Today’s Scrip-Bit   23 October 2022   Lamentations 3:22-23.

Lamentations 3:22-23.        It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Here it is again my people, Sunday, The day of the Lord! The Sabbath Day, that we should keep holy and gather in sweet fellowship to praise and give thanks to Almighty God our Creator and Provider for all that He’s done, is doing, and has promised to do for us. And all God’s children gave a mighty and grateful shout of ‘Praise the Lord!’ 

Now, today’s song is a very popular one amongst the brethren, and is aptly titled ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness.’ And would you believe we’ve never sung it in our Sunday worship. I was most amazed when I decided to sing it today and went looking for it amongst the archives. But it was nowhere to be found, so I had to research it from scratch. The song was written by Thomas O. Chisholm born in Franklin, Kentucky – (1866-1960). He wrote the poem in 1923 about God’s faithfulness over his lifetime and sent it to William Runyan in Kansas, who set it to music. It was published the same year by the Hope Publishing Company with which Runyan was affiliated and soon became popular among church groups. 

So let’s put our hearts and voices together and sing a rousing, mid-tempo, soulful, but oh so scintillating version of this amazing song, so that heaven will have no doubt that we are indeed grateful for God’s awesome faithfulness. Singing: ‘Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father, there is no shadow of turning with thee. Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not; as thou hast been, thou forever wilt be. (Refrain: Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; all I have needed thy hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!) 

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, sun, moon, and stars in their courses above join with all nature in manifold witness to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and LOVE. [Refrain] Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide, strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! [Refrain] Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; all I have needed thy hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!)’ 

That was wonderful my brethren! Now there’s no doubt in heaven about our sincerity. So let’s look at some background info on the song. It seems that Chisholm’s life was ordinary. He grew up on a farm, was converted to Christianity at age 26, then became a minister in 1903, and according to one article ‘His aim in writing was to incorporate as much Scripture as possible and to avoid flippant or sentimental themes.’ And He’s certainly done that in this one. 

Then, in 1994, Greg Scheer wrote these words about the song and it’s author. ‘Unlike many hymns that have heart-wrenching stories behind them (for instance “It Is Well With My Soul”), “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” is inspired by the simple realization that God is at work in our lives on a daily basis. He (Chisholm) wrote, “My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on until now. Although I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.” The hymn reminds us that God doesn’t only work in dramatic or miraculous ways, but also in simple, everyday ways. It also reminds us that Jesus has never failed us in the past, so we have no reason to doubt his faithfulness in the future.’ 

And isn’t all of that the God-awesome truth my fellow saints! It certainly is! For we serve a marvellous God filled with compassion and faithfulness. And apparently it’s these heart opening words of truth found in Jeremiah’s Lamentations that the song is based on. ‘It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.’ (Lam. 3:22-23) And believe me, that’s the gospel truth, for if our God wasn’t merciful and compassionate, we’d have been destroyed long ago. 

And I like how this second commentator compares Chisholm’s experiences to that of Jeremiah. He says: ‘Jeremiah, on the other hand, was in tumultuous circumstances when writing Lamentations. The people to whom he prophesied did not listen, and he was ostracized and completely alone because of what God called him to do. He also lamented the consequences of their faithlessness. God allowed them to be conquered by the Babylonians, resulting in their entire world being laid to waste. 

But in the midst of that utter devastation, Jeremiah still offers them hope on the horizon: they are not completely destroyed because of the LORD’s compassion and faithfulness, and in the morning, after this “dark night of the soul,” things will be better. So whether we are at a place in our lives where everything is pretty ordinary, or whether we are in a period of grief: no matter what our circumstances, God never changes and is faithful to us, sustaining us in his compassion and faithfulness each and every day.’ 

More gospel truth friends, for which we should be eternally grateful. Now let’s look at a few scriptures that corroborate and solidify what we’ve been saying. And I like this first one from the prophet Malachi, when talking to his people about the payment of tithes. ‘For I am the Lord I change not: therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein, (in what way) shall we return?’ (Mal. 3:6-7) 

And yuh know what friends? It’s the very same thing the Lord is saying unto us today. We have turned away in great droves from Him, being sinful and disobedient, but He’s still pleading with us to  return to His fold, where we will find goodness and mercy, rest and peace. And do we ever need those things in these turbulent times. But we stubbornly refuse to accept His call, despite the serious problems in which our world is currently floundering and going down for the count. 

Then, there’s this verse from the pen of the psalmist Asaph. He writes: ‘But he (God), being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.’ (Ps. 78:38) Oh my people, we cannot dispute those sentiments of Asaph, because they are totally true. How many times have we turned away from the God of our forefathers eh, and He has not completely destroyed us? We shouldn’t even be alive to tell the tale right now, but for His mercy and compassion for his frail and foolish creation. And yet we claim that He does not LOVE us. Hogwash! 

And we’ll end with these words from Psalm 36, where Bruh David declares: (yesss!!!) ‘Thy mercy (LOVING-kindness), O Lord, is in the heavens, and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains (mountains of God): thy judgements are a great deep (ocean): O Lord, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent (precious) is thy LOVING-kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.’ (Ps. 36:5-7) 

And if we want to alleviate the sure destruction that seems in store for our world, if we continue on our current path, I can assure us that there is no better place for mankind to put their trust right now, than in the Lord God Jehovah! So please my people, I am pleading with us to take time and sincerely and seriously ponder that wisdom today. For it will do us a world of good. Much LOVE!

…a word to the wise…is usually sufficient…  

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