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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Lamentations

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FRAMEWORKS: Lamentations 3: Anguish & Hope

[Preliminary Comments: Jeremiah, assuming he is the author, pours out his anguish at what the Lord has done, yet also reveals his hope. We see three Parts.

In Part 1, he declares the affliction God has brought [v.1]. He lists all the things he felt the Lord did [v.2-16] and confesses how he feels down when he contrasts the present with the past [v.17-20].

In Part 2 then comes a beam of light in the darkness [v.21-23] – he still has confidence in God's love, His compassion, and His faithfulness (unchanging loving nature), hope for a new day. This leads him to realise that blessing comes to those who wait on the Lord, who trust Him, [v.24,25] and he reflects on how to do that rightly [v.26-30]. With faith growing in him he reflects that God's discipline is always limited in time [v.31,32] because God does not willingly bring these forms of discipline [v.33-36] but because He is sovereign [v.37,38] He can bring good (blessing) as well as bad (discipline).

In Part 3 we see him facing the anguish but hope coming out of it. The conclusion to all this is that the wise should face their sins and come to repentance [v.39-42], acknowledging what the Lord has done [v.43-45], using the enemy and resulting in much anguish [v.46-51], to such an extent he felt life was coming to an end [v.52-54]. He had cried out to the Lord and he felt the Lord had heard him [v.55,56] and so he concludes with petitions that the Lord will deal with their enemy who has done this [v.57-66]. Anguish and hope together come in this chapter.]

 

PART ONE: v.1-20 Anguish

 

v.1 A man under God's discipline

v.1  I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of the LORD's wrath. 

 

v.2-16 Sixteen things he feels God has done

v.2   He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; 

v.3  indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long. 

v.4   He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones. 

v.5   He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. 

v.6   He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead. 

v.7   He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains. 

v.8  Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer. 

v.9   He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked. 

v.10  Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding, 

v.11   he dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help. 

v.12   He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows. 

v.13   He pierce d my heart with arrows from his quiver. 

v.14  I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long. 

v.15   He has filled me with bitter herbs and given me gall to drink. 

v.16   He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust. 

 

v.17-20 He feels down as he contrast the glorious past with the terrible present

v.17  I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is. 

v.18  So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.” 

v.19  I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. 

v.20   I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. 

 

 

PART TWO: v.21-38: Hope

 

v.21-23 A glimmer of light – hope – God's love, compassion, faithfulness

v.21  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 

v.22  Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 

v.23   They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 

 

v.24,25 A Confidence: God blesses those who wait for Him, trust in Him

v.24  I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” 

v.25  The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 

 

v.26-30 The way of waiting

v.26  it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. 

v.27  It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. 

v.28  Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him. 

v.29  Let him bury his face in the dust— there may yet be hope. 

v.30  Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace. 

 

v.31,32 Confidence in God: He may bring grief but it will be limited

v.31  For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. 

v.32  Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. 

 

v.33-36 God does not willingly do these things

v.33  For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. 

v.34  To crush underfoot all prisoners in the land, 

v.35  to deny people their rights before the Most High, 

v.36  to deprive them of justice— would not the Lord see such things? 

 

v.37,38 God is Sovereign: He does what He deems is right

v.37   Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? 

v.38  Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come? 

 

PART 3: v.39-66: Anguish & Hope

 

v.39-42 The wise come in repentance, facing their sins

v.39  Why should the living complain when punished for their sins? 

v.40  Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. 

v.41   Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say: 

v.42  “We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven. 

 

v.43-45 God has acted in these ways bringing His discipline

v.43  “You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us; you have slain without pity. 

v.44  You have covered yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can get through. 

v.45   You have made us scum and refuse among the nations. 

 

v.46-51 Anguish for what the enemy has done

v.46  “All our enemies have opened their mouths wide against us. 

v.47  We have suffered terror and pitfalls, ruin and destruction.” 

v.48   Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed. 

v.49   My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief, 

v.50  until the LORD looks down from heaven and sees. 

v.51  What I see brings grief to my soul because of all the women of my city. 

 

v.52-54 Life appeared to end with the coming of the enemy

v.52  Those who were my enemies without cause hunted me like a bird. 

v.53  They tried to end my life in a pit and threw stones at me; 

v.54  the waters closed over my head, and I thought I was about to perish. 

 

v.55,56 Yet he cried to the Lord and the Lord heard

v.55  I called on your name, LORD, from the depths of the pit. 

v.56  You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” 

 

v.57-66 Petitions for help against the enemy who brought this about

v.57  You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.” 

v.58   You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life. 

v.59  LORD, you have seen the wrong done to me. Uphold my cause

v.60  You have seen the depth of their vengeance, all their plots against me. 

v.61  LORD, you have heard their insults, all their plots against me—

v.62  what my enemies whisper and mutter against me all day long. 

v.63  Look at them! Sitting or standing, they mock me in their songs. 

v.64   Pay them back what they deserve, LORD, for what their hands have done. 

v.65   Put a veil over their hearts , and may your curse be on them! 

v.66   Pursue them in anger and destroy them from under the heavens of the LORD.

 

[Additional Comments: We hope the divisions and the highlighted words will bring a clarity to what is otherwise not an easy chapter. Rather like David in some of his psalms, his emotions and faith level appear to fluctuate but considering all he has been through and the state of the city before him, that is not surprising. Again, like David, he calls on the Lord to deal with his enemies, those who still mock him. As a representative of God this should not be.]

   

     

Continue to Ch.4