43: “I Will Turn Their Mourning into Joy” (Jeremiah 30–52, Lamentations)
We all have experienced wounds of some sort. These can be physical wounds, like those that come from falling off a bike, or emotional wounds, like those that occur when your feelings are hurt. Jeremiah and his people saw many kinds of wounds in their day, and the prophet lamented over them in his writing. But these scriptures are about more than mourning—Jeremiah 30–52 and the book of Lamentations also express sympathy for those with wounds of their own while promising that all will be healed through Christ.
Jeremiah 30:12-13 (Incurable bruises, JST gives hope of a cure)
Isaiah 1:5-6 (The whole body is bruised)
Jeremiah 31:1 (We are God’s people)
Jeremiah 31:3 (God’s love is everlasting)
Jeremiah 31:4 (God will build us up)
Jeremiah 31:9 (God is a father to Israel)
Jeremiah 31:12-13 (Comfort from sorrow)
Jeremiah 31:17 (Hope for the future)
Jeremiah 31:33 (A covenant for the house of Israel)
Lovingkindness = hesed - mercy and love
Jeremiah 31:31-34 (Write the law on our hearts)
Words of the Prophets:
“When we realize that we are children of the covenant, we know who we are and what God expects of us [see 1 Nephi 15:13–14]. His law is written in our hearts [see Jeremiah 31:33]. He is our God and we are His people [see Jeremiah 31:33; 32:38]. Committed children of the covenant remain steadfast, even in the midst of adversity. …
“The greatest compliment that can be earned here in this life is to be known as a covenant keeper. The rewards for a covenant keeper will be realized both here and hereafter” (Russell M. Nelson, “Covenants”, Oct 2011 General Conference)
Jeremiah 1:10 (Gardening metaphor)
Jeremiah 32:40-41 (I will not turn away)
Jeremiah 33:9,11 (The fruits of God’s garden)
Fear = Reverence or awe
Lamentations 1:21 (There is none to comfort)
2 Chronicles 35:25 (Jeremiah wrote Lamentations)
Hebrew:Lamentations = Eicha - alas
Lamentations 3:17 (Removed my soul from peace)
Lamentations 3:25 (Wait and seek)
Lamentations 3:32 (Yes there is grief, but also compassion)
Lamentations 3:38-39 (There must be punishment for sin)
Lamentations 3:55-59 (God is there)
Lamentations 3:64-66 (Render unto them a recompense)
When I was a little girl, my dad owned a motorcycle. He was and is the coolest. One sunny Saturday afternoon he took me on a ride and it was glorious. Just my dad and me, wind whipping through our hair, not a care in my 8-year old world. At one point on this ride, my dad made a very bold decision and channeling his inner Evil Knievel, he popped a wheelie and it was awesome. Until it wasn't. I flew off the back of the motorcycle and he followed. I can remember my dad frantically scooping me up with great care and consternation because I was wounded. Nothing life-threatening, but man did I have some bruising and sores. I want us to think about bruising, sores and wounds, and maybe the ones that you have had or maybe ones you still do. Jeremiah 30-Lamentations addresses wounds. And if the people had reacted like my father with care and consternation, their wounds may have been healed.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living, where we take the Come, Follow Me lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. Now if you're new to our study group, I just want to make sure you know how to use this podcast, so please follow the link in our description and it's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your Come Follow Me study, just like my friend Terry Hartvigsen that I met at Deseret Book. Hi, friend. Now another awesome thing my favorite about this study group is each week we're joined by two of my friends, and it's a little bit different. And today we have two regulars but boy, we haven't had you two together for a while. Hi, Sharon and Charmaine, how are you guys?
Charmaine Howell 1:37
Sharon Staples 1:37
Good, thank you. Good to be with you.
Charmaine Howell 1:39
So fun to be back.
I want to sing, (sings) "Reunited and it feels so good." All three of us used to be in the same Ward and then Shar will left to go to Minnesota as you know, and Sharon's here. But the three of us, I don't think we've recorded together since the first year we started.
Sharon Staples 1:56
We did one other time, I think, but it's been a couple of years.
Charmaine Howell 2:00
Yeah, so great to be back together.
Yeah, it's good to have your faces on my screen here via zoom. So
Sharon Staples 2:06
Yes, it is; good to see you.
I love these ladies, we're going to have a good discussion today because they have much to say about what we're talking about. But before we get into that, if you guys want to know more information about my guests, you can read their bios and see some fun pictures of them in our show notes, which you'll find at LDS living.com/sunday On Monday, so go check that out. Okay, so this is our second week studying Jeremiah. And so we also get to read Lamentations. And we talked about this last week, because it really is like reading Jeremiah's journal, specifically when we get to Laminations. So here before we even dive in, I just want you quickly to share with everybody your thoughts on Jeremiah and Lamentations, because you both texted me and shared with me what you thought I want everyone to hear what you think.
Charmaine Howell 2:48
I'll go first because Sharon will probably be better than my take away. But I gave like a really solid effort at studying these chapters and digging in and I just kept coming back to, and this is, I am excited for you to teach me Tammy. But I was like, I'm just not getting it. I'm not feeling it and maybe it's because it feels a little bit like stream of consciousness. Like when I was 15 writing in my journal and just like blubbering and Oh, and this and that. And, and I'm excited to get to know and love this part of Jeremiah.
It was hard, huh.
Charmaine Howell 3:25
Right. It's, right, lots of stuff going on in his life. And I just felt like okay, where are we going with this?
I did love your text. You've been texting me some verses and you're like, I don't get it. I love it. Tell us your thoughts, Sharon.
Sharon Staples 3:40
Well, initially, I was depressed. I thought, Oh my gosh, this is so sad. This whole nation is dwindling in unbelief and unrighteousness. And he just goes on and on about how terrible it is and the analogies he makes and I thought, oh my gosh, and I felt so sorry for the Jewish nation. I thought, what? They're, they're in dire straits in these chapters in Jeremiah and Lamentations. Luckily, there are a few verses of hope, which gave me hope. But the overall concern was one of this is so sad, and I'm so depressed reading about this whole nation of the Jewish people. And so I kept reading and reading and reading and then realized that the Lord is always the light at the end of the tunnel. So that helped a little bit. Yeah,
Charmaine Howell 4:33
That was great. Sharon, thank you. Hold on. I'm writing that, 'the Lord is the light at the end of the tunnel."
Charmaine Howell 4:38
I'm already learning what Jeremiah is about.
Right? Okay, so I started out telling a story about wounds and falling off the motorcycle, which, I've forgiven my dad, it was a moment. Anyway, do you guys have an experience? Do either one of you have stories about a wound that needed to be healed or didn't heal or anything like that?
Sharon Staples 4:55
Sure. I have one. I was a freshman at BYU. And in my day, they had sororities and fraternities. And I had applied to go to this certain sorority. And I was turned down. And I was devastated. And it wasn't until years later when they disbanded sororities and fraternities that I felt better about myself. I thought I wasn't good enough anyway, so they're not having them anymore so I don't need to worry. You know, that was, you know, I was 18, you know, away from home for the first time. Strange people, roommates - didn't know them. And I thought, well, I can join this sorority and then I'll have friends. And da-da-da-da-da-da. Luckily, the sister missionaries caught me right after that defeat and so I got the gospel. So what I was, I was, I was wounded. I was very wounded and not be accepted.
Charmaine Howell 5:49
Yeah. Oh, that's pain,
That's a good wounded story. That's, that's not a physical wound, that's emotional.
No, that's an emotional wound.
I like how you took that. Very good. What about you Char?
