Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Lamentations, and more specifically, is found in verses thirty-six through sixty-six of the third chapter. In order to understand how this passage begins, it is first necessary to begin reading with the thirty-first verse. It’s what we begin reading in the thirty-first verse that helps set the stage and foundation for what seems to continue in the thirty-sixth verse. In verse thirty-one of this chapter, the prophet Jeremiah speaks forth these words—“For the Lord will not cast off for ever: but though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. To crush under His feet all the prisoners of the earth, to turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High, to subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not” (Lamentation 3:31-36). In the thirty-first verse of this chapter we read that the Lord will not cast off for ever, and in the very next verse we read that although the Lord causes/caused grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. Within these two verses we not only encounter the reality that the Lord will not cast off for ever, but we also encounter that although He may cause grief, He will indeed have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. The thirty-second verse of this chapter is actually quite interesting, for while it not only speaks of the mercies of the Lord, it also speaks of the compassion of the Lord. What’s more, is that while it is true the Lord is a compassionate God, this particular verse seems to indicate that it’s the mercies of the Lord which produce and bring about the compassion of the Lord. In other words, the Lord is compassionate because the Lord is merciful, and it’s the [divine and multiple] mercies of the Lord that drive the compassion which the Lord demonstrates and manifests toward us. We think of and understand the Lord to be a compassionate God, yet very rarely will we consider the fact that it is the multitude of the mercies of the Lord that drives and fuels His compassion toward us. It’s interesting and worth noting that not only did the prophet Jeremiah speak of the mercies of the Lord—as if multiplying the mercies wasn’t already enough—but he also adds the phrase “the multitude of.” Please don’t miss the importance and significance of these words, for we must understand that it’s not enough simply to speak of the mercies of the Lord as in a plural sense, but we must also speak of the mercies of the Lord as increasing in number and great in volume.
THE TREMENDOUS VOLUME OF THE MERCIES OF THE LORD! I absolutely love that the prophet Jeremiah not only speaks of the mercies of the Lord as being new every morning, but the prophet Jeremiah also speaks of “the multitude of the mercies” of the Lord of hosts. We would be incredibly wise to recognize and discern the fact that the Lord doesn’t just have mercy toward us, as in that which can be defined or measured. The Lord has multiple mercies which are new each and every morning—a reality which I am convinced directly applies to each and every situation and circumstance we face. In fact, I would dare say that the Lord has mercy—and even mercies—available for each and every situation we face. Are you going through an ugly divorce and have spent the past six months legally separated? The Lord not only has mercy, but has multiple mercies available for thou. Did you just lose your job after working for the same company for fifteen years? The Lord not only has mercy, but has multiple mercies for and toward you. Have you just received a diagnosis from the doctor that has absolutely terrified and petrified you? The Lord has mercy—and not just mercy, but multiple mercies available for you. Have you been physically abused, raped, sexually assaulted or even molested? The Lord not only has mercy, but has multiple mercies available for you. Are you struggling with an addition that you simply can’t seem to shake and overcome? The Lord has mercy and mercies that are readily available to you and for you. I absolutely love that the prophet Jeremiah speaks of the mercies of the Lord as being great in number, for I would dare say that the Lord has mercy for each and every situation you may face within and throughout the course of your life. The Lord has mercy for every heartache and heartbreak you have ever and will ever face and experience. The Lord has mercy for every wound, scar and bruise you have experienced within and throughout the course of your life. The Lord has mercy for every affliction, every sorrow, every trial, every test, every trouble you have faced and will face. In fact, I would take this so far as to declare that if the Lord did not have mercy and mercies available for absolutely everything you have faced within your life, you would have crumbled and caved in a long time ago.
HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT WHERE YOU WOULD BE? HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT WHERE YOU COULD BE? Please don’t treat these questions lightly, for these questions must be carefully considered by each and every individual who is reading, and who may read these words. Have you ever taken the time to consider where you would be right now were it not for the mercy and mercies of the Lord? Have you every thought about where you could be in your life without and were it not for the mercy and mercies of the Lord. I am convinced that there are times within our lives when we need to look back over the history of our lives and not only see where we are and how far we have come, but also where we could be were it not for the mercy and mercies of the Lord. If you are willing and able to do so, I would strongly encourage you to look back over your life and consider the fact that the Lord not only had mercy, but had multiple mercies that were made available to you and for you. There were times in your life when you would not and could not have come through and come out on the other side were it not for the mercies of the Lord which were displayed toward you. MILE MARKERS OF MERCY! As I am sitting here right now, I can’t help but think of a divine invitation given unto and offered unto as by the divine, eternal Spirit of the living God. When I speak of “mile markers of mercy,” I envision the Spirit of the Lord taking us on a journey where instead of simply seeing where we have come from, we actually see markers along the road that indicate those specific times when the Lord displayed and showed unto us His mercy. If you travel on any major highway, or even most roads, you will notice mile markers all along the side of the road. These mile markers not only serve to reveal where you are, but they also serve to reveal how far you have come. If you began your journey at mile marker one and you are now on mile marker thirty-seven, then you have obviously traveled thirty-six miles. When I consider this concept of “mile markers of mercy,” I can’t help but think of such realities as not only pointing to those moments within our lives when the Lord actively displayed His mercy toward us, but also as that which reveals where we are, and how far we have come. Imagine being able to measure how far you have came based on understanding those moments and seasons within your life when the Lord displayed and demonstrated mercy toward you. I am convinced that you can look over and look upon your life and if you are truly honest with yourself—and with the Lord—you will admit that you would not, could not, and perhaps even should not be where you are within your life were it not for the multitude of the mercies of the Lord toward you.
MILE MARKERS OF MERCY! Imagine speaking to your closest friends and being able to point to that particular mile marker and tell the story of how the Lord displayed and showed His mercy toward you. Imagine being able to speak to your family members and being able to look back over your life and point to those specific moments within your life when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt the Lord displayed and demonstrate His mercy toward you. The apostle Paul spent a considerable amount of time looking back over his life and revealing to others the multitude of the mercies of the Lord toward Him. Consider the words of the apostle Paul which are recorded for us in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle he wrote to the Corinthian congregation—“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scri[ptures: and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles. AND LAST OF ALL HE WAS SEEN OF ME ALSO, AS OF ONE BORN OUT OF DUE TIME. FOR I AM THE LEAST OF THE APOSTLES, THAT AM NOT MEET TO BE CALLED AN APOSTLE, BECAUSE I PERSECUTED THE CHURCH OF GOD. BUT BY THE GRACE OF GOD I AM WHAT I AM: AND HIS GRACE WHICH WAS BETSOWED UPON ME WAS NOT IN VAIN; BUT I LABOURED MORE ABUNDANTLY THAN THEY ALL: YET NOT I, BUT THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH WAS WITH ME. THEREFORE WHETHER IT WERE I OR THEY, SO WE PREACH, AND SO YE BELIEVED” (1 Corinthians 15:3-11). Please don’t miss the words of the apostle Paul in the tenth verse, for in this verse the apostle Paul declares that it was because and by the grace of God that he had become what he was. The apostle Paul knew that it was only because of the grace of the Lord that he could be that which he was, and accomplish that which He had been called to accomplish. The apostle Paul recognized that it was the divine grace of God that enabled him to become what he was. This is absolutely crucial, for the apostle Paul that he could not and should not take any credit, nor even boast concerning that which he had become within this life. The apostle Paul knew that he should not and could not take any credit for becoming what he was, for it was only by the divine mercy and grace of the Lord of hosts that he was able to be what he was. What’s more, is the apostle Paul had absolutely no quarrel or issue with deflecting the praise and the glory to the One who truly deserved it. The apostle Paul knew that he could not take any credit for his becoming what he was among the churches, for he knew and understand that it was the divine mercies, and the grace of the. Lord that enabled, qualified and positioned him to be what he was.
