13 FEBRUARY (PREACHED 13 FEBRUARY 1774)
When every creature comfort fails
‘The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.’ Lamentations 3:24
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Acts 27:13–44
The prophet Jeremiah and the spiritual worshippers of God in his time lived in a cloudy and dark day. Though the Lord set a mark upon them for good and gave them their lives for a prey, yet were they deeply affected with the common calamity of their people. It is no small trial to the people of God to live where wickedness prevails, suppose they suffer no more than from what they see and hear around them, but when the Lord arises to take vengeance, when he sends his desolatory judgements, when he breaks the staff of bread and water, or says to the sword, Sword, go through the land [Ezekiel 14:17], his people, as well as others, have a share in the trouble—and that justly, for they have not been so faithful as they ought in bearing a testimony against sin, neither have they been so deeply humbled before God on this account as became them. However, at the worst they have two consolations: firstly that his providence is with them to support and bring them safe through all they meet, and secondly that he himself is their friend, their God, their portion—a portion which no change of circumstance can deprive them of. And here we see the triumph of faith that can rejoice in the Lord when every creature comfort fails and can claim an interest in him when all things seem against them. The believers at this time saw their country laid waste, their cities destroyed, their temples burnt by fire, their neighbours and friends cut off by sword and pestilence, they themselves rooted out from their pleasant dwellings and sent captives into a strange land. Yet in the midst of all this desolation they could say, The LORD is my portion, therefore though cast down, we are not destroyed—I will hope in him.
FOR MEDITATION: We have had a great blow at Olney. Betty Abraham is gone. We prayed for her continuance, but the time when Jesus had prayed she might be with him to see his glory being come, we could not keep her, nor is it fitting we should. My soul desires to say, Thy will be done. Yet I feel as if I had lost a right hand.… I preached her funeral last night from Lamentations 3:24, which were some of the last words she spoke.
John Newton to John Ryland jnr, 14 February 1774
SERMON: LAMENTATIONS 3:24 [1/4] [FOR BETTY ABRAHAM’S FUNERAL]