Charmaine Howell 5:59
Mine was a physical wound. I think I was like 5 or 5. My family lived in California and we lived on a steep hill. And you know, being a five-year old, I was out riding scooters and skateboards with my siblings and barefoot. Got on a skateboard and started going down the steep hill of thios street. And thought, Oh, I'm going too fast. So I put my bare foot down to stop it. And it just like skidded, and took off the whole top of my like, skin on my big toe. And I just remember being like, Oh, that was a bad idea. Just limping back up the street, little blood drops the whole way up, and I'm crying and coming into the house and my dad, similar to you Tammy, he just scooped me up and brought me to the bathroom and started washing it off. And it hurt like crazy. And he was putting stuff on it, but it took a little bit to get better.
Oh, that's a, ugh, my stomach. Ugh, I don't like blood all. Well, thank you for sharing your stories about being wounded. Because I want us to jump into Jeremiah and let's see how the Lord uses the imagery of wounds when He's describing Israel. So turn with me to Jeremiah 30:12-13 and we're just gonna read these two verses.
Sharon Staples 7:13
12 "For thus saith the LORD, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous.
Sharon Staples 7:22
13 "There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines."
Okay, let's talk about this. I want to know, why would it say their wounds can't heal? Like what's going on? Because wounds eventually do heal. What's He trying to teach us here?
Sharon Staples 7:40
Well, I always look at the eternal perspective. And the wounds here for me are our spiritual and emotional, rather than the physical wounds. And they stay with us. Like my example is, I still remember that, yeah, it's still in my mind, it's still part of my life. It's part of who I am. And although it wasn't that grievous for me, the healing medicines were there, and they came, but not to the degree that I forgot it. So for me, it's a continual remembrance of what has happened and what's going on because it will affect all of their lives, it will affect their nation, it will affect everything.
Charmaine Howell 8:30
Right. And I was kind of thinking maybe it's spiritual as well with, you know. If you sin and you're a fallen, you can't physically, you can't spiritually, get back up to where you were without the Savior. Right? So it said like, there's none to plead thy cause while they're not, maybe I don't know really what this means. Maybe it's that they're not relying on the Savior, they can't spiritually heal themselves, right?
That's exactly it, Char. That's exactly what that means. There's none to plead thy cause because they have forsaken, because they have turned away from the Savior. They are not covenant-keepers. And it's not because the Savior won't help them, because they don't want the Savior's help. They're like, Oh, we can do this. In fact, there's a great cross reference. If you put Isaiah 1:5,6. I'll remind us of what this read,and you can go there on your own if you want later. We read this with Don Perry, and this is what the verse says,
ISA 1:5 "Why should you be stricken anymore? You will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
6 "From the soul of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment."
Sharon Staples 9:44
Ouch is right. And so we have this scenario. So Sharon, I appreciate how you described your feelings as you read Jeremiah. It is so sad because these people want nothing to do with the Savior and being healed. But It's interesting because, let's go to the footnote for Jeremiah 30:12. Go back to verse 12, now, and I want you to look at footnote a) next to the word 'thy', because there is a change in this verse with the Joseph Smith Translation. Look down below and Char, will you read for us what it really says?
Charmaine Howell 10:16
12a "Thy bruise is not incurable, although thy wounds are grievous, Is there none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up? Hast thou no healing medicines?"
Now that changes. Instead of saying thy bruise is incurable, He says, "Thy bruise is not incurable."
Sharon Staples 10:37
Tell me why, Sharon.
Sharon Staples 10:40
Oh, my gosh, it gives you hope. I mean, that 'not' says there's hope.
That's all these people need. And that's all we, I feel like that's all we need sometimes. It's a little glimmer of hope, like, Oh, wait. No, you can be healed. And you said that, Sharon, I think it was great, that the Lord is the light at the end of the tunnel. And that is exactly what He'll be for these people throughout the book of Jeremiah. They are wounded, they have sores, and again Isaiah: putrifying sores. And all they have to do is turn to the Savior and He's going to heal them; He is going to be their Balm, their healing medicine. So I want you to keep this in mind today as we study Jeremiah and Lamentations, because the people are deeply wounded with almost no hope. But we say almost because what we want to know and what we're going to learn in the next segment and in the next chapter of Jeremiah is that it does offer hope and healing. And we'll talk about that next.
Segment 2 11:30
All right, you two. What would you say is the best Happy Ending movie of all time? And I asked you this ahead of time to think about so I can't wait to find our your answers. Go.
Charmaine Howell 11:52
Well, it's definitely not Avengers Infinity War where Thanos snaps and half the population disappears. And then it ends.
No happy ending there. No. You're totally right.
Charmaine Howell 12:01
I was, I kind of thought about it. I think that hands down the best is "Homeward Bound". Have you seen that movie?
Sharon Staples 12:10
Charmaine Howell 12:10
Oh, come on, Tammy, Sharon. Oh, come on!
Isn't it a dog movie?
Charmaine Howell 12:14
It's about two dogs and a cat and they get lost and the family moves and they find their way like across country back to them. It is so good. Watch it tonight, Family Home Evening, whatever you got to do. The last scene is this like 12- year old boy and he's waiting as like these, you know, the first dog comes up and he's like, 'What? You made it home?' You know? And so then he's looking like, did anyone else make it and then the little cat comes limping across and whoa you made it? Sassy, you made it? And then he's like, Where's shadow? And he just waits, and he waits and waits and finally Shadow comes like running up, this old Golden Retriever. It's so good. It is so good. You're just gonna cry. You're gonna love it.
We could talk about all the parallels to religion in that movie for an hour.
Charmaine Howell 13:02
Oh, it's so good.
It sounds like a Sharon movie, for sure. I think Sharon would love that movie.
Sharon Staples 13:06
Well, I can't I can't tolerate the sadness as they travel. I have seen it, now that I think about it.
Sharon Staples 13:14
Yeah, and it
Charmaine Howell 13:15
You go through the bumps in the mountains and that.
Sharon Staples 13:16
Oh my gosh, it's just, I thought, I was crying before the halfway through. I thought I can't, these poor little animals.
Charmaine Howell 13:23
Oh, yeah. It's so good.
Okay, "Homeward Bound". That was awesome. What did you come up with, Sharon?
Sharon Staples 13:29
I came up with "An Affair to Remember" with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. Oh, when he walks into her room and she's lying there because she's crippled, and she couldn't meet him at the Empire State Building because she got run over by a car. And then he comes in and he's so cruel. He's, Oh, you know. He's so mean and sarcastic and whatever. And then it dawns on him. And he goes in the room and sees the painting that she bought of him of, and he realized that in talking to the art director who sold the painting to her, the art director said a woman came in in a wheelchair and bought this. And then he saw the picture in her room, and he came back out and she was lying on the couch. And he said, and he was just grief-stricken. Why didn't you tell me? Then they embrace, and their love. And it was just so sweet that they, that they got together again after several years of missing each other.
Charmaine Howell 14:31
Such a frustration and lack of communication though.
Sharon Staples 14:34
Charmaine Howell 14:35
If she had just told him. Come on,
Sharon Staples 14:38
Right. And she said she didn't want him to be saddled with a crippled woman. He was so tender with her when he found out and she was crying and he was crying and I thought, Oh, what a happy ending.
Charmaine Howell 14:54
That is such a good one.
