Compare and Choose
Turning from sin / Finding renewed hope
I. Sin devastates
A. From unheeded warnings
(NKJV) Ezekiel 18 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”
1. Devastation is certain
a) God’s people have been devastated because of their sin
b) Months of famine / Breach the wall / Mass destruction of Israelites
c) Now Jeremiah looks at the destruction and composes an intricately composed lament poem
(1) Chapters 1-4 acrostic – each verse or group of verses begin with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet
(2) Ch 3 change from each verse a new letter to groups of three verses for each letter – acrostic – three verses begin with each letter of
Hebrew alphabet – emphasis – it is not as it should be
Switch to male – the writer – personalize the events
B. Sin leads down a dark path
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 1 I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath. 2 He has led me and made me walk In darkness and not in light.
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 6 He has set me in dark places like the dead of long ago.
1. National lament – now it becomes personal
C. Sin brings opposition from God
1. The power of God will oppose instead of help
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 3 Surely He has turned His hand against me Time and time again throughout the day.
a) Power of His hand (should help – turned against them)
b) Continual opposition (again and again)
2. No escape from God – way of peace is blocked
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 5 He has besieged (siege walls) me And surrounded me with bitterness and woe (sorrow).
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 7 He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out; He has made my chain heavy. 8 Even when I cry and shout, He shuts out my prayer. 9 He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked.
a) Siege mounds are internal – growing – blockaded in – waiting for destruction
b) Wall surrounding
3. Undid all of my plans and schemes
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 11 He has turned aside my ways and torn me in pieces; He has made me desolate.
4. Personal and deadly opposition
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 10 He has been to me a bear lying in wait, Like a lion in ambush.
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 12 He has bent His bow And set me up as a target for the arrow. 13 He has caused the arrows of His quiver To pierce my loins.
D. Sin destroys relationships
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 14 I have become the ridicule of all my people— Their taunting song all the day.
E. Sin creates inner turmoil
1. Lost happiness
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 17 … I have forgotten prosperity.
2. Brings internal pain and sorrow
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 4 He has aged my flesh and my skin, And broken my bones.
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 15 He has filled me with bitterness, He has made me drink wormwood.
4. Lost peace
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 16 He has also broken my teeth with gravel, And covered me with ashes. 17 You have moved my soul far from peace;
F. Sin brings unforgettable sorrow
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 18 And I said, “My strength and my hope Have perished from the Lord.” 19 Remember my affliction and roaming, The wormwood and the gall. 20 My soul still remembers And sinks within me.
1. Broken strength
2. Broke self sufficiency
3. Left with pain
4. Forced to be humbled
II. The Lord offers hope
A. Demands refocusing on the Lord
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
1. Remember not problems – refocus on the Lord
2. Based on knowledge
3. Conscious thinking –
a) about the character of God
b) about the previous workings of God
B. God's steadfast love never ceases
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
1. Plural – mercies
2. NASV "The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,"
3. An endless fountain of love that results in kindness to us
4. He has not utterly destroyed
C. His compassions don't fail
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 22 … Because His compassions fail not.
1. Sympathetic desire to alleviate someone's pain
2. Used with God – always He is acting
3. Can't exhaust God's compassion for us
D. His mercy is fresh every day
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 23 They are new every morning;
a) Wake up and the Lord already has mercy planned for us
2. Emphasis is on the result of God's compassion action - it doesn't fail to produce result , i.e. help
E. Based in God’s character
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 23 … Great is Your faithfulness.
a) Never diminishes – renewed / repaired
c) His faithfulness exceeds our failure
F. Based in relationship with Him
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
1. He is all we have (not material)
2. In Him
3. In His character
4. In our relationship with Him
III. So Turn to Him
A. Trust in the Lord's mercy
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
B. Seek the Lord
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 25 … To the soul who seeks Him.
C. Wait patiently for His restoration
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.
D. Humbly accept the consequences (not rebelling)
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 27 It is good for a man to bear The yoke in his youth. 28 Let him sit alone and keep silent, Because God has laid it on him;
1. no attempt to remove oneself or escape
2. wait on Him -
4. No excuses
5. Yield rather than rebel
6. Resting in His mercy (we deserve the worst)
E. Trust in God’s compassion
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 31For the Lord will not cast off forever. 32 Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion According to the multitude of His mercies. 33 For He does not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men.
1. Lord will not chasten forever –
2. His compassions exceed his discipline
3. His desire is to have mercy rather than discipline
4. Not His nature to afflict or grieve
F. Return to the Lord
(NKJV) Lamentations 3 40 Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the Lord; 41 Let us lift our hearts and hands To God in heaven.