Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Lamentations, and more specifically, is found in verses nineteen through thirty-five of the third chapter. This particular passage of Scripture begins with an incredibly powerful statement made by the prophet Jeremiah. When you begin reading in the nineteenth verse, you will find the prophet “remembering” something very specific which had taken place within his life. “Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me” (Lamentations 3:19-20). What is so absolutely incredible about what is recorded in this passage of Scripture is what we read in the verses which come immediately after these two. It’s worth noting that although Jeremiah remembered his affliction and his misery, and although he remembered the wormwood and the gall, his soul was humbled within him. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we do not move too quickly past this reality, for there is a strong connection between the soul of Jeremiah and the affliction and misery he experienced. We must recognize and understand that the soul of Jeremiah was humbled with him because of the remembrance of that which he had experienced and endured. Jeremiah didn’t deny that something drastic and extreme had taken place within his life, but instead spoke of the impact and affect that had within and upon him. Jeremiah spoke of the affliction he endured, as well as the misery, which is quite remarkable, for Jeremiah was not living in a state of denial concerning what he had experienced. Jeremiah wasn’t trying to forget what he had gone through or experienced—despite the affliction and the misery—for it was that which he experienced and went through that caused his soul to be humbled within him. Jeremiah didn’t deny the tremendous impact and affect that which he had experienced, for he spoke of it as both affliction and misery. What I find to be so incredibly intriguing about this is that we seem to perceive affliction and misery in a negative light and context, and yet the truth of the matter is that it was both the affliction and the misery which caused his soul to be humbled within him. Jeremiah did not, and perhaps could not forget that which he had experienced and endured, but he seemed to grasp and understand the direct impact and affect it had upon his soul. It was the affliction and misery, the wormwood and the gall which his soul had in remembrance, and which caused his soul to be humbled within him. Pause for a moment and consider what an incredibly vulnerable and broken place affliction and misery has brought you to within the course of your life. It’s important that we first understand verses nineteen and twenty of this passage, for until we are willing to deal with the reality that is contained within them, we cannot and will not be able to move into the reality that is revealed in the proceeding verses.
In verse nineteen the prophet Jeremiah speaks of his remembering his affliction and misery, as well as the wormwood and the gall, yet when you come to the twenty-first verse of this same chapter, Jeremiah transitions to a different type of remembrance and memory. It is at this juncture that I must pause and ask you a very pointed and powerful question—What is your memory like? What do you typically and traditionally have a habit of remembering? When you are all alone lying in your bed with the lights off and nothing but the silence permeating the room, what is it that comes to your mind? When you are driving in your car to and from work and there is no one else present with you in the vehicle, what comes to your mind? What do you do with the silence when you are faced with and confronted by it? What do you do in the silence when it either invades your life, or is graciously welcomed and invited by you. WHEN THE SILENCE IS INVITED! WHEN THE SILENCE INVADES! As I’m sitting here right now, I can’t help but be gripped with the reality that the silence we face and experience within our lives can either be invited by us, or it can invade like an unwanted and undesired intruder. There are times within our lives when we long for, yearn, desire, and even crave the silence, while there are other times in our lives when the silence shows up seemingly uninvited and unwelcome. Like someone that shows up at your front door you were neither expecting, nor have any desire to invited into your home, silence sometimes come to us after the same manner. It’s almost as if silence seems to invade our lives and show up at our front doorstep, and as we open the front door, we simply ask two question. The first question is “What are you doing here,” while the second question is “What do you want?” More often than not we know what to do with the silence when we deliberately and intentionally invite it into our lives, but when it shows up uninvited and unannounced, we have absolutely no clue what to do with it or even how to handle it. The question that I must return to is what you do with the silence when it enters into your life uninvited and unannounced. When comes to your mind when you are confronted with and are forced to enter into and remain within the silence?
