God Is Faithful

God Is... June 30, 2024 Lamentations 3:22-24 Notes


In a world full of broken relationships and broken promises, don’t you wish you knew someone who was faithful? Someone dependable and reliable? Someone constant and trustworthy?

And that’s what our God is. He is faithful! In Lamentations 3, the prophet Jeremiah declared his hope in God’s faithfulness in the midst of his suffering and sorrow. We can put our hope in God’s faithfulness.

Audio

Transcript

Good morning, church. It's good to see all of you here this morning. We're continuing our series entitled, “God is” and we've been going through the attributes of God. This is week six of an eight-week series, and we've been working through what it looks like for us to know God better and to study the different attributes of God revealed to us through his word. And our series theme is found in the Gospel of John where we read, John 17:3 (ESV) “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

What is true life? What is eternal life? It's to know God and to know his son, Jesus, who is the highest revelation of God. So you want to know life? You want to have life?

It means to know God. And so this series is about that. It's about learning about the different attributes of God. And as theologian and author J.I. Packer writes in his book, “Knowing God,” he says this, “What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we set ourselves in life?

To know God… Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.” So writes Packer. And so God made us for himself, and he made us that he might know us and we might know him.

And this is what we're talking about. That's what this series is about, knowing God better. And in this series, so far, we've studied God's love. We've studied his might, that God is almighty. We've studied his mercy, his fatherhood.

And last week we studied his unchanging nature, that God is immutable, that he never changes. And now, one of the things we haven't talked about so far is that these attributes are in two categories. Theologians put them in two categories. And in my small group this past week, I brought that up, and several people said, we haven't mentioned that in the series. So I thought it was important to mention that this morning.

They said that I should. And so I said, “Well, the two categories are communicable and incommunicable attributes.” And so we have several medical people in my group. One is a nurse. And I asked her, “So if you hear communicable, does that make you think of God?”

And she says, “No, that makes me think of the flu, because it's a communicable disease. It's catching.” And I said, “Well, that's what the word means.” Communicable means it's catching. It can be communicated to you.

And so there are attributes of God that we've been studying, and we're going to study another one today that are communicable. They're “catching” from God. And so you could just kind of look at the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians, chapter five and see some of those attributes of God that are given to us by the Holy Spirit. They're communicated to us so that we radiate, reflecting the glory of these attributes of God. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control among these and others.

These are communicable attributes of God. We've been talking about some of those. But then there are incommunicable attributes of God that he alone has. No one else in all of creation has them, because God is creator. He stands outside of creation.

And so these are attributes of God that he alone possesses. Some of the bigger ones would be like omniscience, all knowing. He knows everything. Omnipresence. He's everywhere.

There's nowhere that God isn't present and aware, omnipotent. He's all powerful. These are attributes that can't be communicated to us. They belong to him alone. He's eternal.

You can say, “Well, we get eternal life.” Yeah, but from a starting point. He's one without beginning nor end. He's eternal, as in he stands outside of time. He alone possesses that.

Well, I could go on. But you understand there are two categories. Now, one of the categories we said was communicable, and today we're going to be looking at God as faithful. And that is a category that's communicable, that we can catch it from God. He's a faithful God, and we can be a faithful people.

Now, don't you wish you knew somebody faithful, though? I mean, somebody dependable, somebody that would show up on time, somebody that would actually do what they promised? Don't you wish you knew somebody like that? You know, have you ever heard this phrase, “You can't get good help these days?” Don't you wish you could find somebody faithful?

And don't you wish you could be more faithful? You know, you might be here this morning and you've been hurt by someone that was unfaithful to you. Maybe it was in marriage, maybe it was a person that you thought was your friend. Maybe it was a financial situation where they borrowed something from you and you never saw it again, or you saw it again and they broke it and just dropped it off or you had to go to their house and get it. You know, you can really tell that someone is faithful when you're going through a hard time.

Have you ever heard of a “fair weather friend?” They disappear when the weather gets rough. You can tell that you have a faithful friend when you're in a needy moment, when nobody can really get anything out of you because you can't get anything out of yourself. And that's when you find a faithful friend. They show up at your door with soup and a sandwich, and you go, “You shouldn't have done that.”

You didn't really want to answer the door because you were so discouraged. And you look out the door, but then they come in and life comes with them. That's a faithful friend, isn't it? Don't you wish you had a faithful friend? That's what this scripture is about today.

God is faithful. When everyone and everything around you seems to be without faith. God is faithful. And I hope today that you know this faithful God. He never lets you down.

He's always there. He never leaves, he never forsakes and he provides and he protects. And if everyone else around you is unfaithful, he's faithful. And even when you have doubt and you're faithless, he remains faithful. How about that?

Don't you want to hear about this God? Well, that's what we're going to talk about. God is faithful. And our scripture today comes from the book of Lamentations. Have you heard any good sermons from the book of Lamentations lately?

If you got your Bible looking, go ahead and find Isaiah. It's a big book, and Jeremiah is right next to it, and it's a big book. And then there, that next book. Don't turn pages too fast.

You'll get to Lamentations. It's written by the weeping prophet Jeremiah. The whole book is about what people have called an “extended lament.” In other words, he's crying out to God in sorrow and grief and pain and trouble.

But in the midst of it, in chapter three, his soul rises up within him and reminds him of what matters. God is faithful. Now, he had a reason to lament. He'd gone through a terrible time. Even his calling was difficult.

I don't know if I had said “yes” to being a preacher, if I'd have got the calling to be a preacher like Jeremiah had. It's in Jeremiah, chapter seven. When God called him He said, “You shall speak to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you” (Jer. 7:27).

That was Jeremiah's calling. I think I'd have quit on the first day. He said, ‘Jeremiah, I want you to go plant a church that no one's going to come to. I want you to hold a meeting, and I want your attendance to be zero, your baptisms to be zero, your offering plate to come around and people take some money out instead of putting money in.

Now, some of those early meetings that we had as a church, I was concerned that maybe I did have the calling of Jeremiah. I still remember one particular meeting on a Wednesday night. We used to meet in my house in this particular Wednesday night meeting. It was the first summer of our church, and we've been running, like, 20-30 people in my living room on Wednesday nights.

We were going through the Bible. But this particular Wednesday night, my wife didn't even come. She was sick, and she stayed upstairs in the upstairs bedroom, and she said, “Don't even tell them I'm here.” I was on my own, and only two people showed up. And they were the two most introverted people that had been attending.

And there I was sitting, and they had these terrified looks on their faces like, are we it, or is it just us and you? And so they knew I asked questions. On Wednesday nights, I like to have a discussion about the Bible. And they were like, Don't look at me. I'm not answering any questions.

These two people never came back. We lost them that night.

I thought I had the calling of Jeremiah for a little while there. You're going to preach to people that won't listen to you, and you're going to call people that won't answer you. I thought I was worried. But Jeremiah didn't quit. You know, he didn't quit.

He kept believing, even after the destruction of Jerusalem, after he saw God's temple destroyed, after he saw all of God's people exiled and carried off by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon, after he saw he had no home, no people, no nation, no nothing. He said, ‘You know what? Great is our God, and great is his faithfulness.’ He said, ‘I still have God. We can do that. We can be like Jeremiah.

