Monday, January 14, 2013

New Every Morning

     Are you living in captivity?  Each one of us has certain areas that take hold of us whether it is chronic pain, illness, not enough money at the end of our bills, inability to find a good job, or some other complication of living.  Any one of these things can so get a grip on our lives that we can despair and lose our hope.  This is what happened to the Children of Israel when they were carried away to Babylonian captivity.  Jerusalem had been destroyed as the Prophet Jeremiah had foretold.  Now the people were living in a foreign land under the rule of a pagan king.  They had lost everything.  Their homes, possessions, and Temple were gone.  Life, for them, would never be the same.  Yet even in this darkness there was hope because they served the God of the Covenant.
     In the Book of Lamentations which some believe Jeremiah composed, there are words of encouragement for the people of God.  These words are as true for us today as they were for the people of Israel.  Chapter 3:21-25 reads:  "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.'  The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him."  For the Israelites, these words of hope would be fulfilled as God did allow them to return to Judah and rebuild the temple under King Cyrus of the Persians who had defeated the Babylonians.  I am certain it was not on the timetable of those who had been taken to captivity, but in God's providence, the people were allowed to go home again.
Ancient stone showing the Children of Israel being led into captivity
     Like the Children of Israel, we are called, as believers, to remember God's steadfast love for us.  His covenant with us through the blood of Christ makes our inheritance sure and our salvation complete.  Therefore, no weapon formed against us can prevail.  With the Apostle Paul, we can say:  "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38).  Isn't this a comfort to know when circumstances do not favor us?
     What we must remember each day is that God is steadfast and unchangeable.  When He makes a promise, He keeps it.  This is not true of man whose heart is fickle at best.  God's love is also something we can count on as demonstrated so clearly by His Son who was sent to die for our sins.  Can there be any doubt that God loves us?  Even when we did not love Him, He first loved us.  This is a love which goes beyond is a committed love which God sealed with the blood of His Son.  If we belong to Christ, we are kept in His love each day.
     Secondly, God's mercies never come to an end.  If you do not believe me, read the Old Testament.  Over and over again, the people of Israel tried and tested the patience of God with their sin.  They are the picture of "every man".  Yet, God's mercies never came to an end.  In fact, as the Scripture tells us, they were new every morning.  He delivered His people from their enemies.  He disciplined His people when they fell into sin, but He always showed them mercy in the middle of their trials.  He will do the same for us.
     Finally, when our trust and hope are placed in God, we can be certain that He will complete the good work He has begun in us.  The key for us all when faced with trials is to keep our focus on Christ.
By recalling God's goodness to us daily, we defeat the Enemy of our soul who tries to fill our minds and hearts with discouragement.  Practicing thankfulness for even the little things does so much for our outlook as we walk in this world.
     Copy this verse from Lamentations and put it on your mirror or some place where you will see it each day.  Remember that God loves us.  He is faithful, and He is merciful.  In Him, we find hope when other problems want to overwhelm us.  Let the Lord set us free from captivity every day and remember that His mercies are new every morning!  Selah!

Picture of a person in bondage is taken from Wikipedia Commons courtesy of
"© Raimond Spekking / CC-BY-SA-3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)"

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