Charles Simeon Commentary - Lamentations 3:25 - 3:25

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Charles Simeon Commentary - Lamentations 3:25 - 3:25


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DISCOURSE: 1092

THE GOODNESS OF GOD TO SUPPLIANTS

Lam_3:25. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

“THE earth,” we are told, “is full of the goodness of the Lord [Note: Psa_33:5.]:” and indeed it is not possible to behold the universe at large, or to inspect with accuracy any thing that is contained in it, without being convinced that God is good to all, and that his tender mercy is over all his works [Note: Psa_145:9.]” But to the humble suppliant he manifests his goodness in a more especial manner, as we are informed in the words before us: from which we shall take occasion to notice,

I.       The character here given of the Deity—

The humble suppliant is an object of his peculiar regard. To him he will pay attention,

1.       In a way of merciful acceptance—

[He may have sinned grievously, and for a long season; yea, he may have equalled even Manasseh himself in his iniquities, and yet find mercy with the Lord, provided he seek for it in humble, earnest, and believing prayer [Note: 2Ch_33:12-13.] — — — He may have even backslidden from God, and fallen grievously, after having long professed himself a servant of God; and yet, on his repentance, God will heal his backslidings, and love him freely [Note: Jer_3:22. Psa_32:5.] — — — There are no bounds to the mercy of God towards returning penitents [Note: Isa_1:18.] — — —]

2.       In a way of friendly communication—

[Let any soul “draw nigh to God, and God will draw nigh unto him [Note: Jam_4:8.]:” and let him “open his mouth ever so wide, God will fill it [Note: Psa_81:10.].” Does he need direction in difficulties? God will cause him to “hear a voice behind him, saying, This is the way; walk thou in it [Note: Isa_30:21.].” Is he in deep affliction? God will afford him such a measure of support and consolation as his necessities shall require [Note: Isa_51:3.]. Does he need peculiar supplies of grace and strength? God will give him “grace sufficient for him [Note: 2Co_12:9.],” and “strength according to his day [Note: Deu_33:25.].”]

3.       In a way of gracious recompence—

[Not a sigh or groan shall pass unheeded by Almighty God [Note: Psa_12:5.], nor a tear fall without being treasured up in his vials [Note: Psa_56:8.]. And at the last day he will bear testimony to all the efforts which the contrite soul has made [Note: Isa_66:2.], and will compensate it with an eternal weight of glory; not indeed as a reward of debt, but as a reward of grace, which he has promised to all who seek him in his Son’s name [Note: Joh_6:37. Rom_4:5.].]

And now what language will be sufficient to express,

II.      The encouragement afforded by it—

To enter fully into this would occupy us too long. I will confine myself therefore to the hints suggested in my text. Surely this view of the Deity may encourage all of us,

1.       To seek him with earnestness—

[Were God regardless of the prayers of the poor destitute, we night well sit down in despair. But “he invites to him the weary and heavy-laden;” and says, “Call upon me in the time of trouble, and I will bear thee, and thou shalt glorify me [Note: Psa_50:15.]” We may well therefore go to him, and “pour out our hearts before him,” and plead with him, yea, and “wrestle with him,” as Jacob did, determining “not to let him go until he bless us.” This, so far from offending him, will rather be most acceptable to his Divine Majesty; because he bids us “seek him with our whole hearts” and with our whole souls [Note: 1Ch_22:19. Psa_119:2.] — — —]

2.       To wait for him with patience—

[God may have many wise and gracious reasons for deferring his answers to our prayers: he may wish to embitter sin to us; to humble our souls move deeply; to make us more sensible of our need of mercy, and of our entire dependence on his grace. He may choose this way of weaning us from the world, of quickening us in all our duties, of advancing our attainments in the divine life, and of fitting us for greater usefulness to our fellow-sinners. He may delay his answers, so long as to make us doubt whether he has not “forgotten to be gracious unto us, and shut up his loving-kindness from us in displeasure.” But, knowing his character, we should never abandon ourselves to despair, but “tarry his leisure;” and determine, if we perish, to perish at the foot of the cross, crying for mercy in Jesu’s name. However long “the vision may tarry, we should wait for it,” in a full and perfect confidence that “it shall not tarry” one single moment beyond what God in his wisdom sees to be the fittest time [Note: Hab_2:3.]. Of this we may assure ourselves, that “none shall ever seek his face in vain.”]

Application—

1.       Let none of us, then, neglect the duty of prayer—

[Prayer is indispensably required, in order to our obtaining of the Divine favour [Note: Mat_7:7-8.] — — — And “if we have not, it is either because we ask not, or because we ask amiss [Note: Jam_4:2-3.]. Brethren, remember, I pray you, what you have at stake; and trifle not in your approaches to the Most High God, as if he could be deceived by formal and heartless petitions. Could it once be said of you, “Behold, he prayeth!” we should have a good hope respecting you: but if you live not nigh to God, in the exercise of fervent prayer, we must declare to you, that God’s goodness, so far as it respects you, will speedily come to an end, and be turned into wrathful indignation: for he has said, that “he will pour out his fury upon all who restrain prayer before him, and call not on his name [Note: Jer_10:25.].”]

2.       Let us, in particular, exercise faith in prayer—

[A man “who asks with a wavering mind, can receive nothing of the Lord [Note: Jam_1:6-7.].” Believe that “he is good,” according as he has said, to all who “call upon him in spirit and in truth.” You are authorized to expect at his hands whatever you ask, provided the conferring of it will tend to your welfare, and to the honour of his name [Note: 1Jn_5:14-15.]. His promise to you is, “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask, believing, ye shall receive [Note: Mat_21:22.].” “Be strong, then, in faith, giving glory to him;” and “never be straitened in yourselves, since you need never fear that ye shall be straitened in him:” for, as he is able, so is he also willing, to give you exceeding abundantly above all that you can ask or even think.”]