We can place our hope in a God who is faithful. As we look at the text today, we're gonna be looking at Lamentations. We're gonna be looking for three reasons that we can place our hope in God's faithfulness. Let's look. Lamentations 3:22-24 (ESV)

22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,

“therefore I will hope in him.” This is God's word. Amen. We're going to be looking at three reasons we can place our hope in God's faithfulness.

Here's the first:

1. Because of His faithful love.

Do you see it there in verse 22? “...steadfast love.” His faithful love.

“Steadfast” is a synonym for faithful. He's steadfast. He's faithful in his love for us. The word steadfast love or the phrase steadfast love. I'm going to teach you a Hebrew word

if you want to write it down. If you're taking notes, it's spelled, “ḥeseḏ.” You have to get some phlegm in the back of your throat if you're going to speak Hebrew.

”ḥeseḏ.” The equivalent in the New Testament would be the Greek word, “agape.” So often, if you read a Greek translation in the Old Testament, they encounter this word.

It's usually “agape.” We know that word better, don't we, as New Testament believers? And it means God's kind of love. Covenantal love, steadfast love. Faithful love.

That's what it means. It's a synonym for faithfulness. Sometimes it's translated as “loving kindness” or “covenantal love.” He loves us with a steadfast love. That never ceases.

Now, some of you may be looking at another translation that says it like this, that his love or his loving kindness because of it, because of God's loving kindness, we are never consumed or we are not cut off. I guess the difference between the two translations is how you look at this phrase - “never ceases.” It could also be cut off because of God's steadfast love. His love never cuts off.

So it's like a tap, you turn it all the way on and his love just keeps pouring. So it never ceases, never cuts off and acts on love. The ESV translation, which is what we're reading from, is a good translation. But some translations say that it never ceases to act on the recipient of the love.

And it says, because of God's love, because of his loving kindness and mercy, we are not cut off. I'd say both are true. So whichever translation you have, you're good. Yeah. God's love never ceases.

That's true. And because of God's love, we're not cut off. Isn't that right? That's true. Now, if you're looking at the text again, notice that the word, “LORD,” is in all caps.

It's in all capital letters. LORD. If it's in all caps, do you know what that means? It means the Hebrew word underneath that is “Yahweh,” or “Jehovah,” which is God's covenantal name, first revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14, where God reveals to him that his name is “I am that I am.” Moses says, “I don't know your name.”

God told him, “My name is I am,” which is “Yahweh,” or as some pronounce it, “Jehovah.” And that's the word we see here. If you see it in all caps, in the English translation. Now, you know this is God's covenantal name. The steadfast love of Yahweh never ceases.

Because of his love, we are not cut off. We are not consumed. It never ceases. I'm so glad about that. He has the kind of love that keeps on loving.

And you can know this love. It says in Deuteronomy 7:9 (ESV) “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.” That's a lot of generations. A thousand generations.

Now, some of us here are in my age group, and so you've probably had some kids, and now you've got some grandkids. I got a bunch of them. I got about ten of them “crumb snatchers.” And it matters to me that they know Jesus. In fact, it matters more to me that they know Jesus than any other thing they might know, because I know that determines their eternity.

And I want them to know the love, the steadfast love of God, which is most perfectly revealed through the person of Jesus. And as I look at this verse, it says that he keeps. You can know him, and he keeps this steadfast love relationship to a thousand generations. I like that because I want this next generation, this generation of my grandkids and your grandkids and your children and this generation that's in the room, and then the next generation, I want them to know the love of God, the steadfast love of God that never quits.

Steadfast love, faithful love. And it's this kind of love that causes him to say, I want you and my family. God wants to be your father, and he wants you to be in his family. It says in 1 Corinthians 1:9 (ESV) “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” You've been called.

God wants you in his family through the relationship of Jesus. When we talk about faithfulness, we might ascribe it to people like this. We might say, ‘Well, he was a faithful husband.’ You know, you might say that. It might be on the stone there when the man dies. You might put it on his gravestone.

“Faithful husband,” “faithful father.” What do you think of when you think of that? You probably think, Well, he provided and he protected, and he was always there, and he showed up at ball games, and \he took care of his family. You probably have a list of things that you'd have in your heart and your mind: trustworthy, reliable, dependable, loyal. Wouldn't you be thinking about those things?

Marriage is supposed to be a picture of God's faithfulness. If you read Ephesians, chapter five, it has a list of things from the apostle Paul, teaching the church at Ephesus of what marriage should look like. And it starts out sounding like he's talking about husbands and wives because he says, “wives, submit to your husbands as unto the Lord.” And then he says to husbands, “husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it.” And certainly he's talking about marriage, but then he shifts gears and says, “this is a mystery, but I'm talking about Christ in the church.”

Because what he's really saying is, ‘I want marriage to be a picture that reflects Christ in the church, so that your house is a lighthouse for the gospel, and so that your faithfulness to each other, then, is a depiction or reflection. It's a communicable attribute of God's faithfulness in the way you're faithful to one another.’

And so marriage is this idea of being loyal in your love and steadfast in your love. And it's supposed to be. But isn't our world filled with brokenness?

Now, my wife and I just celebrated 45 years of marriage on June 2. Praise the Lord. Amen. And you can applaud, but applaud God. Don't applaud me, because I've had some faithless days.

In those 45 years, I've had some faithful days. Come on, Lord, help. He helped me. But there have been some days where I doubted. I got mad at her, or she got mad at me, and you'd be like, Well, I can't believe that, preacher.

Well, no, I'm a sinner, too. Saved by grace, just like you, I get grumpy, I make mistakes, I lose my temper and say things I didn't mean. If we've got 45 years together, and we do, it's because of God's faithfulness to us and our desire to cling to him. Even when we weren't getting along that great now, we most of the time get along real good all the time now, because we got used to each other those first few years, we would occasionally hit a bump in the road. There'd be a faithless day, but we hung on.

Maybe you had a faithless day where either you or your spouse didn't hang on, and you've gone through divorce, or you've gone through abandonment or adultery or faithlessness, you know, but God didn't leave you. He says, “I'll never leave you nor forsake you.” And if you're here today, thinking, I've got a wound, I've been hurt. He loves you. He won't quit. You can hang on to him.

Jeremiah knows what he's talking about here. Nobody would even come to his preaching. Nobody would listen to him. Whenever he started writing the book of Jeremiah, he sent copies, early editions to the king. And the king sat in front of his fireplace, and as the scribe would read it to him, it was full of warnings about getting right with God, or else Babylon is going to come and take your kingdom away.

He took a knife, and it was a scroll, right? He's undoing the scroll. And as the scribe would read a part, he'd slice off that part and throw it in the fire. Slice off that part, throw it in the fire. They wouldn't even listen to his written preaching.

If he'd been on Facebook, they wouldn't have even clicked.

Only God was faithful to Jeremiah. But he said, ‘that's enough. My God is great, and he's faithful.’ Whether it's been you that was faithless or somebody else that was faithless to you, you can depend on a faithful God who loves you no matter what. And that really leads us to this second reason, that we can put our hope in a faithful God.

2. Because of His faithful mercy.

It's because of his faithful mercy. Do you see it there? We've said, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. But then we get in verse 22, it says, “...his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

His mercies never come to an end. Now, “mercies” in the plural is speaking of “acts of mercy,” not mercy as an attribute, as much as that which comes from the attribute of mercy. That there are mercies. There are actions that God takes because of his compassion and his mercy. And I'm glad about that, because if I'm the one that was faithless, I need a faithful God, even to me, and I need some forgiveness, because these acts of mercy, I think chief among them, chief among the mercies of God is forgiveness, because I need forgiveness,

don't you? It always takes “two to tango.”