Good. Oh, both of your movies were good choices. Okay. I want us to be thinking about this, because I felt like as I was reading Jeremiah chapter 31, it was sort of like a movie with happy endings. So here's a little bit of information going into this. So the Lord sends the prophet Jeremiah to call Judah to repentance before Babylon conquered Jerusalem and carried many of the Jews to Babylon. As a result, his warnings and prophecies often have a tone of impending doom, which we talked about at the beginning. You just felt so sad because it was so negative. However, Jeremiah also knew what the future held for Israel in the last days. And Jeremiah 31 has Happy Ending verses that I asked my guests to come help me find as they read through this. So I want to know, what did you find? What were the happy ending verses you found in Jeremiah 31? What are our verses filled with hope?
Charmaine Howell 15:43
I like verse 1, to start it off.
Charmaine Howell 15:46
It said, "At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people." So He right there, He's just claiming them right as you're my people, you're my family. And, there's no, that's, that's hopeful, in my opinion, right?
Oh, I like that.
Sharon Staples 16:04
In fact, a lot of them are like that. And even verse 4, "Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel". In fact, there's so many verses in 31 that indicate hope and His love for this people who have gone astray.
I liked 3 when you talked about love, Sharon. Verse 3 in the middle says, "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness, have I drawn thee." And that word lovingkindness is HESED right there that we've talked about before. But with HESED have I drawn thee. This just, with loving kindness, He just loves us. Remember, we He just called them out for having wounds. He just called them out for not using Him to heal them. And now He's like, 'but I just love you. I just love you.' Keep going, what other verses,
Sharon Staples 16:55
Another one was 12. "Therefore they should come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil," and whatever. And I just thought, sing, to "sing in the heights of Zion", that was wonderful.
Charmaine Howell 17:10
And the end of that verse, I thought was great. For "their soul shall be as a watered garden, and they shall not sorrow any more at all."
Sharon Staples 17:18
I know, and love this.
Charmaine Howell 17:19
flowing water, wonderful, you know. And then the end of 13 was good. "For I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow." It's like, I'll just, I'll turn it all around. It's just, you thought it was all this, but now it's all this, right? It's all the good.
Oh, absolutely. That's so beautiful. Keep going. These are so good.
Sharon Staples 17:42
In Jeremiah 31:33, where He makes another covenant. And to me that, because we are a covenant people today, that I really resonated with that. It said, "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel;" And of course, we are of the house of Israel. And we make covenants. And that just resonated with me. You know, as I go to the temple and renew my covenants, I think, Oh my gosh, He was doing it then, He's doing it now.
Oh, yeah. I like 17. For "there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border." First of all, there is hope. I appreciate that. I like the footnote for the 17a, there is hope "for thy future", instead of in thine end. Like, God says there's hope for the future. And there always is with Christ, there is always hope. 100%. And when we talk about having hope in Christ, we're really talking about truly what He will do for us. I hope that works for me. I hope He helps me, I hope I can get whatever it is we need. Like there's so much hope in Him and He's saying there is hope for thy future. That makes me feel a lot of peace.
Charmaine Howell 18:57
Yeah, yeah. The last one I was thinking was 31:9 and it said, "They shall come weeping, and with supplications, will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble, for I am a father to Israel," And it's again that father feeling. He's just like I love you so much, you know, and I will help you walk without stumbling. And just that's what a dad does, you know, makes sure that we don't stumble along. He helps us as much as he can.
Yeah, absolutely. This particular chapter is filled with 'I have not abandoned you. I have, you know, I am your father', as Char said. 'I am your father; I love you and I will pick you up. I'll pick you up off the gravel road when you fall off the motorcycle, I will pick you up when you're, pick you up when you are denied entrance to a club. I will pick you up' and I just, it's just a hopeful chapter.
Sharon Staples 19:33
It is. I thought I will pick you up when you stub your toe.
Oh, right, yeah. Even the little things.
Every wound that every one of us experiences and feels in this lifetime, every single wound can be healed, can be - what's another word?
Sharon Staples 20:13
Made whole again.
Yes, made whole again. And the cool thing is, is He offers us this Balm of Gilead, which we have heard so often throughout our, our experience as being members of this church and the balm is Him. It, He is what, He's the salve that will heal us and cure whatever it is we're experiencing. And Jeremiah uses that term Balm of Gilead. So it's pretty awesome. He understands sores, he gets us. In fact, I think Jeremiah 31 might be my go-to chapter from here on out For anyone who's feeling sad, depressed, discouraged, down, go and read Jeremiah 31. Because it's filled, I mean, just again, I have loved thee with everlasting love. That means it never ends, there's no end to the amount of love that He feels for us, no matter what you've done, no matter how many wounds you have, He will not stop putting band-aids on them. And that means a lot to me because when I had little kids, we went through band-aids like it was nobody's business. And they're expensive. So like, it doesn't matter the cost, I'll buy the band-aids at Costco over and over again, like, I'll do whatever it takes to heal your wounds.
Charmaine Howell 21:13
Yeah, we had a conversation in our, in church the other week about ministering and how if we have someone that we minister to is going through hard things and difficult things, and you feel like you don't really know how to minister to them. And you don't know what to do to help. Somebody said, Well, it's not our job to fix them. It's our job just to love them. And so I was thinking about while you were just talking about how the Lord heals us, because it is His job to fix us and to heal us. That's his job, right? And so He is going to love us always and forever. And He's going to heal us, too.
Oh I, yes Char. I love that you just shared that story, because it reminded me of a story a friend just recently shared, where the friend was very, very depressed and so sad about a friend situation that happened in junior high. They're much older now. But their dad came in and sat on the bed with them, and said, I don't know how to make this situation better. But I'll just sit with you and love you until you feel better. Mm hmm. I thought that was the greatest answer for any, especially for my kids in the teenage years. Like I don't know how to fix this friend situation. But I know how to sit here and love you until you can feel better. And that dad sat there and let that child cry, and loved on that child until they could finally just get it together to at least walk out of the room and eat, you know? It just works that simple, so
Charmaine Howell 22:33
Right. Right. And someone has done that to me as well in a time of need that they were like, I don't really know how to help you with this problem you're having, but I'll sit next to you. It was a brother of mine. And he just sat by me and that's something the Savior would do. But the Savior will also heal those wounds. Right?
Yeah. That's true. He'll sit with us, and then He'll heal us. Wow. Thank you. Thank you to both of you. Okay. So, we just got done talking about all this hope and happiness. And the cool thing is, and Sharon, you beautifully introduced us to this concept. Hope and happiness is directly tied to covenants, and we're gonna talk about that in the next segment.
Segment 3 22:57
Okay, so we're in Jeremiah chapter 31. We're going to study specifically verses 31-34. So let's go there, because throughout the book of Jeremiah, he refers to a physical gathering in the land of promise after the Jews exile in Babylon, and there is another even more important component of the gathering that he taught. So we're gonna go over this. Now, as we read these verses, I want you to follow along and look for what the Lord would do as a part of the gathering of Israel. So that's what we're looking for. What will the Lord do as a part of the gathering of Israel? And we're going to read verses 31-34. Okay, here we go; each one of us take a verse, we'll start with you, Char.
Charmaine Howell 24:26
31:31 "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
Sharon Staples 24:32
32 "Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD;
33 "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Charmaine Howell 24:58
34 "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
Thank you. What did you mark? What will the Lord do as a part of the gathering of Israel?
Charmaine Howell 25:20
He will give them a new covenant.