I asked the question “What is your memory like,” and the reason for asking this question is because one of the single greatest realities we can and must explore is what we recall and what we remember when we are left alone with nothing but our thoughts in the midst of the silence. If I were to ask you a question right now concerning what you remember from your life-regardless of how old you are and how long you have lived—what would come to your mind? What memories do you have of your life? What memories do you have of your childhood? What memories do you have of your teenage and adolescent years? What memories do you have of your young adultery, and even your adult years? If you were willing to be open and honest with yourself and with the Lord, and were willing to allow the Spirit of the Lord to take you on a guided tour of your memories, what would you find as you began the journey. EMBARKING ON THE JOURNEY INTO YOUR MEMORIES! EMBARKING ON THE JOURNEY INTO YOUR MEMORIES! If I were to ask you right now what you remember about the experiences life seems to have thrown at you, what is it you would speak of and declared unto me? Perhaps you have certain memories you have been trying to forget, and have even invested time, energy and great effort in seeking to suppress them. Perhaps you have tried so hard to ignore the memories of your past that you have even entered into a state of denial concerning and regarding them. WHAT MEMORIES ARE YOU CARRYING WITH YOU! Do you want to know one of the greatest times within one’s life when they are forced to be confronted with memories? Those times are when a close companion, friend, family member, and/or loved one has passed from this life to the next. More often than not it is in death when we are forced to confront our memories of that individual has passed from this life to the next. Have you ever noticed that? Have you ever noticed that death seems to bring countless memories of that individual to the surface of your heart and soul—perhaps even memories you weren’t even aware were still in existence? What’s more, is that it is more often than not in death where we are not only confronted with the memories of that individual which has passed, but even of ourselves. Have you ever noticed that death seems to confront you with memories of your own life—how you have lived, what you have experienced, what you have gone through? It is oftentimes in death when the greatest clarity seems to enter into our lives, as our souls, our minds, and our hearts seems to awaken within us and come alive. I am convinced that this is perhaps one of—if not the greatest reasons why in the year king Uzziah died, the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord seated upon a throne and His train filling the Temple.
When I read this passage in the Old Testament prophetic book of Lamentations we notice two distinct realities within the life of the prophet Jeremiah. In the nineteenth verse we notice the prophet speaking of “remembering” his affliction and misery, and in the twentieth verse we notice the prophet speaking of “remembrance.” As we come to and approach the twentieth verse, however, we transition from a place of “remembrance” to a place of “recalling.” The prophet “remembered” his affliction and his misery, and he “remembered” the wormwood and the gall, and his soul had them still in remembrance. It’s worth noting and pointing out that while the prophet “remembered” his affliction and misery, the prophet was able to “recall” something very specific. In the twentieth verse, we find the prophet not speaking of his remembrance of affliction and misery, but his recalling something very specific to his mind—something that enabled him to move beyond the affliction and misery, something that enabled him to move beyond the wormwood and gall. I must at this moment state that if you are looking to move past the affliction and the misery, you have great need of allowing your soul and your mind to recall rather than simply remembering. So long as we allow ourselves to remain stuck in “remembering” and never transition into “recalling,” we will find great difficulty in being able to move beyond the affliction and the misery we have experienced within our lives. So long as we allow ourselves to remain in the wormwood and gall and never allow ourselves to transition into the place of recalling, we will find ourselves absent and void of any hope we desire and seek. The prophet didn’t discount or ignore his “remembering” of the affliction and misery, but he didn’t stay and remain in that place. There are so many who choose to remain in the place of “remembering” their affliction and misery, and never allow themselves to transition into the place of “recalling”—“recalling” which is a deliberate and willful act on our part. It is so easy to remain stuck in the place of “remembering,” yet it is much more difficult to transition to the place of “recalling,” for recalling requires us to make a conscious decision to choose what we allow ourselves to remain focused and fixed upon. Recalling is a deliberate and intentional act which we choose to engage ourselves in, for it the literal act of calling back to our mind something we either forgot, or something we have ignored or rejected. Think about what happens when a specific manufacturer of an automobile issues a “recall” on one of their products, and how the purpose of that recall is to call and bring something back in order to fix what was faulty and defective.
