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Sermon – 12/28/03
Lamentations 3:22-23 -
All New

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ALL NEW
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

At the present time, it’s right on the edge of a New Year in much of the “Western” world, and many are looking forward to the year 2004.  For others, though, it’s a time of introspection, of remembering the mercies of God.

During Bible College in the 70’s, through the writings of the scholars of the time, I found areas of unbelief inside myself.  There were many surprises as God continued the process of healing, renewing faith in Him, faith in His Word.  The process still goes on, more than a quarter century later, and I think when we’re honest, it lasts throughout all our lives.  It’s like a war, in which the Lord establishes a beachhead within us, and then continues to invade our unbelief, replacing it bit-by-bit with trust in Him.

One of my problems of the time was the miracle of the floating axe head in 2 Kings Chapter 6.  The Lord wonderfully took me out of unbelief in relation to that incident, which has produced unexpected blessings in many areas, not only for me, but also for those who have heard the story.  I lost my fear of flying in airplanes because of it, an unanticipated bonus.  If you’re curious, write to: Ron@FridayStudy.org.

Another area of concern was about a man named Uzza, in 1 Chronicles Chapter 13.  I was reminded of the Chronicles account just a short time ago, through an article in the “Daily Bread,” by Albert Lee, and you may remember the story: King David, with very good intentions, decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to the City of Jerusalem.  He took the idea “to all the congregation of Israel” (1 Chronicles 13:2).  And “all the congregation” liked the idea, for it “was right in the eyes of all the people” (verse 4).

Widespread agreement among people does not make something right, and we catch a glimpse of this in verse 9, when we see that Uzza, with intentions just as good as David’s, “put out his hand to hold the ark, for the oxen stumbled.”  That seemed like a good thing when I first read about it, in 1970, but verse 10, the next verse, was a shock: “The anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzza, and He struck him because he put his hand to the ark; and he died there before God.

That was more than I could handle, for in my ignorance, I liked what Uzza did, and it seemed reasonable that David would want to bring the Ark to Jerusalem.  This incident has been filed away in my “heart” ever since that time.  I believed that the incident happened, for I was and am persuaded that the Bible is historically accurate.  Considering that it really occurred, WHY did God strike Uzza?

The answer was in Mr. Lee’s article, and as I read it, I murmured, “of course,” as I have done so many other times after learning some truth in the Word of God.  The people had been told on many occasions and in varying settings, that the Ark of the Covenant was to be carried only by certain Levitical priests, called the “Sons of Kohath,” and only on poles, not on a cart, and no one was to touch the Ark (Exodus 25:14-15, Numbers 3:30-31, 4:15).  As Mr. Lee pointed out - when we clearly are shown God’s will in a matter, we show respect and love for Him by obeying Him completely.  Understanding is good, and God gives great understanding to His people, but obedience based in love comes first.

David indeed had plenty of information and knew that only certain men, under certain conditions, could move the Ark, as we see in his later statement in 1 Chronicles 15:2, where David said, ‘No one may carry the Ark of God, but the Levites, for the Lord has chosen them to carry the Ark of God and to minister before Him forever.’”  Mr. Lee concluded, in the “Daily Bread” article, “To please the Lord, we must do His work HIS way.”

Amen.  My misunderstanding lasted 30-years, but in God’s time, understanding has come.  A double blessing: Not only do we now see what went wrong with Uzza, but we also gain new understanding about our relationship with the Lord.  He DOES command His people, and He DOES expect us to respond, doing “His work HIS way.”  Something NEW is here – Faithfulness to God, who EXPECTS us to trust in what He is doing, and know that what He is doing is good.  Our attempts to please God are to be in ways of HIS choosing and for HIS purposes.  He is continually blessing us. – We should want to please Him in return.

Our Scripture today is found in Lamentations 3:22-23 --- “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).  Those words were written by the prophet and author, Jeremiah.  He has often been called “the weeping prophet” because of his tender love and grief for his people.  He remarked, “My eyes fail with tears, my heart is troubled, my bile is poured on the ground because of the destruction of the daughter of my people” (Lamentations 2:11).  He had faithfully spoken the words God gave him to utter, but he also cried at the fate of Israel.  He personally suffered at the hand of God, calling out, “I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath…” (Lamentations 3:1).

According to mystory-mysong.com, the song (“Great is Thy faithfulness”) is from a poem by Thomas O. Chisholm, who was ordained in 1903, served a brief pastorate at Scottsville, Kentucky, and retired in 1953 to a Home for the Aged in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Chisholm wrote over 1200 poems, of which 800 were published. Many were set to music.  According to Chisholm, there were no special circumstances that prompted him to write “Great is Thy faithfulness” – just, as he put it, “experience and Bible truth.”  In a letter of 1941, he said, “My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in earlier years which has followed me until now. Though I must not fail to record… the faithfulness of… God, that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.

Life is not what any of us anticipate, but consider the words of men who encountered God, and then reflected on Him.  They observed that “His compassions fail not. They are new every morning;” concluding: “Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).  Life may be hard, but God is with us, and every day, we can be New in Him, as observed by Jeremiah, Thomas Chisholm, and millions who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord, I trust in You now.  You are faithful, Lord, and I want to be made New in You.  Let me trust in You, trust in Your Word.  Thank You.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.


Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

www.FridayStudy.org
www.FirstChurchontheNet.org
www.BlessedHands.org
E-mail: Ron@FridayStudy.org
Tel: (562) 688-5559
PO Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)