Yes, let's mark that, underline that in verse 31. He is going to give them a new covenant. Okay, so let's talk about this for a minute because I thought this was so interesting. The word 'new' in that verse in verse 31; highlight it, circle it, whatever you want to do. So this is the fullness of the gospel. And it would be revealed anew to the house of Israel - a n e w - put that next to the word 'new'. So while God had previously established His covenant with their fathers, the patriarchs which he's explains there, over time, some of the components of this covenant had been lost, such as the Melchizedek priesthood, the higher law, and the fullness of temple ordinances. Jeremiah foresaw the day when the house of Israel would at last accept God's new and everlasting covenant, or anew everlasting covenant. So when we talk about this new and everlasting covenant, we're not just talking about marriage, we're talking about the fact that Joseph Smith restored it anew back onto the earth. The everlasting covenant is the gospel of Jesus Christ founded on covenants. So let's think about because I want us to remember a new and everlasting covenant does not just mean marriage, because if it did, then that means Sharon, you're out of the running sorry,
Sharon Staples 26:37
You know, well I've been out of the running. See it's just when you're expelled from a sorority, you're out of the running. So that's what, it started, then; I was only 18 and I was expelled. So, you know,
They knew, they yeah, they just right there. They stamped your, you're not getting your passport stamped. Sorry, ma'am. No entry for you. I want us to just kind of think about this because for us to know that now it doesn't just mean marriage, Sharon, share that with us, knowing that it means anew - A N E W - the covenant was restored back onto the earth, how does that make you feel?
Sharon Staples 27:09
Well again, it gives u, it gives me the words that pop into my mind, the Balm of Gilead and hope, it gives me hope. I don't have to be excluded. I'm not excluded, I don't feel excluded. I've never been excluded Well, once, but I've never been, I've never been excluded. So this gives me hope that all will work out. It's, and to have the restoration ongoing, that's an important component for me. And it says in the footnote there, that it is the Restoration of the gospel, that everlasting covenant. And again, it's the eternal perspective. My, my view has to be past this mortal second estate; it has to be into the eternal, and this tells me eternally, things are going to be great. They're going to be fine. Not to worry. Don't sweat the small stuff. So it's great.
Well I want to know your thoughts on this, Sharon. What about for people where it does feel exclusionary? There are people who feel excluded, Like, help me understand or maybe how would you process that with someone who says, 'Yeah, but I feel like it's excluding me.'
Sharon Staples 28:23
I have found in the past that when I felt excluded, I needed to dive in, to whatever it was, and, and be included in them in their group and their ideas and their understanding, to find out why I'm excluded. And talk about that and say, I want to be part of this organization, I want to be part of this ward, I want to be part of this branch, I want to be part of this. So I have to put forth the effort. I can't wait for them to come to me, I have to go to them. I have to make the effort, I have to make the initiative. I have to say, Okay, bite the bullet, gird up your loins and go talk to that sister or go talk to that brother, or go talk to that man who talked and and say, Here I am, I'm vulnerable. I want, I want to be included, how do I do that? So it has to, to me, it has to be a personal effort. And and sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. I mean sometimes you'll be cast out again and again and again. But knowing that I have eternity to be cast out or included, I focus on the inclusion.
Charmaine Howell 29:33
I like that. I like that you just said I have eternity, because sometimes I think our answers don't feel fixable in the moment and in this life even. Right? But I really love it's all through Scripture and I don't know the reference because I don't, but it's where Jesus invites all men to come unto Me. All. And that's not just a saying, it's everyone. It is including everyone. And I think something that's really being stressed these days with the church is that we invite all to come and all to see and all to feel. And we all are very, very different. Right? Our lives don't look the same. And so, but we do all have the same path back to God, even though our lives look different. Does that make sense?
Charmaine Howell 30:28
Sometimes I think I get confused with the, with the phrase, you know, we all have our own path back to God. And sometimes I'm just like, I'm not sure how I, what I think about that. Do we all have our own path back to God? Or do we have God's path back to God? And we're all doing it with our own different experiences. Does that makes sense?
Sharon Staples 30:54
Oh, great distinction; great distinction, Char. That makes so much sense. It's God's. path. That's great, great insight. Thank you.
Well, and you know, it's kind of cool. Because back when we studied Isaiah with Anne Madsen and Jennifer Brinkerhoff Platt, Anne Madsen did a beautiful job of explaining to us this pathway back to Christ when she told us her experience being in a field with sheep. And she watched the shepherd call the sheep's name, and each sheep took its own path back to the shepherd. But they were all on the shepherd's path, like they were all going towards the shepherd. That is what you just, it is. I love that, Char. We are all on God's path back to Him. And how we get there, it might be, it might look a little bit different, but we are on His path towards Him when we're going towards Him. That's His path, right? I love that you brought that up.
And then I'm just thinking of the Savior who, from our last segment, He's just gonna sit with us. And I think that's what we have to do for these, for all of the people that we love who are on a different path, is to say, I don't know how to fix this for you but I'll sit with you until you feel better. I'll sit here with you in this space, and I'll cry with you, I'll mourn with you. And Sharon, I appreciated that you brought up the footnote down below where it talks about the everlasting covenant, Restoration of the gospel, for 31a. And that I appreciate so much our Prophet has said we are in the restoration. Like it wasn't a done deal when Joseph Smith restored the gospel. Things are consistently being restored, and I love that about our church. It is living, it is changing, it is growing. That's beautiful.
Charmaine Howell 32:24
Yeah, that was a new concept to me I think, when President Nelson started talking about that, you know. The first time I heard him or one of the apostles say, The restoration is ongoing, I was like, Oh, it wasn't just when Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father - that wasn't it? That was, it really sounds silly, aha moment for me, that we are all in the restoration together. And I think that's a big deal. But, but I, but it is a big deal that His gospel was restored. Right? And that Joseph Smith brought these truths back, the priesthood, and the temples because that is what makes God's path possible, right And so without that we are not, we, you know, we can't make it back to Him.
Well now and tell me this, so go to verse 31. I want to know your thoughts. Why is it written on our inward parts? Why is it written on our hearts, of all the places that could be written? Why wouldn't it be written in our eyes? Or heard in our ears? Like, why are we talking about a heart here?
Sharon Staples 33:26
Because that's the center of, in those days, and even today, the heart is considered the center of one's soul. And so I was taken by that as well, Tammy, where it says, "I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts." And then if you jump down to 34 and it says, "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord". I thought, what? But then the clincher what I really love, it says, "For they shall know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them". And the reason they shall know Me is because of verse 31 and 33, because He has put His law in their inward parts.
Sharon Staples 34:16
And so once you get a testimony, to me that, that's a testimony. And once you get a testimony of the gospel, I don't need somebody to tell me to know the Lord, because He's in my heart, He's in my soul, and I know. And I love Him and there's a relationship. And so I had to get past that "They shall teach no more every man", to the second part of the verse. So I encourage everyone to read all of it. Don't just read part of the verse, read all of the verse so you can understand what he's really trying to tell us, because Jeremiah is sometimes difficult to understand. But in that part, looking at 31 and 33 and 34, we've got the new covenant, it's implanted in our hearts, and we know it. And so I don't need the missionaries to come to my house, other than to have dinner or whatever, but I don't need them to teach me about the Lord, because He's in my heart.
Yes. Oh, I like how you summed up that verse, Sharon, thank you. Because it was a little off-putting, verse 34. Wait a minute, we're not going to teach about Him anymore, right? Oh, because we'll know him. Wow, that's good. Let's read this quote by President Nelson. In 2011 he gave this quote, he wouldn't have been president then - he was an elder. -but here we go. Char, will you read this quote by Elder Nelson (President Nelson).
Charmaine Howell 35:35
"When we realize that we are children of the covenant, we know who we are and what God expects of us. His law is written in our hearts, He is our God, and we are His people. Committed children of the Covenant remain steadfast even in the midst of adversity. The greatest compliment that can be earned here in this life is to be known as a covenant-keeper. The rewards for a covenant-keeper will be realized both here and hereafter."
