Lamentations 3:21-24

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him. 


As I have been considering the coming New Year a portion of this verse in Lamentations came into my mind. Hope in the face of adversity is a common theme in the story of humanity; it is also a common biblical theme and it is vividly portrayed in this poetic narrative. 


The book of Lamentations consists of five separate poems;  

In chapter 1 the prophet dwells on the many miseries which have oppressed the city of Jerusalem and describes her as a solitary widow who is weeping because of her situation. 

In chapter 2 these miseries are described in connection with national sins and the acts of God. 

Chapter 3 speaks of hope for the people of God. The chastisement that they endure is only be for their good; a better day would dawn for them. 

Chapter 4 laments the ruin and desolation that had come upon the city and temple, but traces it only to the people's sins. 

Chapter 5 is a prayer that Zion's reproach may be taken away in the repentance and recovery of the people. 


Chapter 3 has 66 verses and in the ESV commentary it states, “I Am the Man Who Has Seen Affliction. Chapter 3 has one speaker, a man who has endured suffering and experienced God’s faithfulness (vv 1-24) and responded to God’s sovereignty and goodness (vv 25-39). He prays for renewal (vv 40-47) and maintains confidence in God’s concern for him and Israel (vv 48-66). 


What I wish to focus on is the phrase found in the beginning of verse 23, “They are new every morning”. A quote like that on its own can have a number of different meanings and we could interpret it in a variety of ways. As all literary works require context, this poetic expression is no different. 


Verse 21 begins with a declaration of a man determined to stir up his heart toward God when he states “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope”. When things seem adversarial we need to recall and remember the goodness and the grace of God. As those experiences of joy and comfort fill our mind, they remind us of the hope that faith in God brings. 


Then the speaker states in verse 22 the first phrase in a series of expressions that support his desire and factually states “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end”. This man is stating that God’s love and His mercies are profound, unending, unquestioned and eternal. 


Let us pause briefly now and ask a question. Do I or do you live in this frame of mind? Take a moment and meditate on it. Do we see God’s love and mercy that way?


The next phrase at the beginning of verse 23 is what ignited my mind and heart to explore this topic further as it says, “they are new every morning”. There are many times when I have gone to bed with a hurt or a heavy heart coming from anger or disappointment with circumstances and life. I pray for understanding or resolution.  Often I awake the next morning with that  feeling of renewal, a fresh perspective, a sense of God’s purposes and I see that through darkness of night and brand new day dawns; God brings hope. What things are new? A discovery in how His amazing love coupled with His mercies bring a joy back to life. It may not solve our problem but certainly our hearts and minds are framed by these truths and assist us to decide or embrace the situation. The end of the verse is punctuated by simply saying “great is your faithfulness”. In other words, God comes through every time.


As verse 24 unfolds, the man says “the Lord is my portion”. The word portion here refers to our inheritance, what we possess through our daily renewal with God that is imparted to us by his love and mercy. The man simply ends this section by saying “therefore I will hope in Him”. In other words, because of all these things my future is bright regardless of what happens to me because I hope in God.


How is your is your hope?


By: David Jones