ in a modern sense and say, can we put this bitterness into an envelope and put it out with the rubbish or into the fire! But how? Jeremiah also says, “my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is.” [Lamentations 3:17]

But then, wonderfully, from Lamentations 3:21, his mind climbs out of his depression – and what a wonderful example this is for all who, at some stage in their lives, feel overwhelmed by events. He writes, “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 will hope in him.’” [Lamentations 3:25-26]

If you are a young person, note Lamentations 3:27, “It is good for a man (or woman) that they bear the yoke in their youth.” A yoke? That is, be in harness in the service of the Lord and learn that God watches over their lives and knows and can and will direct the path of those who truly seek him. David says in Psalm 142, “When my spirit faints within me, you know my way.” [Psalm 142:3]

Finally, although there are other verses in this remarkable chapter we would have liked to quote, note Lamentations 3:40-41. “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God …” May we follow Jeremiah’s example, for few have experienced traumas like he did. But, after being totally “bereft of peace” he still knew that “the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases.”
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Posted 02 September 2013 - 03:03 AM

02 September 2013

2 Kings 7
Lamentations 3
1 Corinthians 16

“BEAR THE YOKE IN OUR YOUTH”

The Lamentations of Jeremiah is not a book we “enjoy” reading. But do we only read those things that give a positive message and we find encouraging? Actually there are some gems hidden among this prophet’s words of despair and distress. The first 2 chapters are about how God’s anger with Jerusalem finally overflows into action; his mercy toward the people of His Holy City finally comes to an end, his judgments are poured out. Is our world today going to be a parallel to this? His word is available in all languages – yet is largely ignored – or scoffed at?

The emphasis in just about everything the churches say is that we serve a God of love, that this is the total focus of God’s character. There is little or no thought that his anger could be poured out today on an increasingly godless world. But twice it happened to God’s holy city – Jerusalem; they were terrifying times.

In today’s chapter 3, Jeremiah suddenly expresses his own feelings, his own experience of overwhelming personal despair, “though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer” [Lamentations 3:8] That reminds us of the final words of Jesus on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Yet in his Lamentations, as with David’s Psalms, what begins with despairing thoughts, gets replaced by more positive ones. See how Jeremiah lifts his mind to a higher plain, “but this I call to mind and therefore I have hope” [Lamentations 3:21]. Then come the words that have been made into a much loved hymn about the mercies of God “they are new every morning: great is your faithfulness” [Lamentations 3:23] Next he writes, The LORD is good to those who wait for him … who seek him” [Lamentations 3:25] Will the Lord have reason to be good to you?

In conclusion, take special note of Lamentations 3:27 … it is good for us to bear the yoke in our youth! Bearing the yoke? If when we are young our lives are easy, there are no problems, no challenges, nothing to make us anxious; it will be hard to develop a good character; worse still, we will have little inclination toward being yoked to Jesus Christ and to carry his cross (meditate on John 15:18-19). It may be the lot of those who are truly yoked to Christ to follow in the footsteps of Jeremiah to some degree.
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Posted 02 September 2014 - 01:05 PM

02 September 2014
 
2 Kings 7
Lamentations 3
1 Corinthians 16  
 
“IT IS GOOD THAT ONE SHOULD WAIT QUIETLY”
            
The Lamentations of Jeremiah are a remarkable mixture of positive thinking, but also at times. of deep depression.  We meditate on Jeremiah’s state of mind through all his experiences.  What a pathway he had in life! beginning as a young priest in the good reign of Josiah, how spiritually stimulated he would been in that era. We will read of this in a couple of weeks, Josiah was the final good king in Jerusalem “who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul …” [2 Kings 23:25] and a remarkable Passover was held [2 Kings 23:22], but soon after this he was killed in battle and “Jeremiah … uttered a lament” for him” [2 Chronicles 35:25] 
            
What a total contrast his life became after that!  The climax he was fully involved in was the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple.  After that the Governor the Babylonians appointed is murdered, those who remain decide, against the word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah, to go to Egypt; probably some were blaming the prophet for their distressed state.
 
Jeremiah is overwhelmed by sorrow, in the opening chapter of his Lamentations he writes of his “groaning, yet there was no one to comfort me.” [Lamentations 1:21]   In today’s chapter it is evident that the people have turned against him, it is so often human nature to look for someone to blame; politics especially is a blame game! . 
       
We judge Lamentations 3:61-63 to be a prayer; “You have heard their taunts, O LORD, all their plots against me.  The lips and thoughts of my assailants are against me all the day long … I am the object of their taunts.”   Also in Lamentations 3:17, “my soul is bereft of peace,” it is obvious he is ‘talking’ to the LORD.
       
However, Jeremiah is blessed with times of uplifting vision, a lesson for us when we are weighed down by sadness or anxieties.  “The LORD is good for those who wait for him,” he writes, “to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” [Lamentations 3:25-26]   Jeremiah is granted an all embracing view of his total relationship with the LORD – surely this is granted as he looks back on the pathway he has travelled – how the LORD has led him. All who believe in the LORD and his (their) Messiah should seek to perceive such a vision, most of all, in times of stress.. Jeremiah perceives of God that, “though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men” [Lamentations 3:32-33]  
 
Jeremiah lifts up his mind to see the ‘big picture’ of his relationship with God – and we must do the same,  “It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”
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Posted 02 September 2015 - 06:04 AM

02 September 2015
 
2 Kings 7
Lamentations 3
1 Corinthians 16  
 
"LET US TEST AND EXAMINE OUR WAYS” 
            
We have a diverse range of inspired lessons in our readings today.  First, from a human perspective it is understandable that Elisha's proclamation of "thus says the LORD, tomorrow about this time ..." [2 Kings 7:1] there will be an abundance of food - would be beyond belief to those who heard him!  Yet, because of all the remarkable things he had already been able to do in the name of the LORD, the "captain" should not have been so totally sceptical.  
            
