Sermons

Morning By Morning

by Reagan McClenny

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Scripture: Lam 3:21 Dec 10, 2023

God faithfully provides new compassion, sure justice, and wise counsel every morning; we should remember His compassion, see His justice at work, hear His wisdom, and wait patiently for God's perfect timing; if we start each day connecting with God through prayer and Bible study, it will help us trust Him more fully throughout the challenges we face.

Transcript

Well, if you have your Bible with you, would you take it out, please, and turn to the book of Lamentations. Lamentations chapter 3 will be the first passage that we will examine of three main passages that we'll look at this afternoon. So, Lamentations chapter 3. And we'll begin reading in verse 21 here in just a moment.

If you'd like to mark your spot there, we'll come back to that chapter and those verses as we go throughout the lesson. Lamentations chapter 3, beginning in verse 21. So

I've got a question to start the lesson tonight, and I've always been a little bit curious about this. Who in here is a night owl? Do we have any night owls in the congregation? Keep your hand up for a second, I want to see who you are, because you are my people, right? I, well, I know all of us in here are people, right?

But those, you're especially my kind of people. I'm a night owl, always have been. And I understand that's not the way the world works, and so I have to work within the frameworks of you know, our culture and all those sorts of things, but when I was in college especially, I got my best studying done from about, 1 a.

m. to 3 a. m. like that was the prime time to get some stuff done. And even to this day, if I've got some stuff I really, really, really have to get done, I'll just take a night during the week and I'll stay up till about 3, 3. 30 in the morning. And from, I tell you, from 10. 30 at night to 3. 30 in the morning, no interruptions, it's quiet, my brain is kind of calmed down a little bit where I can focus on what I'm supposed to be doing.

You can get A day and a half work of work done in that amount of time if you stay up and do that. Now, some of you are saying that's absolutely crazy. I can tell by the looks on your faces. So who in here is a morning person? Morning person. Okay you were a little too enthusiastic about that. Like you're kind of mad at me for what I've said already tonight.

Maybe some of you are morning people. Maybe some of you are just, you like coffee. Maybe that's the thing for some of you. And I understand, I understand you're different than, than I am and that's okay. Let me tell you, the, the lesson this afternoon is really for you. You're gonna love this lesson because this lesson is about mornings.

And specifically it's about the phrase that we're going to examine tonight, morning by morning. And perhaps, ironically, I'm preaching a sermon about mornings during the evening service. But that is by design, because I want us to implement these things tomorrow, in the morning, and perhaps even every morning as we examine our relationship with God.

Morning by morning, and my subtitle is perhaps the longest subtitle I've ever had for a lesson. What God provides His people every morning. And what we should do in response to the things that God provides every morning. That phrase, morning by morning, is a phrase we find throughout the the Hebrew Old Testament, as we call it.

And really that is a, a promise, a reminder of God's faithfulness, isn't it? That it's morning by morning. Another way of putting it is, every morning. But it's kind of an idiom that shows that this is That this is something that happens like clockwork. It's regular and it's repeated. It's never skipped or missed or postponed.

At the beginning of every day, morning by morning, this is going to happen. And you think about it in those terms, really, we don't think about the sun coming up every day, right? We just assume that that's going to happen. And that's the way it is with God and the fulfillment of His promises. Sure, maybe there will come a day at some point when this is all burned up where the sun doesn't come up in the morning.

But, but we won't know anything about that, right? Because everything will be finished when that happens. And so we think about the faithfulness of God, it's like the rising of the sun. Morning. And as we think about that concept, every morning, this phrase is used a handful of times about what God is doing.

Every morning, God does not fail to provide or more precise, precisely to make available to us these three things, at the very least, we see this in our Bibles. Every morning God's, God does not fail in providing, making available His compassion, His mercy. His love and willingness to forgive toward us.

Every morning, God does not fail to provide His justice. The surety of that justice that He will judge and that He can judge. And that He will be just and fair in the things that He does. And every morning, God does not fail in providing an opportunity for us to know His will. To know Him, to know who He is, and even more to know what He desires for us.

And so let's examine those three things this evening and what we should do in response to that reality. The first one that I want us to consider is His compassions are new every morning. And that brings us to our text in Lamentations chapter 3. Beginning in verse 21. Would you read with me? Lamentations 3, beginning in verse 21.

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions, they fail not. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope.

