The final chapter of Jeremiah speaks of the fall of Jerusalem, followed by captivity in Babylon. Difficulties face God’s people in every generation: “There are many rebellious people ... “ (Titus 1:10). The Lord’s people must not be afraid to stand up for Him (Titus 1:11). Whatever others may say and do, this is what we must say and do: “I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow Your righteous laws” (Psalm 119:106).
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights” - These are the last words of Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3:19). “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age ...” (Titus 2:11-12). Where does the strength come from - the strength we need for rising from the depths of ungodliness to the heights of godliness? The strength comes from the Lord, the God of grace, the God of our salvation. The Proverbs speak of wisdom. True wisdom is to know that our real strength comes not from within ourselves, but from above, from the Lord.
“The Lord is righteous, yet I rebelled against His command” (Lamentations 1:18). “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). This is the story of our life without Christ, but it is not the full story. We must move on to Titus 3:4-7: a great declaration of the love of God, the salvation of God and the glory of God. This is God, working powerfully in our lives. Psalm 119:115 describes the transformation. No longer is it “I rebelled against His command.” Now, it is “Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God!” How does this transformation take place? “Uphold me, and I shall be delivered; I shall always have regard for Your decrees” (Psalm 119:117).
At the heart of the book of Lamentations, there is this great declaration concerning the love of God: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed” (Lamentations 3:22). His love reaches us not only directly but also through the love of His people - “Your love, dear brother, has brought me great joy and much encouragement! You have cheered the hearts of all God’s people” (Philemon 7). In difficult times, our faith is tested - “My eyes fail, looking for Your salvation, looking for Your righteous promise” (Psalm 119:123). In times such as these, we cry to God, “It is time for You to act, O Lord; Your law is being broken” (Psalm 119:126). This prayer is to be accompanied by obedience: “I love Your commands, more than gold, more than pure gold” (Psalm 119:127).
Lamentations 4:20 contains an interesting phrase - “The Lord’s anointed, our very life breath.” Christ is the Lord’s anointed. Christ is our life. He is God’s Word to us - “in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:2). He is God’s Son - “about the Son He says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever’” (Hebrews 1:8). Psalm 119:130 says, “The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” This opening up of God’s Word is redemptive. As we read His Word, we pray, “Redeem me” (Psalm 119:134) and there arises in our hearts the joyous confession, “O Lord ... You have redeemed my life” (Lamentations 3:58).
The last words of Obadiah are a great declaration; “the Kingdom will be the Lord’s” (Obadiah 21). When we think of God’s Kingdom, we are thinking not only of a Kingdom which belongs to solely to God, but a Kingdom which He shares with the redeemed. Christ says, “Here am I, and the children God has given Me” (Hebrews 2:13). Though there may be “a fierce lion roaming the streets (the devil)” (Proverbs 26:13), the Lord will fufil His saving purpose.