When you come to the first epistle which the apostle Paul wrote to his spiritual son in the faith Timothy, you will read these words—“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faiths saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:13-17). Notice if you will that twice within this set of verses the apostle Paul spoke of and declared that he had obtained mercy, and not only that he had obtained mercy, but that that mercy had a purpose. In the sixteenth verse, the apostle Paul declares that He obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting. THE MISSION OF MERCY! The apostle Paul declared and revealed that the Lord had shown unto, and had given unto him His divine mercy, in order that the Lord might shew forth and demonstrate His longsuffering. This is quite interesting, for consider how long the longsuffering of the Lord was toward Saul before He finally appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Consider how long the Lord demonstrated and displayed patience toward the apostle Paul before He finally stepped forth from His place at the right hand of the Father to intervene in Saul’s life. The mercy which the apostle Paul obtained was a powerful demonstration of the longsuffering of the Lord, for the Lord was patient toward the apostle Paul when he spent his days as a blasphemer, and as a persecutor, and was injurious. HOW MUCH HAS THE LORD PUT UP WITH IN YOUR LIFE? HOW MUCH HAS THE LORD ENDURED WITHIN YOUR LIFE? If you were truly willing to be honest with yourself, and with the Lord, ask yourself how much, and perhaps even how long, the Lord has put up with your ignorance. Consider how long the Lord has put up with and endured you foolishness before Him as you continue to live your life contrary to His word. Consider how long the Lord has put up with endured your rebellion and stubbornness, and how He has demonstrated tremendous patience and longsuffering toward you. It’s important that we are able to consider such a reality, for directly connected to the mercy of the Lord is also His longsuffering and His patience. I would emphatically declare to you that the mercy and mercies of the Lord are directly connected to the longsuffering and patience of the Lord, for it is the mercy of the Lord that enables Him to put up with and endure all your foolishness, all your rebellion, all your stubbornness, and the like.
I absolutely love that the apostle Paul spoke of the mercy of the Lord, and not only the mercy of the Lord, but the mercy of the Lord as being directly connected and linked to the long suffering of the Lord. It is the Lord’s mercy, and the multitude of His mercies that enables him to be able to be patient with and patient toward you. Were it not for the divine grace of the Lord, which is sufficient for you, where would you be right now? Were it not for the multitude of the mercies of the Lord, where would you, and where could you be right now at this very moment? How many times could the Lord have responded to you according to and after the manner you deserved, yet because of the multitude of His mercies, He chose to be long suffering and patient. Mercy has been defined and described as not getting what you deserve, and if this is true in any sense, than when the prophet Jeremiah speaks of the multitude of the mercies of the Lord, he is actually declaring that on multiple occasions the Lord deliberately and intentionally chose not to give you what you deserved. I am reminded of the words of the apostle Peter which are recorded in the third chapter of his second epistle—“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be nor ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:3-10). With and through these words the apostle Peter emphatically declared that the Lord’s longsuffering was displayed and demonstrated in His being unwilling that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. It is the long suffering of the Lord working in direct conjunction with the mercy of the Lord that allows Him to patiently wait that men might not perish, but might come to repentance. The Lord has an abundant supply of mercy, and I would even say that the Lord was displaying and manifesting His mercy before we even recognized and acknowledged it. The Lord displayed and manifested His mercy toward us even before we were willing to accept it, for the Lord powerfully and wonderfully demonstrated His patience toward us.
The prophet Jeremiah declared that it was of the Lord’s mercies that the people of God were not consumed, because His compassions fail not. HIS COMPASSIONS HAVE NOT FAILED! HIS COMPASSIONS WILL NOT FAIL! Despite what you may have been through and experienced within your life, I would dare say unto you that the compassions of the Lord have never failed toward you. I would strongly declare unto you that the compassions of the Lord have always been present within and upon your life, and it is of and because of the Lord’s mercies that you have not been, or or presently being consumed. THE LORD’S MERCIES WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO BE CONSUMED! How absolutely marvelous and wonderful it is to consider the fact that it is because of the Lord’s mercies that you have not been consumed. I am powerfully reminded of the words of the apostle Paul which are found in the fourth chapter of his second epistle to the Corinthian congregation—words which wonderfully demonstrate this reality of not being consumed. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distress; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We have the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but of a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:7-18).
