A sign hangs in my kitchen that I see often. It’s a small piece of metal with the date 04/15/2015 tied to a piece of old, faded rope.
I glance at it each morning when the sun gleams off the metal and it’s often the last sign I see at night before I turn out the lights and head upstairs to bed.
It’s the date my husband and I renewed our vows in front of 125 guests at the Minden Opera House.
This sign has saved me headaches and heartache over the years. It has adjusted my attitude when it was bitter and full of venom. It has prompted me to wipe tears from my eyes and keep loving my husband despite his words or actions or whatever it may be that is causing the hurt.
When Chris and I renewed our vows, we did so after 15 years of marriage because we had made so many mistakes before we both had become followers of Jesus.
Renewing our vows took on a new meaning after Chris and I both learned the art, dance, and grace of Lamentations 3:22 because it’s the way the God of the universe loves us. This is how the God of the universe treats me.
God’s Love for Us
Lamentations 3:22-23 is God’s ultimate love letter to us playing on loop: “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 keeps showing up — forgiving again and again despite our bad behavior.
He grants new mercies with unswerving faithfulness. Have you ever wondered why Jeremiah says that God’s steadfast love and mercies never cease and yet they are new every morning?
We might say Jeremiah was speaking philosophically or being poetic. In fact, he was being both. At the time, he was a prophet and wrote the book of Lamentations in a time of grief and national mourning, after the once-great city of Jerusalem fell to Babylon, circa 586 BC.
The main theme of the book is God’s judgment on Judah’s sin as well as His compassion for His people. Lamentations contains “laments” for Jerusalem and many expressions of heartache, anguish, and pain. But then in chapter three, right in the middle of the book, there is a beautiful passage of confidence and hope.
The opening words of these verses contain two breathtaking truths:
1. God’s love for us is steadfast.
2. God’s love for us never ceases.
When it says that the Lord’s love is steadfast, it means that it doesn’t waver in intensity. He fully, 100% loves us all the time. There is never a moment when God’s love for us is not at 100% intensity. Ponder that glorious truth for a moment.
At every moment, God loves you at max capacity. He cannot love you any more than he loves you at this minute. Because you are in Christ, God loves you with the same intense, overwhelming love that he has for his own son.
My love for my husband is fickle, which is why that sign is hung in plain view so I can remember to choose to be steadfast. God, on the other hand, isn’t fickle! The Lord’s “great love” or steadfast love abides forever and always.
Here, we see in Lamentations, despite their behavior, God never stopped loving Israel, despite His discipline of them. The Hebrew word translated “great love” is used about 250 times in the Old Testament; it refers to love but it also encompasses elements of mercy, compassion, faithfulness, goodness, grace, and forgiveness.
It is God’s “great love” for His people that spared them from being utterly wiped out by Babylon. As we know from history, God later restored His people to their land and blessed them again.
The Mercies of the Lord Never End
We also see a second theme in this passage. Jeremiah not only touched on God’s great love, but he also wrote about God’s unfailing compassion or mercy. Mercy in the Bible is God withholding punishment we deserve. The same word used for “mercy” in Lamentations 3:22 is the same word used in Isaiah 63:7.
The word in Hebrew is “chesed.” It means a love or affection that is steadfast based on loyalty or devotion, especially in relationship to the covenant and God as its author. Out of the faithfulness of His covenant God grants mercy. His mercy is limitless and can never fail.
It has to do with tender love, great and tender mercy. Speaking of the unending mercies of God, Charles Spurgeon says: “God’s mercy is so great that you may sooner drain the sea of its water, or deprive the sun of its light, or make space too narrow, than diminish the great mercy of God.”
You will never come to the end of God’s mercies. They are so high and wide and deep that you can’t ever reach the end. He is absolutely abounding in mercy, constantly pouring it out on you. The word “never” is so sweet and precious. It’s such a sweeping, all-encompassing word.
Every Single Moment Is New
God’s enduring love and constant mercy is not only new every morning but every moment. Every single moment is new. Every moment is completely unique and created by God who is holding the world together.
None of the moments you faced in the past or will face are not neglected by God; nor will these moments go unnoticed because God has already decided to be utterly faithful to his Children through his promises. What a heart-stirring reality.
God is infinitely faithful to you. He will keep you, sustain you, and uphold you. He will finish the work he began in you.
What Does This Mean?
Though you are faithless, God is faithful. It’s hard to wrap my head around his steady love and new mercies and in return, we are to do the same with others. In John 15:12, Jesus said, “This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you.”
Seems to be simple instructions, right? Simple, yes. But it is in no way easy especially if we try to do so in our own strength. That’s why Lamentations 3:22 is a gift because we will mess up, we will sin. We will make mistakes; we will hurt others and God already knew this about us.
With the dawn of each new day, a fresh batch of his compassion is made available to us. In Jesus’ hands, we have the fullest expression of God’s mercy and he is the same yesterday as he is today, and it will be the same for us tomorrow. Jesus’ mercy is indeed “new every morning.”
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Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Krummel
Heather Riggleman is an author, national speaker, former award-winning journalist and podcast co-host of the Moms Together Podcast. She calls Nebraska home with her three kids and a husband of 21 years. She believes Jazzercise, Jesus, and tacos can fix anything and not necessarily in that order! She is author of I Call Him By Name Bible Study, the Bold Truths Prayer Journal, Mama Needs a Time Out, and Let’s Talk About Prayer and a contributor to several books. Her work has been featured on Proverbs 31 Ministries, MOPS, Today's Christian Woman, and Focus On the Family. You can find her at www.heatherriggleman.com or on Facebook.