They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations. The title given to the book itself speaks volumes about its theme. Jeremiah is known as the Weeping Prophet, and he is a major prophet – the book of Jeremiah is not a short one. When the lamentations of the Weeping Prophet is put together, we see a tragic story. The book of Lamentations is often also called the book of mourning, and perhaps very rightly so. That’s basically the gist of what Jeremiah was doing. Chapter 3 is noted for being a chapter of hope in the midst of a book on grief – it is truly an example of finding hope in places you least expect – yet it is very much the norm for the prophets to do so. Read the books of the prophets, and almost every time when they go on and on about something horrific like destruction and devastation, they’ll always bring us back to hope in the Lord. And hope is most poignant when found in the midst of hopelessness.
I don’t think there’s any one version of the Bible that renders this verse as ‘God’s mercies are new every morning, or your mercies are new every morning’, but it is the way I’ve remembered it all my life, so I can only conclude that it probably comes from a gospel song somewhere. And it is not wrong interpretation of the Bible, for the ‘they’ in this verse clearly refers to the mercies of God mentioned in the prior verse. This is the KJV of Lam 3:22 – It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. Different versions of the Bible differ on the two things mentioned in 3:22, but it’s usually a mix of 2 out of these three: love, mercies or compassions. We can go deep into the finer details of the connotations of each term, but I’d like to just generalise them as similar terms, talking about the love of God which includes his compassion and mercy.
There are actually a lot of evidences in the Bible that can be referenced to support the point that God’s mercies are new every morning, but first, what exactly does it mean? If a man’s love can grow cold; God’s love cannot, because it is new every morning. He won’t run out of compassion. He won’t cast us off forever [Lam 3:31]. God is merciful even in his wrath [Habakkuk 3:22] and these mercies never fail [Lam 3:22] or be taken away [Psalm 89:33]. No matter what happens, God will be merciful, for it is in his divine nature.
That his mercies are new every morning corresponds to his faithfulness, and this is a character of the Lord that the authors of the Bible often repeats – If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself [2 Tim 2:13|Article]; Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations [Deu 7:9]; But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one [2 Thes 3:3]. No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it [2 Cor 10:13]; For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does [Psalm 33:4] – among many others.
Lamentations was written in the poetic style; and it is as dramatic as a poem can get. In the midst of talking about his affliction, grief and the immensity of God’s wrath against him, the poet suddenly says, yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope [Lam 3:21] and goes on about how God is faithful, how God’s love is strong and abundant and consistent, and how God will stand for him eventually. Much like life, no? Sometimes all it takes is a sudden thought; a sudden reminder of who God is, and we will be renewed with hope.