WE ARE STILL STANDING! YOU ARE STILL STANDING! I AM STILL STANDING! It is because of the multitude of the mercies of the Lord that you are still standing right now and are not and have not been utterly and completely consumed. It is because of the multitude of the mercies of the Lord that I am still standing right now and are not and have not been utterly and completely consumed. I am reminded of the words which Morpheus proclaimed to Zion in light of the imminent threat and danger that faced Zion. “Zion here me! IT is true what many of you have heard. The machines have gathered an army and as I speak that army is drawing nearer to our home. Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us, but if we are to be prepared for it we mu0st first shed our fear of it. I stand here before you now truly unafraid! Why? Because I believe something you do not? No! I Stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am here not because of the path that lay before me, but because of the path that lies behind me! I remember that for one hundred years we have fought these machines! I remember that for one-hundred years they have sent their armies to destroy us and after a century of war I remember that which matters most! We are still here!@ Tonight let us send a message to that army! Let us shake this cave! Tonight let us tremble these walls of earth, steel and stone!@ let us be heard from red core to black sky! Tonight let us make them remember this is Zion…and we are not afraid.” I absolutely love these words—despite the fact that they are found in a movie whose script is not real—for these words display an incredibly powerful truth. That truth is that despite what you may have faced within your life, you are still here. Despite everything you have faced, and despite everything that has been thrown at you, you are still standing. It is true that you may have experienced events, situations and circumstances that were intended to absolutely and utterly destroy you, but the truth of the matter is that you are still here. They thought your life was over when you were raped, abused and/or molested as a child, or even as a teenager or young adult, yet you are still here, and you are still standing. They thought your life would come to an end when that bullet pierced you flesh, or when you were involved in that car accident, yet you are still here and you are still standing. They thought your life was over when the blade of that knife pierced you again and again, yet you are still here and you are still standing. They thought your life was over when you overdosed or when you were rushed to the emergency room because of alcohol poisoning, yet you are still here and you are still standing. They thought you would be down for the count when that wound of a close friend or loved one completely shattered your world, yet you are still here and you are still standing. That which you have experienced within and throughout the course of your life may have been designed and intended to destroy you, yet you are still here and you are still standing.
Morpheus in this tremendous speech to the inhabitants of Zion wonderfully, powerfully and emphatically declared unto them that despite the fact that the machines had attempted to annihilate them for one-hundred years, they were still here. Not only were they still here, but they were not afraid. STILL HERE AND UNAFRAID! I am convinced there are a number of men and women who desperately need to make this their life’s declaration and life’s testimony. There are men and women who need to make it their testimony and their declaration that not only are they still here, but that are completely and totally unafraid. It’s one thing to still be here, and yet from that place still be fearful, still be timid, still be afraid; it’s something else entirely to still be here and to be unafraid. One of the greatest sources of strength within the heart and soul of Morpheus was found in the path that lie behind him, for it was in the path that lie behind him he recognized that despite the army mounting against Zion to destroy those who dwelt therein, they were still here. Lest we become consumed with the fact that there is no relevance or importance in recognizing the path we have been on, and the fact that we are still here and still standing, we must look at and examine the words of David as recorded in the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms. “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of the ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. IN my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because He was wroth. There went up a smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. And He rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His secret place; His pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the kids. At the brightness that was before Him His thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave His voice; hail stones and coals of fire. Yea, He sent out His arrows, and scattered them; and He shot out lightnings and discomfited them. Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. He sent from above, He took me, He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also in a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me” (Psalm 18:6-19).
