The first eight words of chapter three perfectly summarize what remains of this book. “I am the man who has seen affliction …” One cannot read a single verse without being bitten by the suffering that Jerusalem has endured. And where does the author place the blame? This was for the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests (Lamentations 4:13). No one would have thought that Jerusalem could be conquered. The Lord had established this city as His city, with His sovereign protection. But God has lifted His presence from her and has returned His hand with wrath. It would seem that as great as is His favor, even greater is His anger.

But this is exactly the opposite of the testimony that we see in chapter three.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

In these and the surrounding verses we see Jeremiah full of remembering. He begins by remembering his affliction, the suffering of the city. He continually suffers as he remembers how the Lord has brought Jerusalem low. But then he calls something else to mind. Don’t miss this. In the midst of suffering he remembers something that sustains him. He remembers that while Jerusalem presently knows the wrath of God for her sin, God is yet a God of compassion. Later he says, “for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.”

Anger is not a part of the essential nature of God. God is by nature holy, righteous and just. Anger is the indirect consequence of His justice. But love flows from the very nature of God. Where there is righteousness God will remain just even if he does not remain angry. At all times, whether in seasons of righteousness or iniquity, God’s “mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.”

This is why Jeremiah is right to hope in him, to wait quietly for him. He knows that for those whom the Lord is their portion, His great faithfulness will endure and His mercies will again be known to them. The Lord reigns forever. His throne will be known for His justice. His people will be known for the righteousness that both His discipline and His kindness have fashioned.