And what does this quality of God, that His compassions are new every morning, that He makes available to us, what does that require from us? Well, for each one of these, I want to consider something that is required of us as His children, as Christians. And because His compassions are new every morning, what that requires of us is that we need to remember those mercies, remember those new compassions.

Isn't that exactly what the text says in verse 21? This I recall to my mind. I remember that God's compassions are new every morning. And we need to remember His compassions in hope. No matter what's going on around us or in our lives. You know, we sang a song that's based on this passage. Morning by morning, new mercies I see.

And seeing all of the things that God has provided. Seeing all of the things that God does for us. And it's such an uplifting, such a hopeful thing. And yet it's found in a book that is called, literally, Lamentations, right? Lament over all of the terrible things that are happening. And Lamentations is just that.

It is, in some ways, the longest psalm of lament, song or poem of lament that we have in our Bibles. It has been described as sorrow from A to Z, because it's an acrostic poem, like What we see in Psalm 119, where the letters of the Hebrew alphabet are repeated and the lines begin with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

And there is this this cycle that we see that goes through, that it goes through in every chapter. Chapter 1, 22 verses. Chapter 2, 22 verses. Chapter 4, 22 verses. Chapter 5, 22 verses, going through the Hebrew alphabet. And what the writer of this poem, that is technically anonymous, but there's long Jewish and Christian tradition going back to at least the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, that says it's Jeremiah.

So, Jeremiah. As he is seeing, as he's seeing his country and his people fall apart in regard to their service to God, as he sees them go off into captivity with with witnessing all three of the deportations and finally the destruction of the temple, the destruction of Jerusalem, and he's carried off against his will into Egypt.

This fateful prophet of God laments over the things that he sees. And for my money, if I were a betting man and saying, which is the most negative book in the whole Bible, it would be the book of Lamentations. Perhaps even more than the laments of Job. Because Job does not see things clearly. He doesn't know everything that's going on behind the scenes.

Jeremiah does. And he knows the reality that God's people have turned their back on God, and now God has turned His back on their people. And yet in the midst of all of that, in the midst of everything that was going on around him in his life, we find at the very center of this, this acrostic and also chiastic poem, it's, it's beautiful, all of the levels that we see with this poem, right in the middle.

Right at the very center of that is Lamentations chapter 3 verses 1 through 26. And verses 1 through 20, they are dark, man. Some of the darkest verses that we see in this poem and thus in the Bible. Notice what he says, I mean, we could read all 20 of these verses before what we read a moment ago, but let's just start there in verse 16.

Notice what Jeremiah says. He, he's talking about God. God has also broken my teeth. With gravel. He doesn't have anything to eat, so what does he eat? And he's eaten gravel and it's breaking up his teeth and covered me with ashes. You have moved my soul far from peace. I have forgotten. New King James says, I have forgotten prosperity.

I like what the English standard version says. I have forgotten what happiness is. That word is foreign to me. I, I don't remember what it's like to be happy. And I said, my strength and my hope have perished from the Lord. Remember my affliction and roaming, the wormwood and the gall, the bitterness. My soul still remembers and sinks.

It's bowed down within me. And then in the midst of all that, he says in verse 21, This I recall to my mind. Therefore, I have hope. Through the Lord's mercies, we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new. Every morning, great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him.

I read through this book in preparation for this lesson and your heart just goes out to a faithful follower of God who's going through so much. And no doubt, there are faithful followers of God who are going through quite a lot right now, even. Even in this building, joining us through the live stream online.

And Jeremiah describes the night. The darkness of the night of doubt and despair and discouragement. But he reminds himself that God's mercies are new in the morning. Even in the midst of all that Jeremiah was going through, he reminds himself morning by morning there are new mercies. There are new opportunities.

And it reminds me a lot of what Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Jeremiah says, I just, I've got to get through today. And I know that there are going to be more opportunities tomorrow where God can and will bless me. And so maybe the question for us is we need to remember His compassions and hope, no matter what's going on around us or in our lives.

Can we give God one day? Can we give Him today? And what if that was all you had to give? You know, all that you have to do in your service to God is just give Him yourself today. Or maybe since this day is almost over, just give Him yourself tomorrow. Could you do it? Could you live faithfully for that day?

Could you live without worry? Could you have hope for the end of the day? You know, I bet you could. I bet we all could. But the problem comes in when we start allowing too much of the future evils to sneak into the present. It's been said that worry never solved a future problem, but it has many times complicated a present problem.