PRACTICING THE ART OF RECALL! UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE AND PURPOSE OF A RECALL! I believe with everything inside of me that we have great need of entering into that place where we recognize and understand the reason, the purpose and nature of a recall, and of recalling. I am convinced that there are very specific points within our lives when we must allow ourselves to experience and be given over to the process of “recall,” for it’s in the process of “recalling” that we allow that within us which may be faulty and defective to be repaired. When an automobile manufacturer recalls a specific car, it is more often than not because they have discovered something that was faulty within that particular vehicle. More often than not, when a recall is issued, each and every individual that drives one of those cars are required to bring their vehicles to the dealership and allow the necessary work to be done. It’s worth noting and observing that recalls aren’t specific to any particular manufacturer, nor are they specific to any year or model. A recall can take place with and from any manufacturer for any model car of and from any year. It may be two or three years before a recall is issued, and more often than not, when the recall is in fact implemented, many owners of those cars aren’t even aware of the issues that exist. Perhaps they have never experienced any type of issue with their own personal vehicle—despite the fact that other users have experienced it themselves. They may have been driving their vehicle for a couple years now, and all the while they aren’t aware of the fact that there may be something faulty within the vehicle. What’s more, is that there are some who may never experience the issue that was the source and cause of the recall, yet they are still required to bring their vehicle into the dealership for what might only be preventative maintenance and inspection. Recalls are issued when multiple users reported the same issue with a vehicle, or when the manufacturer itself has come face to face with the defect that was present within the vehicle. The danger lies in the possibility that there might be men and women who ignore the recall when it is implemented, and they continue driving their vehicle as is. I can’t help but wonder how many men and women choose to do this not realizing or recognizing that each and every time they do, they are driving their vehicle at their own risk. They don’t realize that by refusing to respond to the recall, they might not only be endangering themselves, but anyone who rides in the vehicle with them, and perhaps even others who drive on the same roads and highways they drive on.
Did you know that refusing to respond to the recall may very well place yourself at risk, but also those around you? I can’t help but think about how many men and women are placing those around them at great risk simply because they are unwilling to respond to the recall that has been issued within their lives. The entire purpose of the recall that has been issued within their lives is to deal with that in their lives that needs to be repaired or replaced. I believe that one of the greatest reasons for a recall[ing] within our lives to replace something in our lives that has been causing tremendous damage within our hearts and souls. There are specific times within our lives when the Spirit of the Lord can and will lead us into a place of “recall” because there is something in our life that needs to be fixed and repaired. Perhaps this is why a number of men and women choose to ignore the recall, for they feel as though there is nothing in their life that needs to be fixed or repaired. Perhaps there are men and women who choose to ignore and not respond to the recall because they haven’t experienced the same issues others have had. Oh, there is a great danger in choosing to reject, despite and ignore the recalls which are issued within our lives. The prophet Jeremiah spoke of “recalling” to his mind, and he directly connected and linked this act and process of “recalling” to his ability to have hope. Oh, there are men and women right now who are having a tremendous time experiencing hope within their lives because they are choosing to ignore the process of “recall” within their lives. They do not believe there is anything within their hearts, or their minds, or their souls that needs to be fixed and repaired, and so they choose to ignore the recall when it is issued. There are men and women who continue to deal with those same issues within their lives simply because they choose to ignore, reject, and even despise the process of “recall” when it is required within their lives. The prophet Jeremiah speaks of “recalling” to his mind, and it’s absolutely necessary that we understand that more often than not this process of “recall” takes place in the mind, for it is the “recall” which replaces and deals with “remembering” within our lives. What do you do when your soul remembers your affliction and misery, yet you are called to recall within your mind something completely different than what you have been remembering. You have been stuck in the place of remembering when the Spirit of the Lord has been calling you to enter into and transition into the place where you recall something completely and vastly different than what you are and have been remembering.
