What Does 'The Steadfast Love of the Lord Never Ceases' Mean in Lamentations 3:22?
What Does 'The Steadfast Love of the Lord Never Ceases' Mean in Lamentations 3:22?
Meg Bucher Writer and Author
Just by waking to a new day, we have overcome the night to live another day, under God’s sovereign reign. How is it that love is what sustains us?
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;” – Lamentations 3:22 ESV
Unlike us, God’s love doesn’t waver. We are tempted to withhold love, let it decrease or favor one person over the other; but God loves equally and justly all of the time. It doesn’t matter if we mess up, even repeating the same sins we’ve confessed and tried to defeat. Though we suffer consequences and disciple in our walk of faith, God’s love for us never changes.
What Does 'The Steadfast Love of the Lord Never Ceases' Mean?
Lamentations was most likely written by the prophet Jeremiah while the Jews were in exile in Babylon, lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem (NIV). Their home had been taken from them and destroyed. At a time when they had the most cause to lose hope, God reminded them of His never-ending love for them. The entirety of the phrase reads:
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)
The NIV translation reads:
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
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This verse means God’s people then, and we now, can put our hope not in the shifting circumstances of our lives and this world, but in the rock-solid love of God that never changes. “The ‘hope’ that the writer expresses here is not created by denying or minimizing suffering and misery,” the Expositor’s Bible Commentary explains, “Rather, these are transformed when the mind is turned to God. The vital word in verse 22 is 'great love,’ the covenant love and loyalty of the Lord that leads to ‘compassion.’” God’s love is unwavering, and His faithfulness is unchanging. God is unchanging. Who He is, regardless of our behavior or circumstances, never changes.
Just by waking to a new day, we have overcome the night to live another day, under God’s sovereign reign. The VOICE paraphrase reads:
“How enduring is God’s loyal love; the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion. Here they are, every morning, new! Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day.”
God is truth and life. He is the Author of our breath and determines our purpose before we are born. Nothing is a mystery to God. He goes before us and behind us, and remains with us. We can’t see into the future to the end of our suffering, but we can put our hope in God, through Christ. Great love, in Hebrew, describes the “Lord’s repeated acts of loving faithfulness to his covenant promises” (NIV)
Where Else Does the Bible Describe God's Love and Faithfulness?
“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Exodus 34:6)
When God destroyed the earth in a global flood, preserving only Noah, his family and the pairs of every species on the ark with them, the problem with humanity’s sin wasn’t solved. The decision Adam and Eve made in the garden sealed the curse of sin into the fate of humanity. Yet, God, out His love, dedicated the rainbow as a sign He would never destroy the earth in a flood again.
God rescued His people from Pharaoh and brought them out of Egypt because of His love for them. He brought them into the promised land out of His love for them. All along the journey His people rebelled and disobeyed. There are so many dramatic scenes of discipline and consequence along the journey. But God never gives up on us, despite our waywardness and rebellion. “The heart of God is like an inexhaustible spring of water that bubbles up love and faithfulness at the top of the mountain,” Pastor John Piper writes, “Century after century the spring keeps on flowing.”
Isaiah warned God’s people, and Jeremiah consoled them during the exile they were promised to come as a result of their waywardness and rebellion. Yet, God did not leave them without hope. Here, in Lamentations, we read of His love, unfailing and faithful. Their Savior would come, and they would return home. Jesus, the Messiah, didn’t just pop onto the scene at His earthly birth in Bethlehem. He was with God in the beginning, and through Him all things were made. He is the Living Word of God. And He did arrive on earth, as promised, because:
“God so loved the world He sent His one and only Son.” (John 3:16)
God loved the world. The wayward, rebellious world. All are welcome to come to Him through His Son Jesus.
Jeremiah wrote, “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love” (Lamentations 3:32 NIV). Suffering is an inevitable part of life on this earth, but we hang onto the hope we have in who God is. Psalm 107:43 says,
“Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the LORD.”
And Psalm 89:1,
“I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.”
Throughout the Bible, we read account after account of the faithful worshiping God through the mess, the madness, and the difficulty of this life. We cry, “Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love” (Psalm 6:4 NIV). Not because of who we are, all falling short (Romans 3:23), but because of who He is. Isaiah wrote,
“I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us- yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.” (Isaiah 63:7 NIV)
How Does God's Steadfast Love Impact Us Every Day?
“And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:61-62 ESV)
Peter denied Jesus, even though Jesus warned him ahead of time. Paul persecuted Christians before becoming a Christ follower, but even in service of the gospel wrote he still did what he hated. Thomas doubted Jesus to the point Christ instructed him to touch his wounds for proof. The Bible is full of people who messed up immensely, yet still served God faithfully. “God’s enduring love and constant mercies are not only new every morning,” Jon Bloom writes,” but new every moment.” We don’t have to wait to serve a penance to be forgiven for our sins. Through Christ, we wake each morning to confess them and receive forgiveness! God’s faithful love cannot be earned, nor lost, on account of our human struggle with the curse of sin on this earth. God’s love for us made a way for us to come to Him as we are.
We don’t have to wait to be fixed or healed of our problems and strongholds to be fully loved by God. “As I look back over my life, I treasure the painful times,” Dena Johnson Martin writes, “I have learned that when life gets hard, I can know His goodness and grace.” He loves us, as is. To accept the love of Jesus, and reciprocate that love by the way we love God and live our lives according to His will. This is God’s faithful love at work in our hearts.
A Prayer to Remember God’s Faithful Love
Abba, Yahweh. You are so good! Your steadfast love never ceases! Your mercies are new every morning. You never tire of us. Your love never falters or fades. Glory to You, the One True God.
Praise You for this day, and Your purpose for it. Thank You for the truth in Your Word, which meets us in our struggles and reminds us of our joy. Your encouragement and companionship is life to dry bones.
Thank You, Jesus, for the sacrifice You willingly accepted to bring glory to God and free us from the deadly consequences of our sin. Thank You for calling us friends, for walking through each day with us, understanding what it feels like to walk the earth in human skin.
Our prayer today is for our lives to reflect the faithful love of the Father. Let our lives bring glory and honor to God. Remind us of Your mercy, faithfulness, and love.
In Jesus’ Name,
The Message paraphrase of Lamentations 3:22-23 reads,
“God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great is your faithfulness! I’m sticking with GOD (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.”
There are crushing moments in life when we feel isolated and alone. It’s often these very moments God is the closest, speaks the clearest, and gives our storm-raged hearts absolute peace. When we empty ourselves at His feet, He is faithful. After the storm subsides, we will assuredly find those He has faithfully placed in our lives to turn and serve for His glory. “He gives you the mercy needed to represent His compassion,” Sharon W. Betters wrote, “Expect new mercies designed to remind you that He is the Lord your God and calls you by name.” When we develop the discipline of living Lamentations 3:22-23 in our lives, we know He is there for us, sometimes through others, and for others, sometimes through us. Glory to God in the highest.
NIV Study Bible
Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Abridged Edition): Old Testament. Copyright 2004.
NIV Study Bible, Copyright © 1985, 1995, 2002, 2008, 2011 by Zondervan.
Meg, freelance writer and blogger at Sunny&80, is the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” and “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” She writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. Meg earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay at home and raise her two daughters, which led her to pursue her passion to write. She has led a Bible Study for Women and serves as a Youth Ministry leader in her community. Meg, a Cleveland native and lifelong Browns fan, lives by the shore of Lake Erie in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and golden doodle.
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