The Kingdom of Israel has split and fallen into exile. After King Solomon the people of God devoured one another in their desire for power. The northern kingdom was known as Israel and the southern kingdom was Judah. The north went into exile first and then the south. The people ignored the prophets that God sent. The people ignored their sin and ignored their God. For their own good God disciplined them by sending them into exile.
Lamentations are often credited to the Prophet Jeremiah they are some of the saddest and heartbreaking writing in human history. Chapter three is the climax of the book and offers hope to the hopeless.
I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of his wrath;
he has driven and brought me
into darkness without any light;
surely against me he turns his hand
again and again the whole day long.
The despair is palpable. Yet the poet then writes,
Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
and bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
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.”
(bold and italics added for emphasis)
In the midst of judgment and discipline, we must remember that God’s love never ceases and his mercy is new every day. This is the hope that we have! This is amazing grace!