Ladies, I just want you to kind of share any thoughts that stood out to you, what you, when you read that quote?
Sharon Staples 36:08
Well, it's a reiteration of verses 31, 33, and 34. And He's there constantly, post-mortal, mortal and pre-mortal. He's just, the covenant-keeper will be realized. The rewards of a covenant-keeper will realized both here and hereafter. So it's an eternal perspective.
Um. That's what you talked about earlier, Sharon, right there. Yeah.
Charmaine Howell 36:34
Yeah. Then it's, I like the the line where it says "committed children of the Covenant remain steadfast, even in the midst of adversity. You know, you can't be a fair-weather fan, right? Hard things are going to happen. And our covenants are what are going to bring us power, as we you know, and strength as we continue through those hard things. And I love this quote, I think it's awesome.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on that. So I'm grateful that you guys pointed that out. And Sharon, you pointed out the end of that quote about the rewards of a covenant-keeper. And this is so cool, because in the next segment, we're going to look at what words the Lord uses to describe those who keep their covenants and what these rewards will be.
Segment 4 37:19
Okay, you two. Oh, my gosh, I've been looking so forward to this discussion. I texted you this question. Uhhh, let's talk about gardening. Okay, both of you are gardeners. (laughs)
Charmaine Howell 37:50
When you texted me that question, I'm like, Is this a slap in the face? Is she trying to make me look terrible on this podcast? (laughs)
Char, Char was trying to get a green thumb when she lived here. All on her own she was so fastidious, and tried to plant tomatoes. And how'd it work out for you, Char?
Charmaine Howell 38:08
Okay. Not so great. All right. It was, I got all the tips from from you and from Jim, and I was doing my thing and this little garden was starting to grow. And then we sold our house before I could harvest it. So I was like, That was lame. That was totally not worth all the hard work and effort. What is, what is all this hype about gar'dening? So lame. Haven't picked up a shovel since. So, I think that you're throwing me under the bus now that I am not a gardener. And I'm not
I'm not, no, no I'm not. (laughter) I needed your perspective, because I knew that I'm like, she'll be so great, because then we're going to juxtapose that with Sharon. Oh my gosh, Sharon, tell us
Charmaine Howell 38:48
the Garden of Eden over there.
Right? How's your garden doin, Sharon?
Sharon Staples 38:53
Prior to this year, we did very well. We were able to harvest and we were able to put up foods and have them through the winter, to freeze, to bottle, to dry, to what it was great. This year, a blight hit our garden. We lost everything except eight of our 50 tomato plants. We lost the squash, we lost the cucumbers, we lost a lot of peppers, we lost melons, we lost, we lost it all. We had apples, so we're gonna have a lot of applesauce this year. But it was, it was terrible. And I said to Addy, my friend, I said I'm not doing a garden next year. But all the work like yours, Char,
Charmaine Howell 39:43
right. I's not worth it.
Sharon Staples 39:44
all the work and no, no results. No produce, no rewards for the hard work. So I've had both experiences. Success with a huge harvest and failure with minimal or next to nothing.
Charmaine Howell 40:01
Can you explain what is a blight? To me it's like a black light, a blight. (laughter)
Sharon Staples 40:09
It was, it was the frost, the heat, the deer, the raccoons. But just the blight, the blight itself is kind of a disease that attacks the tomatoes and goes from plant to plant. So as soon as you get a blight on a plant, you have to dig it up right away, hoping that it has not passed its disease-ridden gems to the next tomato plant. So we tried to do that and got them up out as quickly as we could. But
Charmaine Howell 40:39
That's a lot of work, too,
Sharon Staples 40:40
lost 42 plants,
It hit hard in Utah. So many of us lost our tomato plants this year, Char. It was so sad.
Sharon Staples 40:47
And it wasn't just tomato plants. It was lots of stuff. We lost, you know. So,
Charmaine Howell 40:53
Tammy, did you guys do a garden this year?
Oh, yeah, definitely. Same, the same experience. We planted so many tomatoes and cucumbers and peppers and pumpkins, and the peppers are tiny, like so little this year and normally they're beautiful big. And just tiny little peppers. And we lost a lot of tomato plants, we do have a few so we are able to make pasta sauce. But oh, it's been a sad year, sad year here in Utah. And no one can figure out what that blight is or how to fix it. So, but I've noticed in gardening every year that we've done it, something happens. There's something that destroys some plant. Last year it was squash bugs for the pumpkins. So we had really no pumpkins to decorate with or eat, whatever you want to do with pumpkin. But that's interesting.
And Sharon, you know, you kept saying HARD WORK HARD WORK HARD WORK. You used that over and over again as you described what it's like to garden. And I am grateful for both of you in sharing your gardening experience. There are many people who understand what it takes to make a garden work. And going back to Jeremiah chapter 1:10, I want us to go there, because we talked about this last week. And the Lord uses this imagery of gardening with Jeremiah. And so in Jeremiah 1:10, I want us to look at this, and Sharon, will you please read this for us?
Sharon Staples 42:07
1:10 "See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant."
With those words, describe some of your harvesting, some of your hard work.
Sharon Staples 42:23
Gosh. Pull down, destroy, throw down. Didn't get much of the build and plant. Well we did plant and build. But yeah, it did. Exactly.
Now let's turn back to Jeremiah 32:40-41, because the Lord uses this gardening metaphor again as He describes what He will do for us and His people. And let me ask you this, if all goes well in your garden, what do you hope the ultimate result will be of course, is what?
Sharon Staples 42:54
Right? So much bounty, so much stuff. So let's look at these two verses and Char, will you please read verses 40 and 41.
Charmaine Howell 43:02
40 "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.
Charmaine Howell 43:14
41 " Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul."
How is He as a gardener?
Charmaine Howell 43:25
He's he seems all in, right? He's not gonna let us go astray.
Yeah. Sharon, when you read that, "I will plant with my whole heart and my whole soul", have you ever, have you ever gardened like that before?
Sharon Staples 43:40
Yes, every, every time we plant a garden: hands and knees and gloves and and it's hot and you're digging and doing furrows and ditches and
Charmaine Howell 43:50
You have to take such great care, right?
Sharon Staples 43:52
Yes. You have to fertilize at a certain time and so much and how can, you know? It's just, gardening is not an easy thing and I admire those who stick to it and and have good produce. I think it's wonderful.
So Sharon, let me ask you this then, because Shar you did not get to partake of the bounty. You moved and you never saw your beautiful tomato plants. But Sharon, I want to know this from you. Will you please describe for us the feelings that you have when your garden produces.
Sharon Staples 44:22
Success. And look at me, look what I can do, you know. But yeah, look what I did. And then it dawns on me you know, obviously it wasn't all me. It was the heavens giving me water and sunshine and the earth and all those things, but it was, it's such a good feeling. The feeling that I experience most and enjoy most is in January and February and I want to have a bowl of soup. I don't go to the store, I go to my pantry. If I want to bake an apple pie, I don't go to the store, I go to my pantry. If I want to have some fruit juice or some grape juice or some V-6 juice, I don't go to the store. I just go to my pantry, and that's when I feel successful because I have, I've gone the whole gamut. I did, I tilled the earth, I planted, I fertilized, I watered, I harvested, I produced, I sealed, and it's sitting on my shelf, and I can eat it or drink it or share it, or both. All of the above.
Charmaine Howell 45:32
The rewards are very long lasting they
Sharon Staples 45:34
They are. It's just wonderful in those months, January, February, March, to have that. And this year, it will be bleak. I may have to go to the store.