There's no, the only innocent party of any relationship is God. All of us have our part that we blew, right?

Mercies. What might this be? Well, usually when we think of a merciful act, we're speaking of someone who ismoving from greater to lesser. In other words, this person has greater resources and this person is poor.

And so this person shows mercy to someone impoverished, and that means, from their riches or from their greater resource, they showed mercy, and it was an act of mercy. Are you with me? So mercy usually implies that it moves from greater to lesser, that someone who had something to give felt compassionate enough to give it.

That's certainly true, because God is great and he has unlimited resources and he has unlimited mercy that moves him to do that. It also implies that the person might not be deserving. Not only are they lesser and they have need, but they might be undeserving of that mercy. And that's certainly so, too, because we deserve God's judgment, because we've offended God because of our sin. But “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

And so, because of his love and because of his mercy, he sends Jesus as the chief reflection and revelation of his mercy to us, that he died in our place. “And while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

That's his mercy, because his mercy is most clearly seen in that he forgives us, that he loves us while we were undeserving of it. “His mercies are new every morning.” Now what does that mean? He's got all kinds of mercies, and he's pouring them out and they're fresh every day. Because we are so dependent on him.

If he's not merciful, we cease to exist. I mean, we don't even get the next breath unless we get a new mercy.

Oh, we think we're all independent and got it together. We need his mercy. And Jeremiah knows it. You know how you know it when everything gets stripped away from you, and there you barely stand and you say, “If it weren't for God…”

His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, you know, physical mercies. The idea of these mercies, they renew. This word, “mercy,” comes from the Hebrew word which means “bowels, or the center of the body.” Like God's mercy comes from this deep place, from within.

God. This is part of who he is. He just pours out “bowels of mercy.” Have you heard that phrase before?

Hospitality, leniency. In that he holds back punishment and instead gives us grace.

Instead of giving us what we deserve, he gives us the opposite of what we deserve. That's mercy. And it's new every morning. It's fresh every day.

And so here he is, and he's gone through it. And I didn't read the whole chapter because I could hardly tolerate the whole chapter. I can barely tolerate this book. It's so full of lament. But Jeremiah pours out the reality of how he feels in his emotions, because God's not afraid of us.

He's not afraid of our questions. He wants us to be real with him in our prayers. Let me just read a little bit of how Jeremiah is feeling here in chapter three.

He says, 1 I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of God’s wrath. 2 He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness instead of light. 3 Indeed, He keeps turning His hand against me all day long. 4 He has worn away my flesh and skin; He has shattered my bones.

5 He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. 6 He has made me dwell in darkness like those dead for ages. 7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape; He has weighed me down with chains. 8 Even when I cry out and plead for help, He shuts out my prayer.

9 He has barred my ways with cut stones; He has made my paths crooked. 10 He is a bear lying in wait, a lion hiding in ambush.” He's talking about God. This is how he feels.

‘God, where are you?’ And verse 21 says, “Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the loving devotion of the LORD we are not consumed, for His mercies never fail. 23 They are new every morning;

great is Your faithfulness!

He's thankful to the Lord because of who the Lord is. Everything else around him might be falling apart, but not his relationship with God. And even how he feels. He's not afraid to talk to God about how he feels, because he knows when he does that God will help him bring his feelings into alignment with the truth. So he writes it out. He journals it out, and he sends a copy to the king.

And the king cuts it off. But guess what? Jeremiah had made a copy, and we're reading it right now. In fact, you could read about it in the scripture. He goes back to his scribe and says, ‘I hadn't forgotten what I said.

Let's write it all down again.’ He keeps that copy. He doesn't turn that copy into the king. I'm glad he did, because we're reading it today. In Titus 3:5, it says, “He saved us,

not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit.” It's by virtue of his own mercy that he saved us, not because we deserved it, not because we earned it, but because of his mercy. In 2 Timothy 2:13 (ESV), this is Paul writing to Timothy … “if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.”

If you belong to him today and you're going through a season of doubt, you're going through a season right now, and you ask, “God, where are you and why'd you let this happen to me? Wasn't I living for you? Why'd you let this happen to me? Why am I going through this?

Why have I got that surgery coming up? Why is the medicine not working? Why did this person leave me? Why is this happening? Why did I lose my job?

God, where are you?” And you're going through a season of faithlessness, and you feel like God is distant and you're doubting. When you're faithless, he remains faithful. He's just waiting for you to come to your senses. He's still there.

He's faithful. He will not deny himself. And if you belong to him, you belong to him. And he's faithful. And he's loyal.

He's dependable and he's reliable. He's committed to you. Do you remember the story of David? The Bible describes David, King David, as a man after God's own heart. You know the guy.

He's the one who slew the giant when no one else would. He believed in God more than anybody in his generation. He was a man after God's own heart. But the Bible says that in the season when kings go to war, David stayed home. That should clue you in right there, right off the bat. Instead of going to work,

he stayed home, “slick.” You know what it is when you stay home “slick?” You ain't really sick, but you don't want to go to work. You call in “slick.”

Never heard that one before. Don't use that now. The pastor didn't mean it. That's a good example. Don't call in “slick.”

You're lying. But anyway, David didn't go to war. All of his men went to war and he was staying home.

He was somewhere he shouldn't have been. He went up on the roof of his palace. He's looking out over the kingdom that belonged to him. And he was feeling good about it.

And he looked out on another rooftop and ironically, there was a woman there taking a bath whose name was Bathsheba. And he was like, man. Now, it was okay that he saw her by accident, but it was the “second long look” that got him in trouble. He couldn't help the first look, but the second look belonged to him. And he goes, who is that?

He asked one of the servants who she was. ‘Oh, that's Uriah, the Hittites wife, Bathsheba. David says to him, ‘tell her to come over. I'd like to meet her.’ So she comes over and he ends up committing adultery with her.

You know the story. He commits adultery with her. And a few months later, she sends word to him, ‘I'm pregnant.’ And Daniel says, ‘Uh oh,’ because all of his men have been off to battle this whole time.

They're laying siege to a city over there. Daniel sends word to Joab, his general, and he says, ‘Send Uriah the Hittite home. I have a message I'd like to send by him. Send him home as a messenger.’ David thinks, I know I can handle this. I can cover this up.

Uriah comes home and Daniel has dinner with Uriah. Daniel is hanging out with him like they are long lost buds. This is hte man he'd committed adultery against with his wife. Daniel says to Uriah, ‘Hey, go home. Spend the night with your wife and come back and see me in the morning.

I want to send a message to the commander, and I want you to carry it. I'll give it to you in the morning.’ Unbeknownst to Uriah, Daniel had big plans. If Uriah goes home and sleeps with his wife, then Daniel is good. It'll be Uriah’s kid. No one will know the difference.

But that's not what Uriah did. Because Uriah was a faithful man, he was an honorable man, he slept on the porch of the palace.

He slept outside. The word came from the servants, ‘Uriah didn’t go home; he slept outside.’ David thinks, Uh oh. And so the next morning when Uriah comes back, David asks,

’Why didn’t you go home and sleep with your wife? And Uriah replies, ‘How could I sleep with my wife when my brothers in arms are sleeping on the cold ground on the battlefield?’