A lesson for us  which surely we have learned in view of the way aspects of prophecy about "the last days" have already been fulfilled - that we can be confident the rest will wonderfully come to pass – indeed, maybe very soon!  But we must be careful to distinguish between plain prophetical statements and those which are not so plain. Jeremiah in his 'lamentations' [Lamentations 3:37-41] has an appropriate comment; "Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?" adding, "Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?"  
            
Those doing their best to know his word and serve him should be able to discern this.  Jeremiah certainly could!  His next words are appropriate for us too!  "Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! Let us lift up our hearts ..." 
            
We ponder how many, over the centuries have lifted up their hands, but not their hearts!
            
In the New Testament we completed Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians - and verse13 of the final chapter provides an appropriate concluding thought. "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong"  [1 Corinthians 16:13].
            
After we "test and examine our ways" let us commit ourselves to doing that. 
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Posted 11 September 2016 - 03:53 AM

02 September 2016
 
2 Kings 7
Lamentations 3
1 Corinthians 16 
 
DEPRESSION … “BUT THIS I CALL TO MIND”    
            
Today Depression has become a major health problem; one that is very hard to deal with, medically.  Many medications threaten to create other problems because of their side effects.  
            
We have thought about this during the last 3 days as we have read the LAMENTATIONS of Jeremiah.  What a difficult life this prophet experienced since he was called to serve God as a young man.  Now we picture him sitting, as an old man, amid the ruins of the wondrous temple Solomon had built 350 years before while all around him is the burnt and ruined holy city of Jerusalem.  He is utterly depressed. 
            
He writes, “Look O LORD, for I am in distress; my stomach churns; my heart is wrung within me … my groans are many, and my heart is faint.” [Lamentations 1:20-22]   After all he has been through; all his efforts to make the Kings and princes in Jerusalem turn back to God and seek God’s mercy, but they would not listen.  Instead they turned on him; one of his worst experiences was being thrown into a dungeon which was really a cistern and sinking down deep into the mud at the bottom: Jeremiah 38.
 
Then he is entangled with the enemy as the city is captured, but they give him his freedom!  But freedom to do what?  At some stage he suffers utter depression and laments, “My eyes are spent with weeping … my bile is poured out to the ground because of the destruction …” [Lamentations 2:11]  
 
But stop!  In Lamentations 3 suddenly a new way of thinking comes into his mind. 
            
“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. The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.  It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” [Lamentations 3:21-27]
                
Our lives revolve around our relationship with God; if depression strikes, the only real solution is to rediscover that relationship.  Jeremiah further says, “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD.” [Lamentations 3:40]  In doing this we will “call to mind … the steadfast love of the LORD.”
            
Let us meditate also on the positive way Paul puts this today in the final chapter of 1 Corinthians, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” [1 Corinthians 16:13-14]
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Posted 02 September 2017 - 02:32 AM

02 September 2017
 
2 Kings 7
Lamentations 3
1 Corinthians 16 
 
"BEAR THE YOKE IN OUR YOUTH"
 
The Lamentations of Jeremiah is not a book we 'enjoy' reading. But do we only read those things that give a positive message and we find encouraging? Actually there are some gems hidden among this prophet's words of despair and distress. The first 2 chapters are about how God's anger with Jerusalem finally overflows into action; his mercy toward the people of His Holy City finally comes to an end, his judgments are poured out. Is our world today going to be a parallel to this? His word is available in all languages – yet is largely ignored – or scoffed at?  
 
The emphasis in just about everything the churches say is that we serve a God of love, that this is the total focus of God's character. There is little or no thought that his anger could be poured out today on an increasingly godless world. But twice it happened to God's holy city – Jerusalem; they were terrifying times.
 
Today's chapter, Lamentations 3, Jeremiah suddenly expresses his own feelings, his own experience of overwhelming personal despair, "though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer" [Lamentations 3:8] That reminds us of the final words of Jesus on the cross, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
 
Yet in his Lamentations, as with David's Psalms, what begins with despairing thoughts, gets replaced by more positive ones. See how Jeremiah lifts his mind to a higher plain, "but this I call to mind and therefore I have hope" [Lamentations 3:21]. Then come the words that have been made into a much loved hymn about the mercies of God "they are new every morning: great is your faithfulness" Lamentations 3:23] Next he writes, "The LORD is good to those who wait for him … who seek him" [Lamentations 3:25] Will the Lord have reason to be good to you?
 
In conclusion, take special note of Lamentations 3: 27 "… it is good for us to bear thee yoke in our youth!" Bearing the yoke? If when we are young our lives are easy, there are no problems, no challenges, nothing to make us anxious; it will be hard to develop a good character; worse still, we will have little inclination toward being yoked to Jesus Christ and to carry his cross (meditate on John 15:18-19). It may be the lot of those who are truly yoked to Christ to follow in the footsteps of Jeremiah to some degree. 
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- DC





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