• JRM Sydney

Lost and Found by the one who is Steadfast

In the book of Psalms in the English Standard Version of the bible, you would find the word "Steadfast" 132 times and 127 of 132 times (96.2%) is connected love. Psalm 136 also mentions that God's steadfast love endures forever in all its verses. This really shows that throughout the Old Testament, the Jewish people have encountered God's steadfast love throughout the generations. God's steadfast love exhibit's grace, mercy, goodness, forgiveness, compassion, faithfulness. However the love and commitment was one way and the Jewish nation has given unfaithfulness back to God by worshipping the false gods within the Temple of Jerusalem and disobeying all of Yahweh's commands.


God has been merciful for generations to Israel; He also is a God of Justice and Wrath (hating evil); and because of God's great love to discipline the Jews, God has allowed Babylon to be conquered by Jerusalem and destroy its Temple (before 600 BC) during the time of Prophet Jeremiah (read 2 King 25, 2 Chronicles 36, Jeremiah 52).


In the midst of the Jewish's pain, great anguish, grief, and sorrow in the hands of Babylon; the writer of lamentations (bible scholars believed it is Jeremiah) has loudly cried his laments to God as written in the book of Lamentations. Some of the verses are as follows:



“I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long” –Lamentations 3:1-3 (ESV)


“I have become the laughingstock of all peoples, the object of their taunts all day long. He has filled me with bitterness; he has sated me with wormwood. He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is deprived of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is” –Lamentations 3:14-17 (ESV)


“Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. Lamentations 3:19-20(ESV)


However, in the midst of all the pain and hurt, Jeremiah remembered the Psalms emphasising the goodness and mercy that Yahweh has bestowed to Israel for generations, and with this Jeremiah tone changes from despair to hope :


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’”

– Lamentations 3:21-24(ESV)

Q1: In the midst of today’s uncertainties and changes, where do we rely our hope to, are you able to share your experience of this reliance of hope?


Q2: If we have not received what we have prayed for, do we still give the same love to God and the people around us and give mercy new every morning?


God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and that unchanging and steadfast love is depicted in Luke 15 as Jesus loved the repentant sinners and tax collectors. Jesus accepted their repentance where the sinners had a renewing of their minds and hearts from their old selfish lives making a U-turn to turn their focus and direction to Jesus.


This renewal or rebirth (repentance) doesn't mean that we will not face trials or sometimes stumble, but because the direction is steadfastly towards Jesus the sinners are fully reliant to God's steadfast love, mercy and grace in leaving their past lives and not to their own strength.

The Parable of the Lost is a Trilogy of God's steadfastness and also a call to those who are self-righteous (Luke 15:1-3). It starts with the parable of the Lost Shepherd which it is never a practice to leave the 99% of the sheep in an open country/field just to find the missing 1%. But with the steadfast love of the "Good Shepherd," he seeks this 1% and when he finds it carries it on his shoulders. This one sheep are us who are repentant, and God has carried us back not by our efforts but by his effort as depicted in the story. God will rejoice for the one who repents over the 99 righteous persons who need no repentance (Luke 15:4-7)

The second part of the trilogy is the parable of the lost coin. It tells that the wife has lost one of the 10 coins of her dowry headdress which symbolises her commitment and reputation as a wife. She does all the effort to light a lamp, turning her house upside down just to steadfastly find that one coin. And when she finds it celebrates with friends and neighbours. The story depicts how the heavens will be rejoicing over one of ten sinner repenting (Luke 15:8-10)


The last part of the trilogy is about the younger son who asked for his inheritance (depicting a lack a severe of respect to his father wishing his father death). The younger son squander's all the inheritance in countries of sin and when famine came, he was forced feed the pigs (filth in Jewish tradition) and eat the pigs food. (Luke 15:11-16)

The younger son recalled the steadfast love and goodness of his father to his hired servants and renews his mind to return to his father not as a son any longer; but humbly request to just to be a hired servant because of what he did.The father though was waiting for the son steadfastly and as he saw his son returning back, the father ran and accepted back his younger son back as child without any hesitation. The father also called for a reunion celebration. (Luke 15:17-24)

However the older son complained that the younger son is undeserving of a celebration because of squandering all the inheritance with prostitutes. The son also claimed all all the good works he has done for father but was frustrated that he did not get even had young goat for celebrating. (Luke 15:25-30)

The older son the missed the point, that the celebration was more of a reunion party and not because of any good work or good deeds. The elder brother is doing good works and was religious but expecting an reward in return. He was focusing on self righteousness, legalism and religiosity. The older son brother want himself his goodness to be celebrated. The older son didn’t realise and appreciate the presence of his Father was just near him all along, that grace from his father was provided to the the older son everyday.


Q3: Do you recall a time that we were expecting something from the Lord in return because of our good works, can you tell us more about it?


So who are we amongst all of these. If we are the younger son a 100% and fully have repented to God, (then to God all the Glory). However we might be a version of the younger son, that returns to God 99.9% of the time (or less) but because we cannot let go of that 0.1% of this world. On the other hand like the older brother, some of us still think that we deserve blessings and grace because of the goodness that we have done not realising that we don't deserve anything because we have sinned.


Q4: Who are we more amongst the brothers depicted above, can you share your experience?

There is only one thing that we deserve death and wrath because all of us fall short (whether big or small) as per Romans 1&3. Similar to what was done to the Jerusalem during the Babylon Era, all of us deserve the same pain, grief, anguish and death.


But we have a living hope.


Reading the verses again in Lamentations, we deserve all the judgement and wrath from our unfaithfulness and disobedience to God. However the Father's wrath was placed to Jesus under this punishment that we should deserve (a life for a life). If we put this as Jesus' lament during his suffering and crucifixion.


“I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long” –Lamentations 3:1-3 (ESV)

“I have become the laughingstock of all peoples, the object of their taunts all day long. He has filled me with bitterness; he has sated me with wormwood. He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is deprived of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is” –Lamentations 3:14-17 (ESV)

“Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. Lamentations 3:19-20(ESV)

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’” –Lamentations 3:21-24(ESV)

Jesus who is Holy and Pure has taken all the judgement and wrath that we should deserve. The verses in lamentations also prophetically depict the pains that Jesus would need to carry for you and me. By Jesus' blood he washed us clean to live a holy and pure life. It is not through our good works that we deserve any rejoicing and celebration, but it is through Jesus' steadfast love (through his death and resurrection) that we have a renewed life and living hope in these current uncertainties, in our struggles, in our transformation, Jesus is our only hope and that we should hold on to Him steadfastly.


Q5: What does repentance mean for us, and why do we do it?


Q6: When was the time that we did not feel that God's love and how did we respond to it?

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