ThenDavid, the man after God's own heart, wrote a message to his general, Joab. And he says, ‘When Uriah gets there, send him to the front lines right in front of the gate, and then pull back the troops so that he dies.’ And Joab kept that word. And Uriah the Hittite died. So, Daniel stayed home. He let his eyes look somewhere they shouldn't have looked.

He committed adultery, then he committed first-degree murder. David, a man after God's own heart. Now, Gary, why are you telling us this story? Because David needed some mercy and he knew where to get it. Not one of us is better than David.

Every one of us has committed sin. Maybe we haven't done it the same way David did, but we're all sinners. And David knew what to do about this. And David was a man after God's own heart, not because he wasn't a sinner, because he was a sinner. It's because he knew the Lord and he knew how to go get mercy and forgiveness.

That's what made him a man after God's own heart; he knew God. And so he writes this in his diary, Psalm 51:1 (ESV) “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.” He wrote this right after Prophet Nathan came to him and said, ‘God knows what you did and as a result, that firstborn child between you and Bathsheba is going to die.

Not only that, but your whole kingdom. You're going to experience one of your own sons treating you the way you treated Uriah.’

”Have mercy on me, o God, according to your steadfast love, according to your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions.” He doesn't go to God and say, ‘You know, I'm the one who killed Goliath, remember? You know, I'm the one that's laying aside stuff to build you a temple. You know God,

I've been your man.’ No, he didn't go to God like that. He went to God and said, ‘Don't judge me according to me, because I'm a sinner.

According to your mercy, according to your steadfast love. Look at your accounts in heaven. Look at that and forgive me according to that, not according to me, because if you look at me, you won't be able to forgive me. Forgive me according to your mercy and your love.

Wash me with hyssop, make me whiter than snow, clean out the stain.’

God's faithful, and he did. In the book of acts in the New Testament, it reports once again that there was no one like David, that he was a man after God's own heart, not because he was a good man, but because he wasn't. He was a sinner. He was a messed up man, just like all of us messed up men and women in this room today. But because of a good God and because of Jesus and because of the mercy and grace and love of God, he made him clean.

Here's the third reason that we can put our hope in a faithful God.

3. Because of His faithful provision.

We're in the final part of verse 24. We're in verse 24. He says, “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”This is Jeremiah.

He's lost his home, he's lost his nation, he's lost the temple of God, he's lost his people. They've been carried off into captivity in Babylon. He's lost everything. He says, ‘You know, I didn't lose everything. My soul has just reminded me, I didn't lose God.

I still have him, and he's my portion, he's my provision. I'm going to be okay. He's my share, he's my allotment, he's my inheritance, I have God, he's my portion, I'm going to be okay. I've lost everything, but I have God. I haven't lost God, I have him.’ He says, 24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul…”

Now my flesh has been crying out for help, but my soul knows the truth, and my soul says, hope in God. Great is your faithfulness, he's my portion, therefore, I will hope in him.

Not in his provision, not in his stuff, not that if he does what I want him to, not if he fixes this, that no, I'm going to hope in him. And whatever he has for me, it's going to be what I want. I'm going to hope in him because he's faithful. He knows what's better for me than I know. I'm gonna hope in him.

Right in the middle of his lament, he has a moment of clarity as he gets to know his God better. You know, it seems to me that we learn the most about God and about ourselves in the valley, in suffering. If only we'll look to him.

He reveals the most about himself at those kinds of times. My portion. He's my portion. In the book of Philippians, Paul writes to the church at Philippi. He says, Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Every need. Because if Jesus is yours, if he's your portion, then everything else is yours, because everything belongs to him. If he's your portion, you can be at peace. Now, tomorrow's the first day of the month. Some of you are thinking, Ooh, my mortgage is due.

My car payment's due. I wish you hadn't brought that up. But God is my portion. He's my provision.

He will meet all my needs.

I have a surgery scheduled this week. God is my portion. Whatever it is. To begin to think like that, God, do you believe this? God will supply every need of yours according to his riches.

And not only will he provide, but he protects, he's a faithful protector. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 (ESV) But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. He will guard you.

And even in temptation, he'll give you a way out. He'll protect you.

Abraham was asked by God to take his son, his only son, by Sarah, the son of God's miraculous provision, the promised son, the “son of laughter.” Isaac means “laughter.” He was told to take him and sacrifice him on Mount Moriah. And as they traveled up the mountain, Isaac said, ‘Father, I see we have the wood and we have the fire, but we don't have the sacrifice.’ And Abraham, by faith, the scripture says, ‘God will provide a lamb.’

He believed that. He goes up, and he lays his son down on the stone. And as he lifts his knife to follow through, an angel stops him. And then he looks, and he sees a ram with its horns caught in a thicket. And God had provided a sacrifice.

And on that place, Abraham gave God a new name. Have you heard it before? “Jehovah Jireh,” the Lord will provide. And he named the place. I'm going to call this place “Jehovah Jireh.” Can you imagine the way that old man skipped down that hill?

”Jehovah Jireh.” He wrote himself a song I bet that day about “Jehovah Jireh,” the Lord will provide.

Anytime you have a need, I want you to say to yourself, “God is faithful.” “Jehovah Jireh,” he will provide and be at peace. His ultimate provision is Jesus. He is the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. He is my portion.

He is your portion. All of our needs are met in him. And so that we could say, as Jeremiah does, “The Lord is my portion.” Except maybe I would like to say it like this. “The Lord Jesus is my portion” because he is mine and I am his.

And all my needs are met in him.

Therefore, I will hope in him, I will trust in him, I will depend on him, and I will ask him to communicate to me his faithfulness so that I might be more faithful to him, first of all, but to my wife and to my children, to my grandchildren and to you, the church that God has entrusted to me. God, I want to be like you, Jesus. I want to be faithful. Don't you?

Back in 1923, a Kentucky man named Thomas Chisholm wrote a poem based on Lamentations, chapter 3:22-25. He'd been a pastor, but in his declining health, he had to leave his congregation. He no longer had the health to lead a church. In the years that followed, financial issues arose from hospitalizations and medical bills, and he continued to have financial trouble. Many people would have become bitter against God, and during this time of health and financial crisis, you would have thought Thomas would have been bitter, but he did quite the opposite.

Yes, he was no longer a minister, but now he had more time to focus on God and write out how he felt. And so he wrote poems. Yes, he had health problems, but God had given him a wife and two beautiful daughters that were his constant support. Yes, he had financial struggles, but he never lost his house, and they never went hungry and always seemed to have just enough to get by. No matter the struggle, Thomas always chose to see God's faithfulness.

His positive outlook never shifted. In 1923, he wrote a little poem, and he sent it to another Reverend William Runyan, a musician of the Moody Bible Institute and editor of Hope Publishing Company in Chicago. And he put it to music. He put the poem to music and it's become a beloved hymn.

It probably wouldn't have become a beloved hymn because it kind of sat on the shelf. A few people sang it at a few churches, but then evangelist Billy Graham heard the song at one meeting he was at, and he had it added, and so it became a constant at the evangelism crusades of Billy Graham. The song goes like this: “Great is thy faithfulness, O God, my father, there is no shadow of turning in thee. Thou changest not thy compassions, they fail not as thou has been, thou forever wilt be.

Great is thy faithfulness. Great is thy faithfulness. Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.”

