About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
Is Thy Faithfulness
The hymn "Great Is
Thy Faithfulness," written by Thomas Chisholm in 1923 was based on
Lamentations 3:22 and 23, that reads:
"Because of the LORDís
great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
We sing about God's
faithfulness in the secure comfort of our church buildings and homes.
Comfort was not Jeremiah's reality when he penned the above
words. He, a righteous
prophet, was suffering immensely alongside his unrighteous Jewish
brethren as God destroyed his nation as an act of divine judgment.
The disconnect between Jeremiah's words of God's faithfulness and
his miserable reality is difficult to comprehend.
The context of the book
of Lamentations is Babylon's invasion of Judah. The Babylonian army
If you read the verses
prior to Lamentations 3:22, you will see the horrific reality of
Jeremiah's life during the Babylonian invasion.
Despite being a righteous man of God, he experienced affliction
along with the unrighteous as God's wrath enveloped Judah
(verse 1). Every day he
lived a darkened life as God's hand of judgment was against Judah
(verses 2 - 3). His skin was
diseased and his bones broken (verse 4).
He was besieged with bitterness and hardship (verse 5).
He was living a life among the dead (verse 6).
He felt as if he was weighed down in chains without any way to
escape (verse 7). When he
cried out to God for help, God refused to listen (verse 8).
God dragged him off his life's path and left him in the grips of
lions and bears (verses 8, 9, 10, 11).
He was the target of God's arrows that pierced his heart (verses
12 - 13). He was mocked and
ridiculed by all nations (verse 14).
He was forced to eat bitter herbs and to drink gall through
broken teeth as he sat in the dust (verse 15 - 16).
He was deprived of his once peaceful and prosperous life (verse
17). All hope was gone from
his devastated soul (verse 18, 19, 20).
Although some of the above was probably
written in metamorphic terms, Jeremiah did not live in comfort. He
was in sad shape.
The historic and
Biblical fact is that the righteous suffer alongside the unrighteous
when God brings a nation down in judgment.
We see this in the Bible and throughout history.
Christians, for example, were killed in 70 A. D.
by the Roman army when God destroyed
dreadful reality he had hope, not for the immediate present, but for the future,
and why? He realized that
God is always faithful to do as He promises, whether those promises are
to bless or
That is the context of
Lamentations 3:22 and 23 where our beloved hymn, "Great Is Thy
Faithfulness" is rooted.