February 12, 2023
This week we read Lamentations and started with the book of Ezekiel Chapters 1-15. We are going to look at Lamentations 3 today. I will discuss Ezekiel more next week.
Lamentations is thought to be written by the prophet Jeremiah. It is an acrostic poem and has 66 verses; three lines for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. To lament, according to the Merriem Webster dictionary means to mourn aloud, wail, cry out in grief. This book has words of lamenting, words of hope through the LORD, then more words of lamenting.
Lamentations was written in 586 BC and the nation of Israel had been taken captive by the Babylonians. Many people were killed and many were taken captive in to Babylon. The city of Jerusalem was also under siege and everything was plundered. This was the punishment the Lord placed on the Israelites because they continued to worship other gods.
During this time Jeremiah wrote Lamentations. Verses 1-20 show his hopelessness.
[a]I am the man who has seen affliction
by the rod of the Lord’s wrath.
2 He has driven me away and made me walk
in darkness rather than light;
3 indeed, he has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.
4 He has made my skin and my flesh grow old
and has broken my bones.
5 He has besieged me and surrounded me
with bitterness and hardship.
6 He has made me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
he has weighed me down with chains.
8 Even when I call out or cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer.
9 He has barred my way with blocks of stone;
he has made my paths crooked.
10 Like a bear lying in wait,
like a lion in hiding,
11 he dragged me from the path and mangled me
and left me without help.
12 He drew his bow
and made me the target for his arrows.
13 He pierced my heart
with arrows from his quiver.
14 I became the laughingstock of all my people;
they mock me in song all day long.
15 He has filled me with bitter herbs
and given me gall to drink.
16 He has broken my teeth with gravel;
he has trampled me in the dust.
17 I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 So I say, “My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”
19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
He felt afflicted by God. He felt hardship and persecution. He was bitter and lost hope. He felt trapped, like he could not get out of the darkness. He felt that God was out to hurt him both physically and emotionally. Jeremiah did not feel God was even listening to his prayers. He was truly hopeless and depressed.
Jeremiah had a change in heart after verse 18. It was the first time he used the term LORD. Once he said this, the inner conversation began to change. He went from hopelessness to hopeful. Here are verses 21-26.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
Jeremiah was feeling despair but because he said the name of the LORD, he had a change of heart and began to see the truth about God which gave him hope.
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
- The Hebrew word used here for “love” is hesed. This type of love is a loyal love that will not let go based on emotion. God promised to love us, and because God is true to his word, he hesed loves us.
- “His compassions never fail”: Compassions is plural because it is intense and limitless.
- According to William Hooper, the word compassion in Hebrew comes from the word “womb” and means “to be moved in the heart out of love for another.” God is moved deep inside for us and it never fails.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
- God’s compassions and mercy are new every morning. What does this mean for us? Think about how God provided manna to the Israelites in the desert. The people were to collect enough manna each morning and not to store it except on the Sabbath when they were not to collect. God met the daily nutritional needs each day for the people. He does this with his compassions and mercies. They are new every morning, they will never run and we can count on Him to give us exactly what we need for the day.
- “Great is your faithfulness.” The word in Hebrew for faithfulness means steady, trustworthy, and honest. God is trustworthy and loyal to his followers.
24” I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
- “My portion” means my inheritance and when it is used in the Bible, it means that God is our lot in life. He is the source of everything we need. He is with us always. Thus, we can wait on Him. It is the same in the New Testament. Jesus said in Matthew 28:20 “Lo, I am with you always…” Matthew 28:20.
25 “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;”
- The Israelites were getting trampled by the Babylonians. It would be very easy to get inpatient and leave the faith. Jeremiah is saying that the Lord is good to the one who does wait for the Lord’s timing. There are verses in Romans 5:3-5 that are similar. “3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
- The one who seeks him, is one who seeks the Lord through his word.
26” it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
- It is good to be patient and wait on the LORD for his salvation. This is his delivery from sin.
- The LORD will save us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- Have you felt like hopeless like Jeremiah? Maybe you had a great loss. A death, a job, a relationship.
- Did you feel like God had abandoned you?
- Did you remember God’s attributes? God loves you. He is trustworthy. His mercies (compassions) are new every single day.
- Have you been saved by the LORD?
- Do you need to take a next step?
- If you would like to talk, please send me a note. I would love to get back to you.
Have a blessed week. Next week we will read Ezekiel 16-30.