Charmaine Howell 45:48
Join the club, Sharon, four times a week.
Well, Sharon, I'm grateful for the way you used such descriptive words to explain how it feels to have success in the garden. I want us to turn to Jeremiah 33, and we're going to read verse 9 and then verse 11. And I want us to read the Lord's descriptive words for when His garden is successful. So we're in Jeremiah 33:9, and then verse 11. And Sharon, will you please read verse 9, and then Char, verse 11. As we read these verses, I want you to circle the descriptive words the Lord uses about how He feels when His garden is successful. So go ahead, Sharon, verse 9.
Sharon Staples 46:30
Here we go, 33:9 "And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honor before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.
Charmaine Howell 46:53
11 "The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the L,ORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the Lord."
Thank you. What words did you circle, what words describe how He feels about His successful garden?
Charmaine Howell 47:23
Boy. praise, gladness,
Sharon Staples 47:26
honor, and good. Also fear and trembling, but all the goodness
When I read verse 11, "the voice of joy, the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, the voice of the bride, the voice of them". I like that, I, in my mind, I'm thinking of songs, like I think they're singing or praising. I don't really know if that's what, it might just mean the voice. But I think it's interesting that they are specifically saying "the voice of". Like, audibly everybody's engaged in this by uttering with their voices the thanks and the praise. And when it says the bridegroom, that's Jesus Christ, and the bride is us. Like all of us together in so much joy and gladness because we have the covenant written on our hearts; because as we pointed out in the last segment, and I appreciate that you did this, Sharon, "for they all know me". Like we have had the fear - or the reverence as Hebrew teaches us the word fear means reverence or awe - for the Lord, yet, yeah, we do honor Him and fear Him. And because of that, all the goodness in verse, again, and because of that, in verse 9 it says, "for all the prosperity that I procure unto it". Isn't that is so, that descriptive wording, the word procure. It's so good there.
Charmaine Howell 48:41
And I like how in 11, it says, "endureth for ever". It's kind of like you, Sharon, eating your soup in February, right? He's like, this reward will go forever, it will last forever. Right?
Oh, my gosh, I have to write that next to that verse. 'This is the Lord's soup in February.' That is so good. You know, when I started bottling, I didn't do it until after I got married. I remember the first time I took my bottles of pasta sauce down into our cellar, and it's cement all around it. It's this total cement room, no wood or anything. And I put everything on the shelves. And I remember walking out of that pantry or that cellar, whatever you want to call it, and looking at everything there, feeling this sense of like, ahhh, okay, like we did it.
Charmaine Howell 49:28
Yes. And then in my mind, I did this little visual where I felt like I was putting the blood on my doorposts as a symbol of like, Please protect this place. Please, if there is an earthquake, do not let it destroy my bottles.
Charmaine Howell 49:43
They have to be glass.
Yes, I know. I need pasta sauce in March. I just, I'm connecting all of this right now, where when we keep covenants, that is the blood on our door posts. That is our way of saying, Please protect that.
Charmaine Howell 49:56
Great analogy, Tammy.
Yeah, like because I need pasta sauce in March. I need blessings when I feel like there's none there. I don't have time to run to the store for the blessings, like help me right now. And the Lord's like, Oh, I'll do that, you bet.
Sharon Staples 50:09
Yeah, this is the Lord's soup in February.
Sharon Staples 50:12
Oh, my gosh. You guys are so fun. I did not expect it to go that way. Oh, so good.
Charmaine Howell 50:18
Yeah, here in Minnesota I need the soup in April, still. It's still cold.
You totally do. You need it in July. Oh, thank you, ladies, that was a fun discussion about that. Wow, I like that. I have so many notes right here. All right. So I'm going to give you a quick little summary of Jeremiah 34-52 because we don't have time to cover it all and the Come, Follow Me lesson doesn't, so here we go. Jeremiah prophesies that if the Jews surrender to Babylon, they will not be destroyed. But they disregard his counsel and they are conquered by Babylon. So Jeremiah warns the remnant of Judah not to go to Egypt. He prophesies of destruction. He testifies of the Redeemer. And Jeremiah lamented the destruction of Jerusalem and the affliction of its people. But even in his grief, Jeremiah testified of the Lord's compassion. Jeremiah pled with and lamented to the Lord to forgive the people of Judah and turn them back to him, even ends up in jail. So in the next segment, we're going to begin our study of Jeremiah's lamentation for the people that he and the Lord love.
Segment 4 51:20
All right, let's turn to the Book of Lamentations. This is where we're going to start, and here are some fun facts about Lamentations. So first of all, Lamentations was written sometime after Jerusalem was destroyed. In the Hebrew Bible, lamentation is called EICHA, which means Alas! Isn't that fun? So you could be lamentations as the crying or the lamenting of Jeremiah, but in Hebrew, it's EICHA, which means alas. So there's a little bit of hope here. It is a book of poems and songs written by Jeremiah. The word lamentation refers to words that express deep sorrow or grief, which is what Jeremiah is feeling. And we are totally reading his journal here. And I like how you set that up for us, Char at the beginning. He's just a stream of consciousness. He's just writing all of his thoughts and feelings and sadness and everything for the people. And then the book of Lamentations is also filled with messages of hope in Christ. So on your page, right there, write 'messages of hope in Christ'. So I asked Sharon and Charmaine to each read a specific chapter in Lamentations with this question in mind, What message of Christ can be found in Lamenitations? What messages of hope do they offer to us? And we're going to begin with Sharon, and we're going to study Lamens 1. So Sharon hit it, what messages are there about hope in Christ?
Sharon Staples 53:01
You just said it. There are messages of hope in Christ. I mean,
Charmaine Howell 53:07
Sharon Staples 53:09
I mean, that's
Give us the verses.
Sharon Staples 53:12
What I did is, I went to the Hebrew Bible, okay, the Tanakh. And it reads, well, obviously, there are the five poems, they're all poems, and they're, they could be sung or they could be just stated. And the reason that it's written in poems is because the Jewish people believe that it is an impression, they want to impress upon the people that the poem covers the whole specter of feelings with which a person is concerned. So they wrote it in poetic form. Every year, the Jewish congregations recite Lamentations. And because it talks about, if I'm, if I've got my story straight, it talks about the destruction of temples, the two temples - and they're like 650 years apart - but they were destroyed on the same day. And they have a celebration; not a celebration, they read Lamentations and parts of the Lamentations to remember the destruction that occurred. And they recite it late each summer in remembrance of the destruction of the temples of Solomon and Herod, which occurred on the same day 657 years apart.
Sharon Staples 54:52
So it is an ongoing concern for the Jewish nation. And I say the Jewish nation because from the rabbi, Rabbi Mark Colub, he said that Judaism is not a religion, and it's not a faith. It is a family of law abiding Jews. So they consider themselves a family and a nation, but not a religion or a faith. And so that's why I use the word Jewish nation or Jewish congregation. And they also, they think it was written by Jeremiah, they're not sure. But in 2 Chronicles 35:25 it quotes, it says that, and Jeremiah wrote his lamentations. So we have that from from Chronicles, that Jeremiah probably wrote this. The other thing is that the nation of Jerusalem, the nation of Judah brought this sorrow and destruction upon themselves. I think it says that in Lamentations 1:21. Tammy, maybe you could read that for us.
Yeah. I'm gonna read it in the King James Version, and then I'm going to read it the Tanakh version.
LAM 1:21 "They have heard that I sigh: there is none to comfort me: all mine enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that thou hast done it: thou wilt bring the day that thou hast called, and they shall be like unto me."
