Lamentations 2:20-3:24; Hebrews 1:1-8; Psalms 101:4-8; Proverbs 22:7
OT: “I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is. Then I thought, “My future is lost, as well as my hope from the Lord.” Remember my affliction and my homelessness, the wormwood and the poison. I continually remember them and have become depressed. Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! I say, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.”” (Lamentations 3:17-24 CSB)
Tradition attributes the authorship of Lamentations to the prophet Jeremiah. For forty years Jeremiah spoke the prophetic words of the Lord that called the people of Judah and Jerusalem to turn back to God and be faithful to His covenant. The people of Judah put their hope in the temple and the covenant that God made with David. They believed that God would never allow His temple to be destroyed and would never allow anything to disrupt the Davidic dynasty, so they ignored Jeremiah’s warnings and continued in their unfaithfulness to God. They conveniently forgot about the covenant God made with the people during Moses’ leadership. God would bless them as long as they were faithful to His covenant stipulations, but if they turned away from Him, blessing would end and disaster would follow. The Lord is always faithful to all of His covenants, and the people soon realized that God was faithful to bring discipline, just as He promised.
The book of Lamentations is comprised of five laments that Jeremiah wrote after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians. Jeremiah grieved deeply at the loss of his nation, and he honestly expressed that grief and sadness to the Lord. Were his forty years of ministry a waste of time? If only the people had listened and responded to his words, not of this would have happened. The glorious temple of God had been burned to the ground. The holy city of Jerusalem was destroyed. King Zedekiah’s heirs had all been killed and Zedekiah was imprisoned in Babylon. Was all hope lost? Had all of God’s promises come to an end?
It is good and right to honestly express our emotions to God, but we can’t stop there. We also need to be honest about who God is. That is exactly what Jeremiah did. He poured out his grief to the Lord, admitting that he was feeling hopeless and depressed amidst all the destruction, pain, uncertainty and suffering. But then, he remembered who God was. Out of his words of remembrance, which rekindled his hope, came the this great hymn of the church: “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. 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.” Out of great pain and grief can come great and everlasting hope, if our hope is placed on the Lord.
NT: “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. So he became superior to the angels, just as the name he inherited is more excellent than theirs.” (Hebrews 1:1-4 CSB)
No one knows for certain who wrote the book of Hebrews. Some scholars suppose that Paul could have written it. Others suggest it could have been written by Barnabas or Apollos. Only God knows for sure who wrote the book, but that doesn’t take away from the validity of its content. This book was included in the cannon of scripture based completely on the powerful truth contained within its pages, and not on its authorship.
The majority of Christians in the first century were Jewish. Jesus was a Jew. His disciples were Jews. Christianity began amongst the Jews and initially spread through Jewish synagogues. As pressure and persecution against this new-found faith continued to escalate, many Jewish-Christians wondered if they had made the right choice in accepting Christ and were tempted to return to Judaism. Hebrews was written primarily to those Jewish people… to prove that Christ is better.
For those who have come to faith in Christ and become recipients of His redemptive work, all of their hope, for the present and the future, is placed squarely and completely on Him. Is Christ worthy of that faith and hope, or was He merely a historical figure with some good teachings and an interesting back-story? As the writer of Hebrews explained, Christ is the Son of God and Heir of all things. He is not a created being, for in fact, all things were created through Him. Christ is the radiance – the perfect and unhindered reflection of God’s glory. Christ is the exact expression of God’s perfect, holy and divine nature. As the Apostle John write, Christ is the Word of God made flesh, and all things are sustained by His powerful words. After He completed His purposes on earth, He ascended into heaven and is seated forever at the right hand of God the Father with power and authority over all. This is who our hope is on, and what a sure and steadfast source of hope He is!
Prayer: Lord, what a comfort to know that You are always and ever faithful. As Jeremiah declared, Your mercies never run out and are new every morning. You aren’t just a historical figure or an idea – You are the God of all Creation, Who rules and reigns over all with complete authority and unlimited power. Faith and hope in You is vastly better than faith and hope in any other person or thing. Help me to always remember, even in the darkest of days, who You are and the unfailing nature of Your character. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.