Worship VII Day 15 What’s So Amazing About Grace?: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
Check out What’s So Amazing About Grace?!

The Questions

1) How does God’s faithful love keep us from perishing?

2) How are God’s mercies new every morning when life seems out of control?

3) What does it mean for the LORD to be my portion?

Lamentations 3:22-24

Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for his mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness!
I say, “The LORD is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in him.”

Original Intent

1) How does God’s faithful love keep us from perishing?
Before we answer the questions, it’s important to understand a bit of background and context for the book of Lamentations. The book is thought to be written by the prophet Jeremiah, often referred to as the weeping prophet. The book was probably written following the death of King Josiah and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Lamentations, which is where we get the word “lament”, means an expression of sorrow, mourning, or regret. For the people of Israel, life had not been going as they thought, or hoped. They were God’s chosen people, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at them. Many of their kings chose not to follow and obey God, they repeatedly failed to carry out God’s instructions and honor only Him. As a result, the Babylonians are basically having their way with God’s chosen people by destroying their city and selling most of them into slavery. Our weeping prophet Jeremiah had much to lament. Given this, it’s somewhat surprising to read of Jeremiah crediting God and His faithfulness for the fact that Israel hasn’t perished. (verse 22) I love the way the Message paraphrases this verse, “God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.” Our prophet understands that God is in fact being faithful and true to what He said He would do and who He is because He is, and always has been, a jealous God, who will not give the worship due Him to another. (Exodus 34:14, Isaiah 42:8) He has not stopped loving His chosen people, but is desperately trying to get their attention so they will return to Him. God disciplines those He loves, so the relationship might be restored and times of rejoicing may come. (Acts 3:19-20) The intent of Jeremiah’s words is to express the deep sorrow and frustration he feels as a prophet following God, while at the same time feeling beat up. It is God’s deep love for His people that held Him back from wiping out the Israelites for their disobedience.

2) How are God’s mercies new every morning when life seems out of control?
The people reading this “lament” would know and understand the history that brought them to this point. They are now being confronted with the consequences of their choices and actions. God’s mercy, however, still reigns supreme. He continues to love His people, and will do whatever it takes to get their attention and win their hearts back. Even though it seemed as if God had abandoned them, He was actually showing mercy by drawing them back to Himself and preparing the way for Jesus, instead of destroying them entirely. One day, Jesus would come and sacrifice Himself to pay the penalty for every sin; this is the ultimate act of mercy!

3) What does it mean for the LORD to be my portion?
Jeremiah’s intent was to point the way back to God, the one true God, who loved Israel most and best. Far from a cruel, vengeful dictator God, the Lord was loving and compassionate towards His people. Jeremiah wanted to remind Israel that God was still with them, would continue to provide for them, and should be trusted above all others, especially themselves. They did not need other gods, other nations, or other kings to provide for them or give them wise counsel. They needed God. He alone was their portion and everything they needed. He alone was enough for Israel.

Everyday Application

1) How does God’s faithful love keep us from perishing?
Through God’s amazing grace and faithful love, He offers each of us salvation and forgiveness of sins, a gift we absolutely do not deserve! While it’s true our physical lives will come to an end on earth, God offers us an eternity with Him, a life that will never perish or end! It’s pretty simple really. All we need is to acknowledge our need for His forgiveness, confess we do believe in Jesus and His work on the cross by sacrificing Himself for us, and invite Him to become the LORD of our life. If this is something you’ve never done, or maybe it’s something you’re interested in knowing more about, please, please, please comment below! There is nothing the writers of GT would rather do than have conversations with you about Jesus becoming your Savior! God is faithful to who He is above all else, and He is a loving and merciful Savior. His amazing display of grace is that He loves us where we are, right here and right now in the middle of our everyday mess. We cannot earn what He freely gives, but He offers it just the same!

2) How are God’s mercies new every morning when life seems out of control?
I continue to be amazed at how God lines these writing assignments up with my real life. They are so timely, it could only be God aligning events with His perfect understanding. For the sake of time and space, I will just share that I have been on a journey of dealing with some past hurts and failures these past few weeks. While necessary and needed, there have been days when the tears flow freely, and I have felt completely and totally unworthy. But God and His new mercies have been there every step of the way. Each day comes fresh and new with a reminder of God’s unchanging mercy and love towards me. Life does seem out of control because we were never meant to control it, that is God’s job. Mercy comes when we realize and admit that we are fighting God for a control we can neither have, nor handle. He is already there, hand extended, waiting patiently for us to reach out and take hold of Him. For those who have grown up in church, it is so easy to begin believing we can handle, or should be able to handle, many things on our own. We often forget that God wants us to depend on Him alone; we are gifted recipients of His mercy and grace! Self-imposed expectations steal opportunities for God’s amazing grace to rain down on us. I know it is cliché, but seriously let go, and let God! It is absolutely freeing!!

3) What does it mean for the LORD to be my portion?
Jesus is enough. While that answer seems short and simple, it’s true for each and every one of us. Just as God was enough for Israel, so is He enough for us. When we begin believing we need Jesus plus something or someone else, it’s a sure sign we are being lied to by our enemy who wants to steal our peace and confidence in God. I’m not saying working hard towards goals is bad or that having nice stuff is wrong. It comes down to our fundamental beliefs and contentment in God, and Him alone, being enough. God’s love for us is firm, secure and not reliant on anyone or anything else. Like I mentioned earlier, God loves you right here and right now. He doesn’t care if your life is “perfect”, your kids are well behaved, what kind of car you drive, or where you work. He is the only one who completely knows us and loves us anyway! That truth is the basis for us to confidently say and believe that yes, Jesus, in fact, is enough for me. Why not allow yourself to rest in Him and let the only one truly qualified, be your portion?

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Missing the connection to our other Journey Study today?
Catch up with What’s So Amazing About Grace?!

Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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