What could I worry about? I'm sure there's lots of things that we could list. And your list would be different than mine, but, but it probably isn't any shorter. But we are encouraged by God not to drown in that, but to focus on The morning, today, and the mercies of God that come with it. Robert Louis Stevenson once said, Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, for one day.

Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all that life means. That's life, if we will do it and remember that God's compassions are new every morning. But that's not all that does not fail with God every morning. Every morning, God does not fail in His justice.

Because His justice is sure every morning. Let's go to another of the prophets. Go to the prophet Zephaniah. Now, Zephaniah is before Jeremiah in terms of time period. He predates him just by a few number of years. It is during the reign of Josiah. And you remember, Josiah is the one who found the book of the law that was rediscovered in the temple.

And Jeremiah excuse me, Josiah leads this kind of revival of service to God. But it's shallow. He's, he's genuine, he's true, but the people, they're just doing it because the king is telling them to. And so Zephaniah's prophecy encourages further reform of heart by painting vivid scenes of judgment and the impending day of the Lord.

And it's followed by this assurance that those who seek the Lord will be hidden in that day of the Lord's anger, and ultimately a remnant will be restored. And so in Zephaniah chapter 3, beginning in verse 1, this is what the text says. Woe to her, that is Jerusalem, who is rebellious and polluted to the oppressing city.

She has not obeyed His voice, that is the voice of God. She has not received correction. She has not trusted in the Lord. She has not drawn near to her God. Her princes in her midst are roaring lions. Her judges are evening wolves that leave not a bone till morning. Her prophets are insolent, treacherous people.

Her priests have polluted the sanctuary and have done violence to the law. Notice verse 5. The Lord is righteous in her midst. He will do no unrighteousness. Every morning, that's that phrase, morning by morning, morning by morning He brings His justice to light. He never fails, but the unjust knows no.

Every morning God brings His justice to light. He, He is sure that He is going to judge. This is going to happen. And what does this quality of God that He makes available to us require from us? Well, His justice is sure every morning today, just as it was then. And we need to see it. We need to see that. No matter how much it seems that the wicked are prevailing and prospering, all of these other things that are going on, we need to see that the Lord is righteous and He will do no unrighteousness.

We need to be able to know that. And I think that brings us a measure of comfort as well. Perhaps our days are not as unjust as the days of Zephaniah, certainly not the days of Jeremiah, but there is plenty of unjustice around us. And no matter how much it seems that the wicked are prevailing and prospering, Injustice is the thing that's going to rule the day.

We need to remember that God's justice is sure, even in the midst of persecution in the New Testament. We see a number of times where the inspired apostles and prophets wrote to remind people. I'm thinking specifically of the book of 1 Thessalonians, or the book of Revelation. That God's justice is true and sure.

That God is going to make all things right when all is said and done. And He is going to see to it that those who are evil and rebellious against His will, they will be judged for that rebellion. For refusing to come to God and receive His compassions and mercies. So every morning God does not fail. His justice is sure.

And then number three, every morning God does not fail in regard to His will. His will is wise every morning. Again, we turn to a prophet. Let's turn to the prophet Isaiah this time.

Isaiah predates both of the other prophets that we've talked about tonight.

And Isaiah forms what we might think of as a miniature Bible in regard to God's wrath, and then also God's mercy. God's justice, and God's compassion. The things that we've talked about. All of those things are contained within his will. And it is the will of God that shows us what is true, what is right, and what is wise.

And if you're there in Isaiah chapter 50, read with me beginning in verse 4, if you would please. Isaiah the prophet says this, The Lord has given me the tongue of the learned. Learned is another way of saying wise, right? We talk about a learned person, that's somebody who knows a lot, somebody who's wise.

So the Lord has given me, Isaiah says, the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. It's not just that he knows what to speak. It's not just that he's smart. He knows the right thing to say at the right time. When the season is correct, he's gonna say just the right thing for what the person needs.

Notice what he says, He awakens me, morning by morning, God does. He awakens my ear to hear as the learned. The Lord has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who plucked out the beard. I did not hide my face from shame and spitting, for the Lord God will help me.

We see that Isaiah was willing to endure the things that he endured, the persecution he went through, because his ears were open to the wisdom that came from the Lord and his will. So what does this quality of God that he makes available to us every morning require from us? Well, we need to hear it. And like Isaiah, we need to have the courage to speak it as well no matter the reaction of those who might refuse to hear it.

