This is Episode #241 and today we’ll read Lamentations 3-5 together. We are left today with the most uncomfortable question.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #241 and today we’ll read Lamentations 3-5 together. We are left today with the most uncomfortable question.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Lamentations Chapter 3
Hope through God’s Mercy
I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of God’s wrath.
He has driven me away and forced me to walk
in darkness instead of light.
Yes, he repeatedly turns his hand
against me all day long.
He has worn away my flesh and skin;
he has broken my bones.
He has laid siege against me,
encircling me with bitterness and hardship.
He has made me dwell in darkness
like those who have been dead for ages.
He has walled me in so I cannot get out;
he has weighed me down with chains.
Even when I cry out and plead for help,
he blocks out my prayer.
He has walled in my ways with blocks of stone;
he has made my paths crooked.
He is a bear waiting in ambush,
a lion in hiding.
He forced me off my way and tore me to pieces;
he left me desolate.
He strung his bow
and set me as the target for his arrow.
He pierced my kidneys
with shafts from his quiver.
I am a laughingstock to all my people,
mocked by their songs all day long.
He filled me with bitterness,
satiated me with wormwood.
He ground my teeth with gravel
and made me cower in the dust.
I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.
Then I thought, “My future is lost,
as well as my hope from the Lord.”
Remember my affliction and my homelessness,
the wormwood and the poison.
I continually remember them
and have become depressed.
Yet I call this to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for his mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness!
I say, “The Lord is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the person who seeks him.
It is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is still young.
Let him sit alone and be silent,
for God has disciplined him.
Let him put his mouth in the dust —
perhaps there is still hope.
Let him offer his cheek
to the one who would strike him;
let him be filled with disgrace.
For the Lord
will not reject us forever.
Even if he causes suffering,
he will show compassion
according to the abundance of his faithful love.
For he does not enjoy bringing affliction
or suffering on mankind.
Crushing all the prisoners of the land
beneath one’s feet,
denying justice to a man
in the presence of the Most High,
or subverting a person in his lawsuit —
the Lord does not approve of these things.
Who is there who speaks and it happens,
unless the Lord has ordained it?
Do not both adversity and good
come from the mouth of the Most High?
Why should any living person complain,
any man, because of the punishment for his sins?
Let’s examine and probe our ways,
and turn back to the Lord.
Let’s lift up our hearts and our hands
to God in heaven:
“We have sinned and rebelled;
you have not forgiven.
“You have covered yourself in anger and pursued us;
you have killed without compassion.
You have covered yourself with a cloud
so that no prayer can get through.
You have made us disgusting filth
among the peoples.
“All our enemies
open their mouths against us.
We have experienced panic and pitfall,
devastation and destruction.”
My eyes flow with streams of tears
because of the destruction of my dear people.
My eyes overflow unceasingly,
until the Lord looks down
from heaven and sees.
My eyes bring me grief
because of the fate of all the women in my city.
For no reason, my enemies
hunted me like a bird.
They smothered my life in a pit
and threw stones on me.
Water flooded over my head,
and I thought, “I’m going to die!”
I called on your name, Lord,
from the depths of the pit.
You heard my plea:
Do not ignore my cry for relief.
You came near whenever I called you;
you said, “Do not be afraid.”
You championed my cause, Lord;
you redeemed my life.
Lord, you saw the wrong done to me;
judge my case.
You saw all their vengefulness,
all their plots against me.
שׂ Sin / שׁ Shin
Lord, you heard their insults,
all their plots against me.
The slander and murmuring of my opponents
attack me all day long.
When they sit and when they rise, look,
I am mocked by their songs.
You will pay them back what they deserve, Lord,
according to the work of their hands.
You will give them a heart filled with anguish.
May your curse be on them!
You will pursue them in anger and destroy them
under your heavens.
Lamentations Chapter 4
Terrors of the Besieged City
How the gold has become tarnished,
the fine gold become dull!
The stones of the temple lie scattered
at the head of every street.
Zion’s precious children —
once worth their weight in pure gold —
how they are regarded as clay jars,
the work of a potter’s hands!
Even jackals offer their breasts
to nurse their young,
but my dear people have become cruel
like ostriches in the wilderness.
The nursing baby’s tongue
clings to the roof of his mouth from thirst.
Infants beg for food,
but no one gives them any.
Those who used to eat delicacies
are destitute in the streets;
those who were reared in purple garments
huddle in trash heaps.
The punishment of my dear people
is greater than that of Sodom,
which was overthrown in an instant
without a hand laid on it.
Her dignitaries were brighter than snow,
whiter than milk;
their bodies were more ruddy than coral,
their appearance like lapis lazuli.