With these words, David makes the powerful declaration that He was still here and was still standing because of what the Lord had done within his life, and what the Lord had done on his behalf. What’s more is that as you continue reading this particular passage of Scripture, you will notice that David first speaks of and acknowledges that which the Lord did for him on his behalf, but then eventually transitioned to speaking of that which the Lord enabled him to do through, by, and according to the strength of the Lord. In other words, it was because of the Lord that not only was David still standing and was David still there, but it was also because of the Lord that David was able to withstand, confront and face the enemy himself. David looked back over his life, and I am convinced that it was in the process of looking back over his life—looking over that which the Lord had done for him and on his behalf—that David was able to move forward and remain standing. There are times in our lives when we are still here and we are still standing because of that which the Lord has done and accomplished for us on our behalf, but there are other times when we are still here and are still standing because of what the Lord has enabled us to do. The speech which. Morpheus gave was one that was designed and intended to bring the inhabitants of Zion into the place where they recognized that despite the century long rage of the machines against them, they were still here, and they were still standing. How long has the enemy been persistently raging against you within and throughout your life? How long has the enemy set forth his snares, his traps, his scourges against you, yet you are still here? How long has the enemy been assaulting your life, yet you are still here and you are still standing? It is because of the mercies of the Lord that you are not consumed because His compassions fail not. If you read the writings of the apostle Paul, you will notice specific times when he spoke of everything he endured throughout his life, ministry and calling in Christ Jesus, yet perhaps the single greatest truth that surrounds his words is that he was still there and he was still standing. Despite the fact that he had been shipwrecked, despite the fact that he had been persecuted, despite the fact that he had been beaten, despite the fact that he had been imprisoned, he was still there and he was still standing. This is one of the single greatest realities that surrounds the new and living Temple of the Holy Spirit which Jesus formed on the Day of Pentecost, for there was not a living Temple upon the earth that could never be destroyed, and could never be consumed with fire or by the enemy as were the first and second Jewish Temples. There exists upon the earth right now a living Temple which not only houses the presence and person of the Holy Spirit, but also cannot be touched by any human hands. Since it cannot be touched with or by any human hands, it cannot be destroyed. Remember what is recorded in the book of Acts, and how Luke records that the more they persecuted the church, the more they scattered and the more the Church grew.
YOU ARE STILL HERE! YOU ARE STILL STANDING! It is because of the multitude of the mercies of the Lord that you are still here and that you are still standing. Try as hard as the enemy tried to utterly and completely destroy you, he could not make a complete end of you. The sword of Babylon was brought against Judah and Jerusalem, yet the enemy could not make a complete end of the people of God within the earth. The sword of Rome came and was brought against Jerusalem during the days of the apostles and the early church, yet the enemy could not destroy the Temple which had been made without human hands. What an absolutely incredible testimony you have—the testimony that you are still here and you are still standing. David had the testimony that he was still here and he was still standing—despite the fact that his own son Absalom rose up against him and attempted to seize the kingdom of Israel. Elijah was still here and was still standing—despite the fact the Jezebel threatened to make an end of his life. The apostle Peter was still here and was still standing—despite the fact that the enemy desired to have him that he might sift him as wheat. The apostle Paul was still here and was still standing—despite the fact that both Jews and Gentiles alike sought to utterly and completely destroy Him. Oh dear brother, dear sister—rejoice in the knowledge that you are still here and you are still standing. The Lord in His mercies and compassions—both which fail not and are new every morning—has not allowed you to be utterly and completely destroyed. You may be troubled on every side, yet you are not distressed. You may be perplexed, yet you are not in despair. You may be persecuted, but you are not forsaken. You may be cast down, yet you are not destroyed. Hallelujah to the One who sits upon the throne that in the multitude of His mercies you are not consumed, and there is still and always has been hope available to you and for you. Oh that you and I would be able to stand in the place where we can emphatically proclaim to both the people of God and enemies in hell that we are still here and we are not afraid. We will not be afraid of the arrow by day, nor will we be afraid of the terror by night. We are still standing, and when we reach the point where we can say like the apostle did—“I have fought the good fight of faith—we can declare that it was because of the multitude of the mercies of the Lord, and because of His compassions which fail not.