Lamentations relates the confessions and prayers of people in the middle of suffering for their sins. These people are the very one’s Jeremiah warned. Having suffered the loss of their land, temple, and capital, they now ask God for forgiveness and restoration. Since their actions caused their pain, how can they hope for such outrageous grace? The speaker in Lamentations 3 invites his people and us to know that we can do so only because of God’s character.
God’s character gives us hope. God punished the speaker so thoroughly that he lost hope (Lamentations 3:1-20). Then he recalled that God’s steadfast covenant love never ends (vv.22). God keeps His promises. Among the greatest of these promises is that He forgives all who confess their sins. His compassionate mercy for repenting people never ends (v.22). God’s loving mercy is renewed every morning, every day that we live, every time we repent (v.23). God’s faithfulness to His promises is greater than our sin (v.23). Hope returns when we remember that God is our portion in life (v.24). If we have God, we have all we need.
God’s character gives us endurance. God is “good to those who wait for him” (v.25). Thus, we can wait for His salvation from our well-deserved punishment (v.26), from the bondage we chose. We can accept the troubles we have brought on ourselves (vv.28-30) when we know that God does “not cast off forever” (v.31). We can persevere in hope because God “does not afflict from his heart” (v.33). He does not enjoy punishing us. He does so to bring us to repentance (vv.37-39).
God’s character gives us the boldness to pray. Since God loves, forgives, shows mercy, and afflicts to heal from sin, we can bring anything to Him. We can even ask Him to help us in the situations He has brought about to punish our sins (vv.40-66). God has redeemed us from our enemies in the past, and He will do so again (vv.58-60).
Lamentations expresses good news for fallen Christians. God disciples those He loves (Heb. 12:3-17; Revelation 2-3). When we awaken amid the disasters we have caused, we find God ready to forgive. The same God who forgave Moses, Jeremiah, and Peter remains faithfully forgiving now. Trust His character as you repent today and continue to repent for the rest of your life.
Dave Jenkins is happily married to Sarah Jenkins. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021) and The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.