Do you know this faithful God? Do you know his steadfast love, his mercies that are new every morning, his provision through his chief portion, which is Jesus? Let's pray.

Lord, I pray first for the person that's far from you today that came in without a relationship with you today. But you've been stirring their heart through your spirit. You've been inviting them into the family. Would you say “yes” to Jesus right now, right in your chair, right where you're at? Maybe you're watching online.

Wherever you're at right now, you can say “yes” to a relationship with Jesus. What's that look like? It's a conversation that begins with a conversation of faith through prayer. Will you pray with me? Pray like this.

Dear Lord Jesus, I'm a sinner and I repent of my sin. And I turn to you looking for forgiveness. I believe you died on the cross for my sin and that you were raised from the grave and that you live today. I believe that with all my heart. Now come into my life, forgive me of my sin and make me a child of God.

I want to follow you as my lord and savior the rest of my days. If you're praying a prayer of faith, believing the Bible says that he will save you, you'll begin the adventure of the abundant life of following Jesus as a new believer. Others are here today, and you're a Christ follower. You're a follower of Jesus, but you've been having some faithless days. Maybe today started out a little faithless.

Maybe you're like the father who Jesus asked, “Do you believe?” when he was asking for healing for his son? And the father said, “Lord, I believe. Help me with my unbelief.” Is that you today? Lord, I've been doubting.

I confess it to you right now. I've been faithless. I haven't been living up to the calling you put on my life. I haven't been trusting you for provision. I've been complaining.

Lord, forgive me. I recommit to you afresh. Right now I want to be faithful to you. Help me with my unbelief. I pray it now in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

Audio

Transcript

Good morning, church. It's good to see all of you this morning. I'm super thankful you're here. I'm excited to be continuing our series, an eight parter on this topic of who God is. This is sermon six in that series.

If you've missed some of those, we've talked about his love, his kindness. We talked about how he's unchanging and how he's a father. Just wonderful things. Characteristics of God we're gonna get into this morning the idea that God is faithful. And probably you heard a little bit of a theme of that.

I don't know if y'all know this, when we plan the worship sets, we try to aim them at the sermon. So you probably heard faithfulness. Faithfulness over and over and trust in God. And that's what we're singing about today. But it may surprise you to find out on when we're gonna dig into this idea of God is faithful, that we would be in the book of lamentations.

So that's where we're going to be today, lamentations, chapter three, which, if you've ever read any of it, you're going. I don't see how you're going to do that at all, because lamentations is indeed that. It's a lament. It's super sad. There's a part where it talks about how Israel, the wives of Israel, are so hungry that they're eating their young.

It's a terrible, terrible thing that's happening. And lamentations, however, tucked in the middle. The key of the whole book, if you will, is right here in lamentations chapter three. Now, our series theme and the whole reason that we would pursue who God is is because, first of all, God has told us to do so. John 17.

It says, this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you've sent, that's eternal life, to know him and his son, Jesus. Theologian and author Ji Packer says, what were we made for to know God. What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God? Disregard the study of God and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction, no understanding of what surrounds you.

This way you can waste your life and lose your soul. This is very true. We were made for a purpose, and he knows it. We were made for an ultimate purpose, and that is to know and follow him. And if we shirk that responsibility, we've missed our primary purpose in this life.

I want to share something with you real briefly, because I haven't really touched on this yet, but there's an idea in theology, if you will, of different attributes of goddess that are passed on to us. Now, they call this, and you may not like this word, especially after 2020, but they call these the communicable attributes of God and the incommunicable attributes. And we've shared a few of the communicable ones. This one writer writes on this, says, communicable attributes of God are those that humans can also possess, although only to the finite extent. If something is communicable, it can be transmitted to others.

Incommunicable attributes are those of God that are exclusive to him. We've talked about a couple of things that are those communicable traits. Love. See, we're made in the image of God, so he's passed on his essence in so many ways that we can love. We can be parents, we can be merciful, we can be kind, we can even be faithful.

Attributes like his love, his mercy, his kindness, they're all communicable. They belong to God, but they're reflected in us by the Holy Spirit. But there's some other attributes that we don't have and we won't have, and those are omniscience, omnipotence, unchanging. These are attributes that belong to God only. But this one we're talking about today is one we can shadow emulate, if you will, and that is, Goddesse is faithful.

But here's the thing. In all of these ways, these ones that God has passed on, that are part of his image bearers, this one of faithfulness is maybe the one that we struggle most with, if you will. As human beings, we live in a world of broken promises, broken relationships. If you've lived on this earth any amount of time, someone's lied to you, someone's broken their promise. For some of you, it's a deep, deep wound.

A parent, a spouse, someone that was not faithful, even though this is something God has certainly passed on to us, that the spirit of God can make us dependable and reliable and constant and trustworthy. But sometimes you find that when you really need people, they're not there. And sometimes you find that someone who said, hey, you know, till death threw us apart, they're not still there. That happens. It's happened to some of you.

Some of you are on the other end of that, and you might question God and go, well, I've been unfaithful. Why would he be faithful to me? You may be on the other side, and yet God remains steadfastly loyal to you. I hope this is encouraging this morning, both challenging, sure, but don't you wish there was somebody in your life that was perfectly faithful? I mean, you might have dear friends, you might have family members that have stood by you and have never failed you.

But I got news for you. They get tired and they run out of steam, and there'll be times where you call and they don't answer. That is not the God we serve. He is perfectly faithful. Perfectly faithful friends.

They stick with you through thick and thin. But God is always faithful, more than the best friend you could have. And that's what our, now, the writer of lamentation, just a little bit behind the scenes, is the prophet Jeremiah, and he is given one of, I would argue, one of the toughest tasks in the Bible, other than Jesus himself. I just want you to hear this for a second. Jeremiah 17.

God tells him what his calling will be, and I'm thankful. This is not what God said to me. He says to Jeremiah, you shall speak to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you. I may have quit on day one.

I might have said, no, Lord, no, I'm good on that. And yet Jeremiah is faithful, faithful to prophesy. Even when the king himself literally takes the copy of his prophecy, come straight from God as he's hearing it, he puts it over a candle and lets it burn. That's how his prophecies are treated in Israel. They throw him into a pit and leave him for dead.

The person, the people that save him are not even his own people. The Babylonians come and find him down there going, what is this? And then he writes this sad tale of lamentations. And right in the middle of it, with no place to turn, with nothing else to long for, he turned to a faithful God. That's where we're going to be today.

In lamentations, chapter three, the prophet Jeremiah declared his hope and God's faithfulness. In the midst of all this suffering, all this pain, all this sorrow, the nation's a wreck. He's been left for dead. And he declares, faithful, we can put our hope in God's faithfulness. We can do as Jeremiah.

And the text, I think, will give us three reasons. I pray that we can put our hope in him. Just a few verses. Lamentations 322 through 24. Here's what it says.

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.

God bless the reading of his word. Amen. We can hope in God's faithfulness first because of his faithful love. Love. The word here in the Hebrew in verse 22 is this hebrew word chesed.

Say that with me. Chesed. There you go. You know, one hebrew word and you get to make some funny sounds. This is the closest word we have in the Hebrew to what the Greeks call agape.

This is the idea of an unconditional kindness, a loving kindness, a unconditional love, a mercy. This is this big hebrew word. It's in the text over 200 times in the Old Testament. This is really one of the main character traits of who God is. And he pours out his faithfulness attached to his steadfast love.

