Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pearls of Theology

In other news, I was contemplating this morning Lamentations 3:22-23:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. (ESV)

I say that verse in the morning often -- probably 4 mornings of every week, I thank God that his mercies are new every morning. But this morning I realized that I don't really don't say "mercies" with anything specific in mind.

So I checked out Matthew Henry's commentary and was reminded that Lamentations is being written in the midst of great suffering and great grief. I don't have time to any research on the matter, but it seems like there are two variants of the text. One of them, which the NIV and KJV follow, begins, "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail." Jeremiah writes this while weeping for his people and his city, and after reciting the bitter trials are the result of the Lord's anger with Israel (read Lam 3 sometime and notice how many times Jeremiah says, "HE has done this to me).

But he does not stop there ... he has one of those "BUT" moments that we see so often in the Psalms. And he confesses that it is because of God's great mercy that they are not altogether consumed. The passage goes on to describe God's goodness to those who hope in him, and to encourage readers to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. And, I suppose while you are waiting quietly, you would do well to "count your blessings (mercies) one by one" -- and the count will never cease because as soon as one day ends, you will have new mercies to recount the following day.

Of this passage in the KJV, Matthew Henry says,
"That even in the depth of their affliction they still have experience of the tenderness of the divine pity and the truth of the divine promise. They had
several times complained that God had not pitied (ch. ii. 17, 21), but here they correct themselves, and own, 1. That God's compassions fail not; they do not really
fail, no, not even when in anger he seems to have shut up his tender mercies.
These rivers of mercy run fully and constantly, but never run dry. No; they are
new every morning; every morning we have fresh instances of God's compassion
towards us; he visits us with them every morning (Job vii. 18); every morning does he bring his judgment to light, Zeph. iii. 5. When our comforts fail, yet God's compassions do not. 2. That great is his faithfulness. Though the covenant
seemed to be broken, they owned that it still continued in full force; and, though Jerusalem be in ruins, the truth of the Lord endures for ever. Note, Whatever hard things we suffer, we must never entertain any hard thoughts of God, but must still be ready to own that he is both kind and faithful."

May we never tire of blessing the Lord for the great things he has done for us!


Amanda said...

Thanks, Molly - that's a great reminder of how much we have to thank God for!

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