So, every morning, God does not fail. His compassions are new. His justice is sure. His will

But let me suggest that there's another element to these three things that is vitally important for us. In our remembering every morning, in our seeing of God's justice every morning, in our, in our hearing of God's will every morning, what we must do is wait on the Lord. Just wait till the morning, sometimes, might be the refrain, and so too for us.

We're gonna have to wait. Wait to see these things fulfilled by the Lord. And what we find is, this concept is there next to this idea of morning by morning in all of these passages. Turn back to Lamentations 3, if you would. Lamentations 3. Notice what comes next after he says, therefore I will hope in him.

Verse 25, Jeremiah says, The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Waiting is what Jeremiah was having to do a lot of morning by morning. And yet it is through this waiting that ultimately he was going to receive the good things from the Lord.

Zephaniah chapter 3 and verse 8. So immediately following what we read a moment ago. Zephaniah says this in this, in his book. Therefore wait for me, says the Lord. Until the day I rise up for plunder, my determination is to gather the nations to my assembly of kingdoms, to pour on them my indignation, all my fierce anger, all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.

I'm going to judge, just as I promised. But you're gonna have to wait for me until that day that ultimately I bring about that. And it's not in the immediate context in Isaiah, but we see a ton of this idea of waiting on the Lord in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah chapter 40 is maybe the most famous passage about waiting on the Lord.

But notice what he says in Isaiah chapter 33 and verse 2. 'O Lord, be gracious to us, we have waited for you. Be their arm'what? 'every morning, morning by morning. Our salvation also in the time of trouble. So the arm is the idea of strength, that you're, you're receiving strength from the Lord if you're willing to wait on Him and receive His will.

In a time like Isaiah's, or Jeremiah's, or Zephaniah's, or in our own time, it's hard to remember that the Lord is the one who's in control. And we want things to be made right, right now. But God's purposes extend beyond this single moment in time. We have to mature as Christians to the point that we realize the only way that God could truly make everything right, right now.

You know, that's what we want. Just everything to be right. God, make it all right. What is the only way God could do that right now? Is if He came in judgment right now? If the Lord were to appear right now? And there is no doubt that we say, even so, come Lord Jesus. But maybe it also makes us a little bit uncomfortable to realize that's the only way that God can make all things right is with the destruction of this physical world.

If God is going to continue to allow this world to exist morning by morning, that means we're going to have to wait for Him. and His working and His providence and His time. We have to wait on God's timing instead of trying to, trying to force our timing upon God. Psalm 37 and verse 9 says, For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

Notice what he says, Evildoers shall be cut off. They that wait shall inherit. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of what, it's a matter of when. When is that going to happen? Well, we have to wait on the Lord for those things to come to pass. And so waiting on the Lord means that you have to place your trust in the Lord.

Not just in the short term, but in the long term. That we are in this to the end. That we trust Him to make things right.

Consider the things we ask for from God. Consider His promises to us. God's answer might be yes, but that doesn't mean right away or right now. Again, we have to wait on the Lord, and His timing is always perfect in those things. I want you to consider another passage from Isaiah. Turn to Isaiah chapter 30, if you would.

Isaiah chapter 30.

This will be our last scripture tonight, and then we're gonna make some applications. Isaiah chapter 30 Again, this book is filled with this concept of waiting on the Lord and even this idea of mourning by morning or every morning. Isaiah chapter 30, beginning in verse 15, for thus says, the the Lord God, the holy one of Israel in returning and rest, you shall be saved.

in quietness and confidence shall be your strength, but you would not. So Isaiah's prophesying and saying, if you would just wait, God would save you, but you're not willing to wait. and you said, No, for we will flee on horses. I mean, that's the fastest animal we can get. You know, we're not gonna flee on, on carts.

We're not gonna flee on donkeys. We're gonna flee on horses. Give me the fastest animal possible. therefore you shall flee, Isaiah says. And we will ride on swift horses, therefore those who pursue you shall be swift also is the idea. One thousand shall flee at the threat of one, at the threat of five you shall flee till you are left as a pole on the top of a mountain and as a banner on a hill.

That's just waving there all by itself without anyone to help them. God is working for our good, but only if we are willing to wait on him instead of trying to force it. And I think sometimes that's the trap we fall into. Let me give you some examples. I'm not married yet. You know, I've reached this point and I'm still not married.

And so sometimes people want to force that. So we rush into an ungodly mate who makes marriage a burden instead of a blessing. Instead of waiting on God's compassions, which fail not, we want to rush in and figure those things out for ourselves. Perhaps there is a situation where we've been wronged and maybe even people think that we're in the wrong, though we're not.