You know, there are people, perhaps even in this room, that have been faithful to someone, but not because of love. They've done it because, well, we're family. I gotta stick by them. We're whatever you fill in the blank. No, God does it because of his steadfast chesed love.

Oh, that's what I want. I want someone who will walk with me because they want me. They want to be with me, not because they have to. And God certainly does not. Oh, he's got plenty of people and plenty of things to do.

He doesn't need little old me, and yet he wants me. And he wants you. Love, steadfast love. This is one of those comparables, in fact, throughout the psalms. I would encourage you to read, be reading through the psalms constantly, but you will see steadfast love and faithfulness attached at the hip over and over again.

I didn't do a full study on this, but I noted over a dozen times that these two words are in the same verse of a psalm. I'll give you one example. Psalm 89. It says, I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord forever. With my mouth.

I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. Your love and your faithfulness. Your love and your faithfulness. I'm thankful for a God who is faithful to me because of his love. Now, several times in this text, you'll see the word Lord.

Maybe some of your translations, my ESV does this, you'll see it in all caps. There's a reason for that. Some translators turn this into adonai. The reason it's in all caps is here we have Yahweh. This is the tetragrammaton.

If you will the holy covnental name of God, this is his big name. I am that I am, if you will. He says, jeremiah cries out to this lord. He says, I know that the God of all things, the one who has made covenant with Abraham, and now to us through his son Jesus, this lord, this Yahweh, his love never ceases. There's no getting around that.

One translator puts it this way, that it cannot be consumed. That means there's an endless supply, that God doesn't run out of love. Sometimes I joke with my wife that I will always love her, but I don't always like her. I know that's not good. Don't say that.

But every once in a while, she really gets on my nerves, and I know I get on hers. I get on my own nerves half the time. My kids, I love them. I'll never stop loving them. But I don't always like them.

But compared to God, I'm just like a partially filled vessel. You know, there's just times where I just run out of gas, I run out of steam for people. I don't want to put up with stuff. And yet this idea here, the idea of this hebrew word that's translated can't be finished. It can't cease.

Also, it can't be consumed. You could sip from this cup over and over and over again. It won't even make a dent. This is the kind of love, steadfast love, that God has for you. There's nothing you can do to make him love you less.

Now, certainly, you can reject his gifts, you can reject his son, but that doesn't change his love. It doesn't change his steadfast love for you. You can be confident. The text in several places, and there was a lot of different verses I thought about using to talk about God's faithfulness. One was right here in deuteronomy, chapter seven, where it says, no, that is, be confident.

Know, therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and what steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations. God is faithful. We can hope with certainty that he has called us into his faithful, loving family. One corinthians one, it says, God is faithful by whom you were called into the fellowship of his son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Now, this is the ultimate picture of what Jeremiah only saw in part what Moses, when he's writing deuteronomy, only saw a nugget of.

He's seeing this idea that God is loving his mercies. Are new every day. And when we keep his commandments, he shows up. And yet they don't know what's coming, that God will put his ultimate love on display. In fact, this is the very reason that John writes in John 316 that Christ came.

He came because of God's love. Agape, chesed, steadfast love. He loves us so much that he came and he died and he rose again. That's his love. Now, that's a whole nother level of faithfulness.

That's the kind of level of faithfulness that we only have in part. This is why this may be a communicable attribute of God, but we have it in just such a finite, limited way. Because if you make enemies with me, if you are constantly at me and against me, no matter how much I try to walk with the Lord, I'm just gonna, I'm gonna eventually just try to avoid you, because I'm trying to do what's right. And I don't want to be mean to people. And God's called me to be a pastor, and I don't want to, I don't want to mess up relationships, but I certainly don't have to hang out with you if you are rude.

And yet the Bible teaches something very fascinating here. It's that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That means his love has moved to a new level. Deuteronomy seven says he's faithful to those who love and keep his commandments. But he goes a step further than just that.

His love is poured out for a people who were a mess. His love is poured out for a people who rejected him or who were his enemies. Now, don't hear me say this. Okay, well, then, then I'll keep on sinning. Paul definitely deals with that in the book of Romans.

I'll just keep on living like a fool. No, what happens is when you come and encounter the steadfast, the faithful love of God, you can't help but change. You can't help it. This same thing is true in marriage. It's not that much different.

It's way more substantial, for sure. But I noticed something in myself that when I said I do to that little girl and I'm trying to be faithful to her, that something changed in me and I wanted it to change. I needed it to change. And same with her. It's not like her love somehow made me, like, not be myself anymore.

I've always looked at it as this was always the ideal me, because the single guy, the single guy was a mess. He had his eyes. Roaming eyes. Just. I'm looking for relationships and just a mess.

And the pre Christ, for so many of us, is not the ideal. You. No. I come to Christ and I'm encountering his love, and it makes me want to change. I'm happy to do it.

His love is faithful to us, and marriage is so perfect because Jesus says himself, he says through his word in Ephesians that he's the groom, the church is his bride. He gives us a lot of images for this. I would encourage you sometime, read that little bitty book back there called Hosea, where God tells this poor prophet, hey, go marry a prostitute so that I can show off how Israel's been treating me. Jeremiah got a rough recall, I think, but that one's pretty rough. So go marry this woman.

She's not going to be faithful to you, just like you guys have not been faithful to me.

But in the end, even in Hosea, we see that God remains faithful in spite of this wretched people who we are no different than. And yet, I want you to see this this morning. I don't know who needs to hear this today. Somebody might be walking away, might be feeling like God's far. I want you to know something.

God didn't move. He's just as close to you as he's ever been. You feel shame, you feel guilt. You feel like there's no way God could be faithful to me. I need you to set that aside and see that God remains faithful always.

That his love poured out to you when you were still sinners. He didn't require you to change before you received his love, but after, it's a big difference. Some of us believers in the room, we've been walking a rocky road. Like, man, I can't believe I'm still unfaithful to God in this area. I want you to know something, my friend.

Encounter his love in a fresh way today.

I used to, and I still struggle, y'all. There's many areas where I still am and God is at work in me, and I used to look intently at them and go, God, help. Help me to overcome this. And I found that more and more I wasn't overcoming it. But instead, when I replace all of this fear and all of this guilt and all this shame and everything, where I'm constantly in repentance, when I begin to transition from that and say, all right, today, Lord, help me to just focus on you.

Help me to see your love. Help me to put your mercy on display. The more I started to seek the attributes of God and walk with him, the less I had to complain about my woes. This is what he's doing here. He's faithful.

He's given us everything we need. Put your hope in God. Here's the second reason. And that is because of his faithful mercy. Oh, my goodness, Jeremiah.

For him to say this is fascinating, because God has really poured out his judgment on the people of Israel. Now, he was patient. If you read the text, you'll notice how patient he really was. Hundreds of years, generation after generation, who didn't follow the Lord, and he remained patient with them until finally he exiles them to Babylon for their own good. This is another part of his Love is his discipline.

That's what he's doing. And in the middle of all that, we see, Jeremiah, say, your mercies are new every morning.

They never cease, they never end, they're never finished. This idea of mercy is the idea of really the fruit of God's compassion for us.

That's an amazing thing. That he would look at us in his perfect holiness, in his justice, and have compassion for our brokenness. That amazes me. I struggle with compassion, and I'm a mess. There are certain people that struggle with certain things, and I go, well, that's wild.

