I. JEREMIAH HAS JUST WITNESSED THE SEVERE JUDGMENT OF GOD AGAINST THE NATION OF JUDAH.
A. "I have seen the affliction of the rod of His wrath."
1. He saw the indiscriminate slaying of the populace. Neither the young children or the old and feeble people were spared.
2. He saw the Temple of God profaned, and then destroyed.
3. He saw the fires consume the city.
4. He is now viewing the ruined remains.
B. He feels as though God has become their enemy.
1. "Surely He has turned against me."
2. "He has led us into darkness, and shut out the light."
3. "He has surrounded me with bitterness and travail."
4. "He has set me in the dark place of the dead from which their is no escape."
5. He has torn us like a bear or a lion.
6. He has bent His bow and made us the target for His arrows, His arrow pierced my heart.
7. He has broken my teeth with gravel stones.
C. The effect that this had on the prophet.
1. He felt that he had drunk the cup of bitterness. That he was forced to drink gall and wormwood. Wormwood was known as the most bitter substance.
2. He felt that he had lost touch with God. "When I cry and shout He does not listen to my prayers.
3. He felt great turmoil within.
II. IN THE MIDST OF THIS DESPAIR A THOUGHT COMES TO MIND THAT CHANGES THE WHOLE OUTLOOK. IT TURNS HIS DESPAIR TO HOPE.
A. "It is the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed."
1. I really deserved worse than I received.
2. If it were not for the mercy of God, I would be dead and in hell.
B. He began to think of God's compassion. God is a compassionate God.
1. So many times in the New Testament we read of Jesus having compassion on the multitudes, or on an individuals needs.
2. The phrase, "He was moved with compassion toward them." was an often used phrase concerning Jesus.
3. He said, "If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father."
4. Jeremiah said two things concerning the compassion of God.
a. "They fail not." God never fails to be compassionate. The judgment of God never comes until every means of grace has been exhausted. It is like facing a judge who loves you and is looking for some loophole. Any excuse to free you.
b. "They are new every morning." It seems that God is looking for some way to demonstrate His love for us each new day.
C. "Great is Thy faithfulness."
1. Even in the judgment that he had just observed, the faithfulness of God was manifested.
2. God had been promising for years that if they would not repent and turn to Him that He would surely judge them.
3. They had ignored the warnings of God, they had mocked the prophet of God, they declared that he had been harping on that same tune for years, and nothing had happened.
4. There is one thing in life of which you can be sure, God will keep His word. His promises are true. That should bring joy and comfort to your heart, or should strike you with absolute terror. The difference being your relationship with Him.
D. The three aspects of the nature of God brought comfort to the soul of the troubled prophet. God is merciful. He is compassionate. He is faithful.
III. THE CONCLUSION, "IT IS GOOD TO BE ON THE LORD'S SIDE."
A. He has witnessed the righteous judgment of God upon the wicked. He has seen what devastation sin can bring to a nation, or to an individual.
B. It is good that a man should both hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
1. So we today find ourselves hoping for the salvation of the Lord.
a. I feel sorry for those who are hoping in the government for their salvation.
b. I feel even greater sorrow for those who are hoping in the promises of the politicians.
c. I view with pity the man who is trying to save himself.
d. Our prayer daily should be, "Lord, save our nation, save our schools, and save our families."
2. Then quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
a. There is one commandment in the scriptures that I seem to constantly be breaking. "Fret not thyself because of evil doers, the men that bring wicked devises to pass." I plead guilty, just mention the names of Jerry Brown, or Ted Kennedy, or Carl Sagen, or Norman Leer, and I begin to fret when I see the influence they have had on our state, and our nation. But like Isaac Asminov, the day is coming when they also will be cut off.
b. In that same Psalm we are also commanded to "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."
3. The question is, "Is God in control of His Universe or not?" Has man become so powerful as to have wrestled things out of the hand of God?
C. When your heart becomes overwhelmed by the circumstances of life, you feel that even God has deserted you. Remember, His mercies, His compassion and His faithfulness. Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father, there is no shadow of turning with Thee, Thou changest not, Thy compassion they fail not, great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.