The Faithfulness of God
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
The book of Lamentations records the lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah. This book is filled with tears and sorrow. It is a hymn of heartbreak. It is a psalm of sadness. It is a symphony of sorrow. Lamentations has been called the wailing wall of the Bible.
During Jeremiah's ministry, Judah was growing weaker nationally and militarily and spiritually. For years Jeremiah attempted to call his people and his nation back to God. No one seemed to listen to Jeremiah, and the situation grew worse and worse. This was his message: "Repent, O Jerusalem, or sudden judgment and destruction will come upon you."
Sure enough, Jeremiah witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem. As he saw it burn, he sat down in the warm ashes and hot tears streamed down his face. Actually, Jeremiah is sitting in the rubble and ruin of Jerusalem, weeping as he writes this book of Lamentations.
Now, the verses of our text constitute the only bright spot in the whole book. Because, in spite of the severe judgment of God, Jeremiah can see the hand of God's mercy. He declares that they would have been utterly consumed had it not been for the mercy of God. If they had gotten what they deserved, they would have been utterly destroyed. They would have disappeared from the earth.
Now, the question is this. Was Judah's deliverance from total destruction due to something in them? No! a thousand times no. Judah's deliverance from total destruction was due to the faithfulness of God. He had promised Abraham that He would make a nation come from him, and this was that nation. He had promised Moses that he would put them in the land. He promised Joshua that He would establish them there. He promised David that one would come from his loins to reign on the throne forever. The prophets all said that God would not utterly destroy this people, but that He would judge them for their sins.
God is faithful. He judged the people of Judah, but He did not utterly destroy them. A faithful remnant was preserved. Ultimately they will become a great nation again. That is already becoming a reality as the Jews gather back to their land in the Middle East.
Now, I want us to apply this passage of scripture to our present situation. The first thing that I want us to consider is
I. THE FATE WE DESERVE
I'm always hearing somebody say something like this: "If God is good, why does He allow all of this calamity? Why does He permit sickness? Why does He permit destruction? Why do we have tornadoes and earthquakes? Why do we have floods and famines?"
Then I hear some people say, "If God is such a good God, how could He ever send anybody to hell?" Folks, I want you to know that has never been my problem. I have never asked, "How can a good God permit such calamity?" or "How can a good God send...