And here's what it says in the Tanakh: "When they heard how I was sighing, there was none to comfort me. All my foes heard of my plight, and exalted for it, as you're doing; you have brought on the day that you've threatened. O, let them become like me."
That is so good, Sharon, I'm so glad you brought that Tanakh for us to study that with.
Sharon Staples 56:41
And usually, you know, we have to be careful with that. Because if we see a poor person or an addicted person, or a wayward person you say, Well, they brought it upon themselves. And the clarification that I received was that the nation can bring it upon itself because they were a covenant people and they broke the covenants. That's how they brought the destruction upon themselves. And that destruction, and (let's see if I get my notes here straight), was brought on by unrighteousness and rebellion, as to why they were made captives of Babylon. And also, Jeremiah calls the city of Zion a widow because that's a derogatory term. And he calls the city of Zion a derogatory term. A widow is a pitiful woman in pain. As noted in the Bible, widows are the symbol of the distressed and disenfranchised element of society, who are bereft of protectors. Zion has now become a weeping widow, a tragic figure, abandoned by her savior husband.
Charmaine Howell 58:05
Yeah, that made me think more of like, you know, the bride and bridegroom and how, if you are no longer, you know, are trusting in the Lord and, and with the Lord, then you're a widow, you're no longer married to Him. Right? So how sad that would be to be not on the Lord's side anymore.
Oh, that's such great insight. Char. Because now in order to be a widow means your spouse is dead. So I wonder if that's meaning that the Savior is dead to them? Because they weren't keeping their covenants.
Charmaine Howell 58:36
They have taken Him out of their life, right?
Yes. That's why they're called a widow. Oh, my gosh, that's so good. And the only one who can help them is the person who's dead to them.
Charmaine Howell 58:49
Wow, that's so good.
Sharon Staples 58:53
We really don't get the hope, the light at the end of the tunnel until the following chapters, like 2-4 and 5. But just chapter 1, which is the one we're supposed to study for Come, Follow Me is still the down and depressed and we are cursed and why we are cursed, and the adversity hath spread out his hand, etc, because it's, it's so bad. So chapter 1 is 'Woe is me' for the people of Judah, and Jerusalem. There was one thing, reading it in the in the translated Hebrew seems to bring it more clarity than in the St. James Version. It's the same message, exactly the same mission. Jerusalem has greatly sinned, therefore she has become a mockery. All who admired her despise her for they have seen her disgraced, and she can only sigh and shrink back. So chapter 1 is all of that. I mean, it's just verse after verse after verse of woe is me. And He's rejected everybody, the Lord has rejected everyone. The fair maidens are trodden. So it's, it's not a hopeful chapter,
You can really hear the deep sorrow and grief from Jeremiah in chapter 1. So Sharon, thank you for beautifully setting that up. I appreciate that. So let's do this, in the next segment, we're gonna go to Lamentations chapter 3. And we are going to mark some verses of hope and see how this turns out for the city or the, sorry, see how this turns out for the nation of, sorry, and we'll see how this turns out for the Jewish nation. So thank you. Let's do that next.
Segment 5 1:00:52
K, here we go. Let's turn to Lamentations chapter 3. You're welcome, Shar. You're welcome.
Charmaine Howell 1:00:56
Thank you for not giving me the depressing chapter.
Sharon Staples 1:01:01
Yes. Thank you very much. Uh-huh.
Oh, that's awesome. Tell us what you found and what you marked.
Charmaine Howell 1:01:06
Well, he does, he does dive right back into the depressing right off the get-go. So Lamentations 3:1-18. As I was reading that it's a lot of, the the words that I highlighted were just all the sad, depressing things that, I'll just list them off real quick. Just words that stuck out to me. Darkness, broken, gall, travail, dark places, hedged, heavy chain, shutteth out my prayer, inclosed my ways, paths are crooked, pieces, desolate, filled me with bitterness, broken my teeth. That one I just did not like. That verse, verse 16: "He hath broken my teeth with gravel stones." I was like, yuck, yikes. Come on, get past it. Covered me with ashes, removed my soul, far off from peace. So he just goes like, you can't get any worse than this. Right? And that verse, chapter three, verse 17, it says, "thou hast removed my soul far off from peace". He's just like, I am, we're long gone, How, you know how wounded we are here.
Charmaine Howell 1:02:20
But it just, he quickly turns and gives these really amazing verses of hope. He says in verse 21, he says 'this I recall in my mind, therefore I have hope' he's saying, So as I'm thinking on all these terrible things that I have been through, and that's been going on and all the hardness and, and, and sadness that been happening to us, this is what I'm thinking about.' And then he goes into 22: "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not." And 23: "They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24: "The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him." So he finally gets to this feeling of right, We've had all this going on, but when I think of the Lord, I can have hope.
Charmaine Howell 1:03:21
And unlike you, Sharon, I don't know Hebrew. And so, but I have this Bible that was given to me since moving here by by a friend who's not a member of our church, and it's called "The Everyday Matters Bible for Women". So probably the opposite of the Hebrew Bible. But it's more turned into like layman's terms, right? But I cracked it open to look at what the what they said about this specific chapter. And I really love the way they describe those same verses in this, in this 'Bible'. Verse 21, it says, "yet I still dare to hope when I remember this, the faithful loveth the Lord never ends, His mercies never cease." And then it says at the end, "I will hope in Him." And I just, I just love that thought of I still dare to hope, because the Lord will be there, because He is always there. He never ceases to be there for us. So I really loved those verses.
Charmaine Howell 1:04:26
And then it kind of goes into talking about in my, in my reading, the law of, the law of mercy and the law of justice. So in verse 32, he says, you know, "But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies." But he's like, he is a God who wants to have mercy on us. He wants to forgive us and enter, welcome us back in. And then down farther, you know, he says, so in verse 38 and 39, he says, "Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? Wherefor doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?" He's saying, there has to be punishment for your sins;that has to happen, but I am a God of mercy. So I'm going to be here for you. And then I think it concludes so beautifully in verse 55-59. And he says, "I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon." He's like, remember how low we were. 56: "Thou hast heard my voice..." And then in 57, "Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon me: thou saidst, Fear not.
Charmaine Howell 1:05:45
58 "O LORD, thou hastpleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life. 59: "O LORD, thou has seen my wrong: judge thou my cause." And he's just saying, like, You were there for me; You're telling, You've reminded me to not fear. And the thing that I thought, I loved that he said, you know, O Lord, You be my judge. I'd rather. I'd much rather have God and Jesus Christ as my judge than myself. I'm so much harder on myself and all the things that I do wrong, and all the things that I can't quite get right in this life. And, you know, I want to hope in Christ because He is a God of mercy, and He loves us so much. And I want Him to be my judge. I don't want to be the judge me. Right? Because I know He will be so much more merciful to me than then I would be.
Yeah, that was awesome. I love everything that stood out to you. As you were talking about this hope in Christ, I wrote so many notes. One of the things that I wrote, especially in verse 24, "therefore, will I hope in Him", and you even said this. Later er on as we were talking, it brought me back to this question that I wrote in my scriptures. And I want to ask both of you this question. When have I had to hope in Him? Do either of you have a time in your life where you've had to exercise that hope?
Sharon Staples 1:07:07
Every morning. It's a constant. I mean, you can't, I can't just pick out a time or a situation or a place. Every morning when I have my morning prayers. The reason I have my morning prayers, is because I have hope in Christ. I trust him.
What do you hope for?
