Praying Through the Bible #89
TEXT: Lamentations 3
Last week, we began looking at the subject of prayer in the book of Lamentations. Lamentations is a book of mourning written by the prophet Jeremiah after the nation of Judah had been conquered and carried into captivity by Babylon. In Lamentations chapter 3, we find 12 things to remember when God is chastising us as He chastised the children of Israel.
We looked at the first three things in our first message in this series. They are as follows:
1. Pray with the understanding that God is still in control
2. Remember that, in God, you have strength and hope
3. Realize that if you are still alive, God is showing you mercy. (The famous workout guru Billy Blanks says any day above ground is a blessed day, so smile.)
Today, we are going to look at the next three things to remember when God is chastising you.
1. We should determine to remember the experience of chastisement. Verse 19 says, “Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.” One of the key things that God told the children of Israel to do throughout their history is to be sure to remember Him and His commandments. As long as they remembered God and the law of God, they would be obedient, and God would bless them. However, if they forgot the commandments of God and turned from following God, God would give them something else to learn from and remember. That “something else” is God’s chastisement.
2. We should get humble and stay humble. Jeremiah shows us that the experience of chastisement should lead us to humble ourselves before God. Verse 20 says, “My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.” The word “humbled” means to bow down as one would before a king.
People who bow up in pride — like Pharaoh did against God — will keep on getting what they have been getting and worse. The wise Christian who has sinned will be quick to humble himself, acknowledge his failure, and submit to God’s chastisement. James 4:6 says, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” If God sees that you are not choosing to humble yourself, if you grit your teeth against God’s chastisement instead of submitting to it, the chastisement will only get worse.
3. We should never stop trusting God throughout the period of chastisement. Verse 23 says, “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” In the midst of their desperate circumstances, Jeremiah writes that the children of Israel are to continue to put their faith, trust, and hope in God. We must remember that every good thing comes from God. He is our portion and the source of all our blessings.
We must not make the mistake of turning away from God in the midst of chastisement. Right after the chastisement, God may have blessings in store for us if we show that we have learned the lesson He wants us to learn. Imagine if Job, who experienced extreme affliction (not as punishment, but extreme affliction, nonetheless), had turned his back on God; and had done as his wife told him to do — to curse God and die. He would have missed out on all of the blessings that God had in store for him — having money, livestock, material possessions, wealth, and children restored to him in greater measure than he had before.