I'm not vindicated in this situation where I've been accused of wrong yet. It's not come out where everybody sees I'm in the right and the other person is in the wrong. And so we rush into proving ourselves, maybe attacking the accuser, and we only make matters worse. So instead of waiting on God's justice that is sure, We want to bring justice for ourselves, and that, that never works out the way we think it will.

Maybe it's something like, I'm not financially secure yet, and so we rush into some pie in the sky, too good to be true business arrangement, and we end up losing more money and being in a worse situation. Instead of waiting on God's will, which encourages us to, to work hard and be wise, we reject that kind of wisdom for the wisdom of the world.

We don't wait on the Lord. We see those sorts of situations in our lives and in the lives of other people, right? Do we really believe that every morning God does not fail if we are willing to wait on Him? Even in the Old Testament we see that there were those who didn't want to wait on the Lord and wait on His timing.

Maybe the best example is Abram and Sarai. They're promised by God this child, right, but it hadn't come and they've been waiting at least ten years. God promised ten years later, still no child, so they say, you know what, you know, we're tired of waiting. Hmm. And Sarai especially says, Here's how God's gonna fulfill it.

Go into Hagar, my handmaiden. That's what's gonna happen. That's what's gonna make it work. But that was not according to God's will. They were waiting a long time. Maybe we're too hard on them. That's a long time to wait, ten years. But this lack of waiting and the lack of faith that went with it, well, what ended up happening?

They're still fighting over there right now. The descendants of Isaac and Ishmael. Because, because they didn't wait on the Lord's timing and wanted to rush it for themselves. God is working. And God is working every day according to His compassions and justice and will. And every morning we should be reminding ourselves that we need to wait on Him and wait on His working.

Okay, let's make application to all these things. How do we do that? Well, let me suggest this. There's lots of ways that we could go about doing this. Even just being aware of these things I think is helpful to us. But tomorrow morning, let me suggest this. Christianity is a voluntary religion, you know that.

I'm not micromanaging your life and your relationship with God. But let me suggest this. Find time tomorrow morning all you night owls, I know this is tough. I know this is tough. But find time in the morning to settle down enough to wait, be still for a few minutes, and do these three things. Maybe you gotta set your alarm a little earlier.

Maybe you gotta, you know, get everything ready the day before with the coffee pot and the clothes out and all those sorts of things to make that time. But I'm going to commit myself to making this time, at least for a while I used to do this and it didn't work out great for me, but I'm going to try it again, right?

Every morning. To get up and remember and see and hear His compassion, justice, and will through reading His Word and prayer. And maybe I can suggest this pattern of what it might look like. Every morning, get up, find the time to be alone with God, to pray.

And again, you're going to have to find what works for you in regard to the time and the pattern, even the time of day, perhaps. But maybe, maybe it's as simple as that you pray for a minute or two, and you pray about these things. Remind myself of God's compassions and how they're new and the blessings that He's provided, of God's justice and how it's sure, and that things are going to work out in the end, and God's will and how it's wise.

And then jump into that will to read and study what God has revealed so that I might know it and be wise in it. Pray for God's compassion and justice and his wisdom. And then read and study your Bible for a few minutes. And then pray for how you might live and speak what you read in those minutes that you studied.

So pray, and then read, and then pray. And in so doing, we can be reminded that every morning God does not fail. The rising of the sun is a reminder of His faithfulness to us, morning by morning. And if, perhaps, we remind ourselves of these things at the beginning of the day, the rest of the day will become that much easier to live and walk by faith and know that God is working if we are willing to wait on Him.

Well, if you're here this evening and you know that there are things that you need to be doing to make your life right with God, Perhaps you've not been baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins. That opportunity stands before you, even this evening, to where you have promises and assurances by God that His compassions, which are new, amount to your salvation, that His justice, which is sure, means that you can be right with God through the blood of Jesus Christ, and that now you can walk in newness of life, where you see His will and walk according to the wisdom of that will.

Or maybe you're already a Christian and you've not been living your life with this reality in mind. Perhaps you've been relying on yourself, or you've fallen into sin. Praise God that His compassions were new this morning, and giving you and I the opportunity to wake and live for Him again. Perhaps He has given you the opportunity even this evening to make your life right with Him.

And He's given you brothers and sisters in Christ to help you. We'll pray for you. We'll pray with you. And Jesus is calling you. Won't you come now while together we stand and while we sing?

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