Lamentations 3: Anguish & Hope
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.
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].
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).
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.]
ONE: v.1-20 Anguish
A man under God's discipline
the man who has seen affliction by the rod of the LORD's wrath.
Sixteen things he feels God has done
has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather
he has turned his hand against me again and
again, all day long.
has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken
He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness
made me dwell in darkness like those long dead.
has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has
weighed me down with chains.
when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out
barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made
my paths crooked.
a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding,
dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me
He drew his bow and made me the target for his
He pierce d my heart with arrows from his quiver.
the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day
has filled me with bitter herbs and given me gall to
broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled
me in the dust.
He feels down as he contrast the glorious past with the terrible
have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity
I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the
remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the
well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
TWO: v.21-38: Hope
A glimmer of light – hope – God's love, compassion, faithfulness
I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions
are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
A Confidence: God blesses those who wait for Him, trust in Him
to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for
is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
The way of waiting
good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.
sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him.
bury his face in the dust— there may yet be hope.
offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled
Confidence in God: He may bring grief but it will be limited
no one is cast off by the Lord forever.
he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing
God does not willingly do these things
does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.
crush underfoot all prisoners in the land,
people their rights before the Most High,
them of justice— would not the Lord see such things?
God is Sovereign: He does what He deems is right
can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?
not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good
3: v.39-66: Anguish & Hope
The wise come in repentance, facing their sins
the living complain when punished for their sins?
examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.
us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say:
sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven.
God has acted in these ways bringing His discipline
have covered yourself with anger and pursued us; you have slain
covered yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can get through.
have made us scum and refuse among the nations.
Anguish for what the enemy has done
our enemies have opened their mouths wide against us.
suffered terror and pitfalls, ruin and destruction.”
Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my
people are destroyed.
eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief,
the LORD looks down from heaven and sees.
I see brings grief to my soul because of all
the women of my city.
Life appeared to end with the coming of the enemy
who were my enemies without cause hunted me like a bird.
tried to end my life in a pit and threw stones at me;
closed over my head, and I thought I was about to perish.
Yet he cried to the Lord and the Lord heard
called on your name, LORD, from the depths of the pit.
my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.”
Petitions for help against the enemy who brought this about
near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”
took up my case; you redeemed my life.
you have seen the wrong done to me. Uphold my cause!
seen the depth of their vengeance, all their plots against me.
you have heard their insults, all their plots against me—
my enemies whisper and mutter against me all day long.
at them! Sitting or standing, they mock me in their songs.
Pay them back what they deserve, LORD, for what
their hands have done.
a veil over their hearts , and may your curse be on them!
Pursue them in anger and destroy them from under
the heavens of the LORD.
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