There are men and women right now who are unable to move forward in their lives because they are spending all their time dwelling on those things they remember rather than allowing and committing themselves to recalling—calling back and calling forward—in their minds something vastly different than what they have been remembering. Notice that Jeremiah remembered his affliction, he remembered his misery, he remembered the wormwood and the gall, yet he recalled the truth that “it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not.” Jeremiah remembered affliction and misery, yet he recalled to his mind the fact that the people of God are not and have not been consumed because of the Lord’s mercies, and because His compassions fail not. IT’s important for us that we recognize that Jeremiah didn’t simply live in the place of recall without also experiencing the place of remembering. Jeremiah first speaks of remembering his affliction and misery, yet he did not remain in that place of remembering his affliction and misery, for he recalled to his mind the fact that the people of God are not and have not been consumed because of the Lord’s mercies. It was because of the Lord’s mercies that the people of God are not consumed, and this is so because His compassions fail not. In other words—despite the affliction and misery, the people of God were not and have not been consumed. Despite the wormwood and the gall, the people of God were not and have not been consumed because of the mercies of the Lord. What’s more is the fact that the prophet Jeremiah didn’t merely speak of “the mercy” of the Lord—something that was singular, and perhaps even isolated—but of “the mercies” of the Lord, which speaks of not one mercy, not two mercy, not three mercy, not even five or ten mercy, but of multiple mercies. THE GOD OF MULTIPLE MERCIES! THE GOD OF ONE MERCY IS NOT ENOUGH! Are you aware of the fact that the Lord doesn’t simply have one mercy ready and available for you, but actually has multiple mercies available for you. Consider all those times when the enemy and adversary sought to destroy you, and how it was the mercies of the Lord which caused and enabled you to not be consumed. Were it not for the multiple mercies of the Lord, you would have surely gone under and would have surely been destroyed. Were it not for the multiple and continued mercies of the Lord, you most certainly would have given up, thrown in the towel, and perhaps even walked away. The prophet Jeremiah emphatically declared that the display and manifestation of the Lord’s mercies was that the people of God were not, had not been, and would not be consumed. Though the sword of the enemy and adversary was brought against the city of Jerusalem and though captivity and exile would ensue, the mercies of the Lord would not permit, nor would it allow them to be destroyed.
I can’t help but be reminded of the words of the apostle Paul which are recorded in the eighth chapter of the epistle he wrote to the Roman congregation. “Likewise the Spirit also helpers our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestination to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did prediestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:26-39).
The prophet Jeremiah emphatically declared that it was because of the mercies of the Lord that the people of God were not consumed, and in the New Testament, the apostle declared that in all things we—the people of God—are more than conquerors. The apostle Paul emphatically declared that there was and there is absolutely nothing that can or shall separate us from the love of Christ. In spite of persecution, we are not only more than a conqueror, but persecution itself cannot separate us from the love of Christ. In spite of tribulation, we are not only more than a conqueror, but tribulation cannot and shall not separate us from the love of Christ. In spite of peril and even the sword, we are more than conquerors, and neither peril nor the sword can separate us from the love of Christ. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is that according to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul declared that there was nothing that could or would separate the people of God from the love of Christ, as well as the awesome reality that in all things the people of God were more than conquerors. Consider well the words of the prophet Isaiah which are recorded in the final verse of the fifty-fourth chapter of the prophetic book which bears his name—“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17). Consider the words of Jesus Christ when speaking to Peter after he had made an incredible declaration concerning the nature and Idenity of Jesus who is the Christ—“Blessed are thou, Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:17j-19). I am also reminded of the words of the psalmist which are recorded for us in the ninety-first chapter of the book of the Psalms—“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flight by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come night thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation” (Psalm 91:1-16).