Why that? But God doesn't. We don't see that on display from our Lord. No. It says his mercies are new every day.

They're fresh. This is about his tenderness, his hospitality towards us, his forgiveness, mercy. You know what mercy does? It withholds punishment. Withholds punishment, and that's exactly what God has done.

Oh, his mercy doesn't end. He has every right to punish, and we would all be deserving of it. In spite of that, he is all love and all mercy. And then these mercies are new every day. Now, I really kind of try to get my head around that this week, because it was good enough for me to hear that his love never ends and his mercy never ceases.

Isn't that good enough? But he pauses to say one more thing, that I'm noticing something about his mercy every day. It's not just that I know, like, from a distance or somehow, like, theologically, I know that God's mercy never ends. No, Jeremiah says, I'm seeing them day by day. John Gilwyn writing on this, he says, there are instances of mercy every day, not only in a temporal but in a spiritual sense.

They are ever new, always fresh, vigorous, constant and perpetual. I really had to rack my brain about that this week as I was studying, like, what does it mean that he's got new mercy for me every day? Or perhaps. I mean, maybe Jeremiah is thinking this way, and maybe this sounds petty to you, but every moment that I take another breath is somewhat his mercy that I get to step my foot out of the bed in the morning and hopefully something's not creaking or aching. Okay, that's mercy, but that's not exactly what he's talking about.

No, every. For me, at least. And I would encourage you to wrestle with this idea. What does it mean, God, that your mercies are new every morning for me? I think what this is about is the idea that when I dial God tomorrow morning, he's there.

He's there the next day, and I can call him at lunch.

He's on speed dial. He's always available. His mercy, his compassion, his openness before me is constant. And there's nothing I can do today or tomorrow that's going to make his mercies not be new.

And then he finishes right in the center of that statement with, great is your faithfulness. The word here in great, and the word here in Hebrew is most like, abundant. That is, your faithfulness, again, is overflowing to us. I can't reach the bottom. It is a vast supply.

His faithful mercy has moved us towards forgiveness and towards salvation. Titus, chapter three. It says, he, Jesus saved us not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit. God's faithfulness to us, in fact, is unconditional, for we belong to him as his children. Some of you need to hear this first this week, second Timothy, two.

If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he can't deny himself.

There are times, church, where I feel like I can't pray. You ever feel that way? You ever feel like there's times that either you've done something you feel shame about, or you just feel like you've just. You've not been in right relationship with God for a while. You've just put him off.

Maybe you haven't done something you feel super ashamed of, but you've just drifted away and started doing your own life your way. And you feel like. You feel like what would happen in a human relationship, like, if you hadn't called your mom in a while and you dial her up, you're like, this is going to be bad. All right? At first, she's going to ream me out, and she probably will.

You know why? Because she's a human. We do not serve a God who is like man. We serve a faithful, loving, merciful God. But we feel this way about him.

Like, oh, he's gonna slap me on the wrist. He's gonna make me feel bad. Or maybe we just feel so terrible about ourselves, like, there's no way God wants to talk to me. Oh, that's what wrecks my prayer so often. It's like, there's no way.

Cause I know better, you know? You ever get like that? I know better. There's no way God wants to talk to me. It's wild.

Cause it's exactly when he wants to talk. Because he always wants relationship with us. He made us for himself. He didn't have, like some kind of alternate purpose. Like, I'm gonna make these little people and just let them run about and see what they do.

Woo hoo hoo. And this is like a tv show for me. It's not what God did. So I made these people for myself, and I want a relationship with them forever.

I want to learn to pray like David. And I got to admit, he's done some stuff that, at least from the world's perspective, is way worse than me. And yet the Bible says he's a man after God's own heart. It's fascinating. And yet this man, when he's supposed to be at war, looks off his balcony and sees a beautiful woman bathing and says, I got to have it, and has her come in, even though she's married and does more than that.

That would have been pretty rough. That would have been pretty rough already. But to try to make things right, crazy as that sounds, I'm going to bring him home, that he can be with his wife. And, man, if this guy isn't the real deal, Uriah the Hittite shows up. I'm not going in to be with my wife when my troops are out on the battlefield.

This is a good man. And David says, send me to the front line, and he gets killed. Boy, that's tough. There's a lot of places in the Bible where bad men die, but no, David has a good man, a good man executed and sleeps with his wife. I would argue that's one of the worst things you could do, at least from man's perspective.

In spite of that, look at how David prays. The prophet Nathan comes and tells him, your son, that Bathsheba is about to have. He's going to die. That's the price of this terrible, terrible thing you've done. I would say even that was God's mercy.

If I were God in this situation by David, but this is the cost. And what does David do?

I probably would have just accepted that information and said, well, of course, God, you have every right to do that. I'm a terrible dweeb. No, he says, I'm going in there. I'm praying for this boy. Look at psalm 51.

He says, have mercy on me, o God, according to your steadfast love, according to your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions. What does he do? He goes and prays for the kid until it's done. Now, the Lord doesn't remove his judgment. This child is taken.

But David doesn't give up in prayer.

I could learn a lot from that. Cause I haven't. I've made some mistakes, and I walked away from God going, there's no way. There's no way he's gonna change his mind about what he said. There's no way.

No, that's not what David sees. God, I know who you are. See this again, church. See this again, David's, he's looking at his, he's coming at this with repentance, but he's reminding God. But more than that, he's reminding himself about who God is.

God, I know these things are true about you. You are altogether loving. I know this. You are abundantly merciful. Your faithfulness never ceases.

That's how he approaches God. I don't know what you're gonna do, Lord, but I know who you are and I trust you. And he doesn't stay in a heap for the time when that kid was suffering and hadn't yet passed on, he ripped his clothes. He's in sackcloth and ashes. He's praying.

He's not eating, he's fasting. And as soon as the kid passes, David shakes it off, goes on praying about other things. He moves past that. Why? Because he knows that he did everything in his power to seek the Lord.

Oh, I could learn a lot from that. I pray that's encouraging to you today, maybe for you. You're thinking, wow, I've made a big, awful mess of things. But here's who I know. God is altogether loving, abundantly merciful.

His faithfulness never ends. Oh, that's true for you, my friend, believer all the more. Sometimes we as christians think, oh, well, because we should know better, he definitely is going to be more angry with us. It's not so. No, he's calling us back into community.

God is faithful to show us mercy. Here's the third and final reason. Because he's of his faithful provision. At this point, Jeremiah is writing something that is simply true. Verse 24.

Jeremiah writes, the Lord is my portion.

And Jeremiah can honestly say, because I have no other portion, there's nothing else. Now, we're right blessed in this place. Some of us have substantial portions. And yet, in the scheme of things, as a believer, the only thing that's really true is that God is your portion. All this other stuff, so much of this is dust.

Jeremiah says, the Lord is my portion, my soul. I find hope in him. He's my territory. This word is great. It's such a rich word.

He's my share. He's my allotment. Do you want to know, Christian, what your reward is today for coming to Christ? Him? I don't.

I get really worried about some of the preaching I used to do, and I hope that you will show me grace for the guy. Ten years ago, if some of y'all heard that, I used to really feel like I need to tell people what's going to happen that's so good. When you come to Christ, and I still believe that, I think your ideal, again, your ideal self, is in God, is in Christ Jesus. You're going to finally see your purpose. You're going to see true peace and joy.