Sharon Staples 1:07:29
Oh, my gosh, that's kind of personal, but I do hope for a lot of things: to be a good person, to be kind. That's one of, one of them.
Charmaine Howell 1:07:42
There was a there was a time when we were having our children that I was having a lot of miscarriages and I couldn't get pregnant for a number of years. And actually, in Lamentations 3:25, I didn't bring this one out. But it says "The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him." And that one also really stood out to me. And that was definitely something that I hoped and prayed for for years. And I just, I think that I love that it says we can wait for Him because sometimes it's not about, let's say all the time, it's not in our timeline. Right? We're gonna need to wait for Him. And while we wait, we can hope, because He is, He is still there. He hasn't forgotten us.
Okay, I am struck by verse 25 because I can't think of two better words, to describe membership in this church, or to describe being a covenant-keeper than the words wait and seek. I feel like that's all we do as covenant-keepers is wait and seek, right? And seek and wait and wait and seek and seek and wait. Like it's, it a continuous
Charmaine Howell 1:08:48
It is so true.
Yeah. It's all we do. Oh, my gosh. And I think it's good. The good. The Lord is good to those who are doing that. So I'm just gonna keep doing that.
Charmaine Howell 1:08:58
Yeah. In a day and age of, of microwaves and fast food, where we are very impatient and don't want to wait at all. Right? It's such a good reminder that covenant-keepers are people who wait, and who seek. I love that thought.
Oh, my gosh. Wow, Char. Thank you. Thank you for teaching us that. Thank you, both of you. Oh, what a great discussion.
Sharon Staples 1:09:20
Sharon Staples 1:09:21
That's Jeremiah and Lamentations.
Sharon Staples 1:09:23
I have one little PS, that to me, exemplifies Jeremiah's humanness. And that is in verses of chapter 3:65 and 66. He says, those who have persecuted us, "Give them sorrow of heart, thy curse unto them. Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of the LORD." He's saying, Look, we've gone through all this. We have this hope and by the way. If you could just
Charmaine Howell 1:10:01
Strike down the bad guys; strike 'em down, please, Lord.
Sharon Staples 1:10:05
Dump on them that dumped on us. I, that is so, so human, you know. Pay 'em back. It's payback time, Heavenly Father.
Yeah. Well, verse 64, because verse 64 says "Render unto them a recompense".
Sharon Staples 1:10:23
Yeah, you know, give it to 'em, sock it to 'em. Sock it to 'em, Heavenly Father. He's saying, 'Gosh, you know, they need to have a comeuppance, some kind of a comeuppance.' And I just thought that was, I thought that was. Anyway, interesting.
Very interesting. Thanks for pointing that out, Sharon. I hadn't even read those. Wo-ho, I think that's fun. He is real, Jeremiah is there. Good job, Jeremiah. Thank you for lamenting. So,
Sharon Staples 1:10:54
That was an awesome discussion. Well, thank you ladies. That's it. We're done. That is our discussion of Jeremiah Lamentations.
Sharon Staples 1:11:00
Oh, my gosh, whew.
Did that help you, Char. Did you have some questions answered?
Charmaine Howell 1:11:04
Yeah, it's, now it all makes sense. He had a hard life, man. So appreciative of Jeremiah and his testimony.
Sharon Staples 1:11:12
We weren't able to talk about Baruch, his scribe. But I think he played a major part for Jeremiah. When he is his scribe, you know, he writes for Jeremiah.
Yeah. He's his 'Hyrum in Liberty Jail'. 'Write this down for me.'
Sharon Staples 1:11:35
Yeah. And he had to write it trice because Jehoiakim burned, burned the first Lamentations, burned the first stuff. And so the Lord said to Jeremiah in prison, 'You need to write this again, and have Baruch give it to the king. Well, we don't get any more information about all of that. But we know that Jeremiah had his wish fulfilled because Jehoiakim met a very bad end. Well, Jeremiah met a very bad end. He was burned, he was burned to death. And the king was either burned to death or bludgeoned to death, Jehoiakim. In (Jeremiah) 36:20-31, it talks about Jehoiakim not doing so good. Okay, what, and the other thing is when the Lord said to Jeremiah, write another scroll - it says in verse 36 - that 'you're to write additional words, other than what's on the scroll.' So there are other, there are other documents out there that Jeremiah wrote that aren't in the King James Version, or, I don't know, I don't, they're not anywhere. They haven't been translated, either in Hebrew or English or anything. But there's more stuff out there that Jeremiah wrote. So we have more scriptures forthcoming, I think.
Charmaine Howell 1:11:56
Wow. That's cool, Sharon. Thanks for sharing that.
Sharon Staples 1:13:05
Sharon Staples 1:13:06
I just think what goes around comes around.
Charmaine Howell 1:13:22
Strike 'em down, Lord.
Sharon Staples 1:13:23
That's right, you know.
All right. Well gather your thoughts and take a minute and think about what is your takeaway from today?
Charmaine Howell 1:13:34
I had a bunch, but I'll just share this one. I liked Jeremiah 32:40,41, Tammy, where you shared about what kind of gardener the Lord is, and, and I wrote on the side of my scriptures: 'Jesus is the best gardener'. And that line, that He does it with His whole heart and His whole soul. That just really meant a lot to me today, you know. He's in it, all in with me. And He's, His reward is, you know, everlasting and will endure forever. I love that thought.
Charmaine Howell 1:14:11
Oh, great thought. Great takeaway, Char. What about you, Sharon?
Sharon Staples 1:14:18
Gratitude for Jeremiah. I'm so grateful to him. And for him, that he endured what he endured, that I might have a deeper understanding of the Savior's constant and consistent love for His people. That was one thing. The second thing is the, there's always hope in Christ. Those are the two things. always hope.
Well, Sharon, my take away was when you started out by saying that - and I wrote at the top of my page - 'the Lord is the light at the end of the tunnel'. And then Charmaine guided us beautifully to that light in Lamentations chapter 3, we saw the light. Because throughout this episode, you were just so worried and nervous and it seems so bleak and destitute. And then you get to Lamentations 1 and it is, it was sad hard stuff, you know. And then you finally get to breathe in Lamentations 3. And so I am so grateful for the focus on having hope in Christ and what that looks like. It is about waiting and seeking and seeking and waiting. So, thank you, ladies.
Charmaine Howell 1:15:32
I love that.
Thank you. Wow!
Sharon Staples 1:15:32
Charmaine Howell 1:15:33
Thank you, Tammy.
Sharon Staples 1:15:34
I love you both, so much!
Sharon Staples 1:15:36
Love you. Love you, Char.
Charmaine Howell 1:15:38
Love you, too, Sharon.
Oh my gosh. Okay, well, we cannot wait to hear what your big takeaway is from this episode. So if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook, or if you're not following us on Instagram, go do it. It is such a great place to ask questions as you study throughout the week, or even just share stuff you're learning when you have this aha moment throughout the week. And then at the end of the week, usually on a Saturday, we post a call asking for your big takeaway. So, comment on the post that relates to this lesson and let us know what you've learned. You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDS living.com/sunday on Monday and it's not a bad idea to go there, anyway. That's where we're going to have the links to all of the references that we used today, and the quotes, as well as a complete transcript of this entire discussion. So go check it out.
The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original and it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall and today our fabulous study group participants were Sharon Staples and Charmaine Howell. And you can find more information about these friends at LDS living.com/sunday on Monday. Our podcast is produced by Cole Wissinger and me. It is edited by Hailey Higham and recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios, and our Executive Producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week.
And please remember, you Seekers and you Waiters, that you are God's favorite!
Transcribed by https://otter.ai