How do you have hope when your soul remembers the affliction and misery you have experienced? How do you have hope when your soul remembers the wormwood and the gall? How do you have hope when your soul remembers, and perhaps even still tastes the bitterness of that which you have experienced? Jeremiah remembered his affliction and his misery, yet he was able to have hope in the midst of, and in spite of it because he recalled to his mind the mercies of the Lord, and how the people of God were not consumed. Yes, the enemy and adversary had entered into and invaded the inheritance. Yes the enemy and adversary had surrounded and laid siege to the city of Jerusalem. Yes the enemy and adversary had brought the sword against the people of God and upon their inheritance. Yes the enemy and adversary had carried away captive certain of the people of God, yet consider for a moment that they were carried away, yet not consumed. CARRIED AWAY, YET NOT CONSUMED. It is worth noting that although the people of God were carried away captive, their captivity did not consume them. Despite the fact that the people of God were carried away captive, their captivity would not and could not consume them. The Lord’s mercies were greatly displayed and manifested in the midst of His people in that although they had been carried away, they were not and could not be consumed. How powerful and how wonderful are the mercies of the Lord in that that which the enemy sought to use to destroy you could not and would not consume you? The mercies of the Lord can prevent your captivity from consuming you, and even prevent the sword from consuming you. It is and it was of the Lord’s mercies that you are not and were not consumed because His compassions fail not. The mercies of the LORd are new every morning, which means that each morning you wake up, there are fresh mercies ready and available to you and for you. With that being said, we must understand that we cannot live off of yesterday’s mercies—despite the fact that they were new yesterday morning. Yesterday’s mercies are not sufficient for that which you may very well face today, for you will need the mercies of the Lord to be new. With this being said, it’s worth noting that yesterday’s mercies might look completely different from today’s mercies, for today’s mercies might need to be manifested and displayed completely different. How absolutely wonderful it is that the Lord has enough mercies within Himself that they can be new each and every morning. The prophet Jeremiah declared that the mercies of the Lord are new every morning, and that the faithfulness of the Lord was great. THE COMPASSIONS OF THE LORD FAIL NOT. THE MERCIES OF THE LORD ARE NEW EVERY MORNING. GREAT IS THE FAITHFULNESS OF THE LORD.
TOTAL RECALL! I can’t help but be utterly and completely captivated by this reality of total recall, for Jeremiah did not, would not and could not remain in the place where he remembered his affliction and misery. Jeremiah acknowledged and addressed his remembering of affliction and his misery, yet he made a deliberate and conscious choice to recall to his mind the mercies of the Lord, the compassion of the Lord, and the faithfulness of the Lord. I mentioned and spoke of the process of recall within our lives, and I am convinced that it is only to the degree and measure we are willing to engage in the process of recall that those areas within our hearts and lives can be repaired and fixed, and perhaps even replaced. It is when are willing to commit and give ourselves over to the process of recalling the mercies of the Lord, the compassions of the Lord, and the faithfulness of the Lord, for it is when we are willing to engage in this process of recalling that we can truly enter into and experience the healing and breakthrough the Spirit of the Lord desires to produce within our lives. I believe with all my heart the Spirit of the Lord is calling and beckoning us to stop resisting the recall within our lives, for it is only to the degree and measure we commit ourselves to the recall that we will be able to experience the inner working of mercy, the inner working of compassion, the inner working of the faithfulness of God. It is okay to remember, but we must never allow that which we remember to hinder and prevent us from recalling. We must reach the place where we allow the process of the recall to completely and totally transform our remembering as we focus and fix our eyes on the mercies of the Lord which are new every morning. The Lord is indeed good unto them that wait for Him, and to the soul that seeketh Him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. It is okay to remember the affliction and the misery we have experience, but we must allow that affliction and misery to give way to hope within our souls as we recall in our minds that which completely, totally and radically transforms our entire lives. Oh that we would allow ourselves to engage in the process of the recall, for it is only in and from that place that those areas within us can be healed, repaired, mended, bound up, fixed, and perhaps even replaced. There are certain areas within our lives that simply needs the replacement of the Spirit of the Lord, while there are other areas in our lives that actually need to be repaired and fixed. Let us this day commit ourselves to the process of recall in order that we might experience the demonstration and manifestation of the power of God within our hearts and lives.