That doesn't mean you're not going to face suffering. It doesn't mean that suddenly everything's going to be rainbows and butterflies. Absolutely not. But here's the thing. I don't even need to convince you of that.

It's not my job. It's not yours either. What? Good news. This should be enough good news to you today, that when you come to Christ, you get Christ.

That when you come to God, you get God. The eternal, infinite one with all of the character traits you've been longing for, the faithfulness, the mercy, the goodness, they're all his perfectly. You don't need anything else. You were made for a hymn. I pray that's more than enough for you today.

It probably made me a little bit less exciting as an evangelist to just hear. I got great news. Here's what you really get. You get God. There's nothing better.

And after walking with him up, down, mistake here and there, I know this Jeremiah is not wrong. The one thing I need, I need him. I need his mercy. I need him to not look over me and say, that boy, he's a mess. He's too far gone.

No, I need God. I need his goodness, his faithfulness. I need it more than breath, because he's where eternity lies. My soul. Jeremiah says this is where I put my hope and God promises all these wonderful things.

I could have been in one corinthians. I could have been in Philippians to share all these wonderful places and many other places where God says, hey, I'm going to supply your needs. Just come to me. I'm going to take care of all the other stuff. Hey, quit worrying about the lilies of the field and what you're going to eat.

Remember all this, right? Look what he says in Philippians four. My God will supply every need of yours according to the riches in glory in Christ Jesus. The word there is need. That's a key word.

Some of you might need to reevaluate exactly what needs are. It doesn't say, my God will supply every want. Nope, not there. I'm sorry. If you were looking for health and wealth at this church, you won't find it.

You will find a that you will get Christ, and he will supply what you need. God's provision includes something wonderful that is his faithful protection. Second, thessalonians three, it says, the Lord is faithful. He will establish you. He will guard you against the evil one.

Again, going full circle to this idea of facing sin and dealing with repentance. So many of us, including myself, have tried to, like, I'm gonna overcome it. I'm gonna win. And I just keep losing because that was never what was supposed to happen. He says, I will establish, I will guard.

Crazy that I would go up and wage war against something I have no power over, yet God has all of it. I will guard you. One of the many names of God is Jehovah Jireh. We sing a song about that. It means, literally, the Lord will provide.

It appears once in Genesis 22, in a really wild spot where Abraham named this place called Mount Moriah, where he went up to sacrifice Isaac. It's a fascinating story. It really bothers some people that God would even ask him to do this. I would say it's because God always knew what he was going to do. He's shadowing, foreshadowing something, as he does through most of his word, because God sees outside of our little bitty individual task.

He sees the bigger scheme of things, and he's got a plan. And he wants to put on display for his people that one day I'm going to provide a lamb. But it's not this day.

So he stops Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, which was always his intent, and then provides him with a ram. And this is where Abraham says, jehovah Jireh. He will provide, and that's exactly what he's done. And there's no better place to end with what God's faithfulness really means. His ultimate provision to us is that he looked at a people deep in sin, deeply in mess, and said, I will provide, Jireh.

I will provide. And it will look like this, my ultimate suffering. That's how much I love you. You want to know what God's mercy looks like? His mercy says, I'll take it for you.

That's more than mercy. That's a great kind of love, the greatest, if you will. In fact, Jesus says there's no greater love than this, than that a man would lay down his life for his friends, and yet Jesus does it for his enemies. You want to know God's ultimate protection provision? It's the person of Jesus.

Now, if you've not said yes to that today, then you've opted out of this thing that God has done his ultimate provision. You have said, the Lord is not my portion, and you've made the decision. You will go on on your own. And that's a difficult road, one that ends in torment. He says, no, the Lord is my portion, therefore I will hope in him.

Now we can put a name to that. Jesus is my portion. He's my allotment. He's my share. I want to conclude with a song that I couldn't help but sing pretty much the entire time I was writing this sermon.

It came to me early, and I couldn't get it out of my head. In 1923, there was this man in Kentucky named Thomas Chisel who wrote a poem based on lamentations three. He had been a pastor, but he had declining health, and this forced him to leave the pastorate. He just couldn't keep it up. In the years that followed, he had all these financial woes.

Hospital bill after hospital bill. Many people probably would have become quite bitter in this season. And yet Thomas reads lamentations three and thinks, yeah, I get that. And he writes this wonderful poem which he puts to music. He sent his poem to a man named William Runyon, who worked at the time at the Moody Bible Institute.

And I would argue one of the greatest hymns was born. And I always have trouble with the first verse. I'm pretty good with the chorus. Help me out. All right.

Those of you who know it, great is thy faithfulness, o God, my father, there is no shadow of turning with thee. Thou changest not thy compassions, they fail not as thou hast been, thou forever wilt be course time. Great is thy faithfulness. Great is thy faithfulness. Morning by morning, new mercies I see all I have needed.

Thy hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto.

That always sounds better in my head than when I go to sing it out loud. Those old hymns are in there, but I don't. They're not perfect. He goes on. The next verses are great.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, sun, moon and stars in their courses above join with all nature and manifold witness to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love, pardon for sin and peace that endureth thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Blessings all mine with 10,000 beside.

Great is thy faithfulness, I pray that gets trapped in your head as you leave today. Those of you who know the old hymn, morning by morning, new mercies I see. Are you going through a season right now of hardship or trouble or maybe not so much that, but you just feel a distance to God. I want you to know something. Great is his faithfulness.

It is abundant. His mercies are new every day. He has not moved his position from you. His love is poured out for you and will consistently do so.

Will you place your hope in him, knowing that his love for you is steadfast, his mercy ceaseless, and his provision perfectly displayed for you in Christ Jesus? Let's pray now together. Heavenly Father, we thank you so much that you are a faithful God.

We don't always see this modeled well, Lord, so we end up, so many of us being a people who can't trust, being a kind of people that don't trust anybody. And we have a hard time trusting you because it's hard for us to imagine that somebody would be perfectly faithful because all we've seen is failure after failure.

And yet, God, I come in faith today saying, I believe you are steadfastly loving. Your love never ends your mercy, Lord, I pray we would see it. I pray that day in and day out, we would notice it, that as we seek your face, we would feel your mercy poured out afreshev new mercies morning after morning. But God, the thing that I see that makes all of this so clear, Lord, the thing that makes my heart grateful today, Lord Jesus, is that you came. And the thing I know confidently is that God must be faithful because of you, Lord Jesus, he must be.

And I'm putting my faith in that today, believing that God must be all love, he must be all mercy. Because why else would he have done this for me? Thank you for who you are to us. Lord, thank you for what you've done with your son Jesus and this ultimate provision. I pray for your people today that they would receive it, even for the believers in the room, that they would receive it anew today, that it would be a fresh taste of your goodness and mercy and love.

I have a feeling like myself, we doubt your faithfulness, your people, I'm sure. And maybe it's something we did, or maybe it's something that happened in our life, and we're thinking, how could God allow it? God, I pray that your mercy and love and your faithfulness and your provision would be perfectly on display today in their lives, that they would have an encounter with you knowing that this God is indeed faithful, that they would take a fresh look at Jesus and what you've done and go, I'm not going to walk away. Though I may doubt, though I may wander, though I may struggle in my own sin, I'm not walking away. God, give us courage and boldness.

Give us the faith that you provide. Help us to see your mercies afresh day by day. We love you. Help us to be your people on mission in this community. In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.


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