Now they appear darker than soot;
they are not recognized in the streets.
Their skin has shriveled on their bones;
it has become dry like wood.
Those slain by the sword are better off
than those slain by hunger,
who waste away, pierced with pain
because the fields lack produce.
The hands of compassionate women
have cooked their own children;
they became their food
during the destruction of my dear people.
The Lord has exhausted his wrath,
poured out his burning anger;
he has ignited a fire in Zion,
and it has consumed her foundations.
The kings of the earth
and all the world’s inhabitants did not believe
that an enemy or adversary
could enter Jerusalem’s gates.
Yet it happened because of the sins of her prophets
and the iniquities of her priests,
who shed the blood of the righteous within her.
Blind, they stumbled in the streets,
defiled by this blood,
so that no one dared
to touch their garments.
“Stay away! Unclean!” people shouted at them.
“Away, away! Don’t touch us!”
So they wandered aimlessly.
It was said among the nations,
“They can stay here no longer.”
The Lord himself has scattered them;
he no longer watches over them.
The priests are not respected;
the elders find no favor.
All the while our eyes were failing
as we looked in vain for help;
we watched from our towers
for a nation that would not save us.
Our steps were closely followed
so that we could not walk in our streets.
Our end approached; our time ran out.
Our end had come!
Those who chased us were swifter
than eagles in the sky;
they relentlessly pursued us over the mountains
and ambushed us in the wilderness.
The Lord’s anointed, the breath of our life,
was captured in their traps.
We had said about him,
“We will live under his protection among the nations.”
So rejoice and be glad, Daughter Edom,
you resident of the land of Uz!
Yet the cup will pass to you as well;
you will get drunk and expose yourself.
Daughter Zion, your punishment is complete;
he will not lengthen your exile.
But he will punish your iniquity, Daughter Edom,
and will expose your sins.
Lamentations Chapter 5
Prayer for Restoration
Lord, remember what has happened to us.
Look, and see our disgrace!
Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
our houses to foreigners.
We have become orphans, fatherless;
our mothers are widows.
We must pay for the water we drink;
our wood comes at a price.
We are closely pursued;
we are tired, and no one offers us rest.
We made a treaty with Egypt
and with Assyria, to get enough food.
Our ancestors sinned; they no longer exist,
but we bear their punishment.
Slaves rule over us;
no one rescues us from them.
We secure our food at the risk of our lives
because of the sword in the wilderness.
Our skin is as hot as an oven
from the ravages of hunger.
Women have been raped in Zion,
virgins in the cities of Judah.
Princes have been hung up by their hands;
elders are shown no respect.
Young men labor at millstones;
boys stumble under loads of wood.
The elders have left the city gate,
the young men, their music.
Joy has left our hearts;
our dancing has turned to mourning.
The crown has fallen from our head.
Woe to us, for we have sinned.
Because of this, our heart is sick;
because of these, our eyes grow dim:
because of Mount Zion, which lies desolate
and has jackals prowling in it.
You, Lord, are enthroned forever;
your throne endures from generation to generation.
Why do you continually forget us,
abandon us for our entire lives?
Lord, bring us back to yourself, so we may return;
renew our days as in former times,
unless you have completely rejected us
and are intensely angry with us.
Okay, this is for those of you who are as old as I am. When I read the abrupt change in the writer’s tone – his mood if you will – I was immediately reminded of Neil Diamond’s, Song Sung Blue. If you’ve never heard the song, it talks about how singing sad songs makes you feel better. And that’s what I see happening in Chapter 3! When we’re sad or in anguish, we have all these feelings that we think we’re not supposed to have and certainly not supposed to talk about. But when we do – when we lament – suddenly we don’t feel so bad anymore; we can see more clearly. Like getting the poison out of a wound so it can heal.
Some of these verses used the same words that Jeremiah used in his book, which makes me think that he at least wrote chapter 3 of Lamentations. For instance, verses 53-55 makes me think that he’s talking about the time he was thrown in that well. And Jeremiah repeatedly called the Israelites, my dear people. Several other phrases such as work of their hands and people plotting against him, sounds like Jeremiah’s life to me!
Finally, the last two verses of this book just really got to me. How often I’ve felt that way, wondering if I’ve actually pushed God too far. And the author just leaves it hanging there. This is where a good, “and His faithful love endures forever,” would make me feel better. But maybe the point here is not feeling better. Maybe the point is feeling Godly sorrow so deeply that we change our behavior. What do you think? Let me know at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. And with that, we complete our 25th book of the Bible.
See You Tomorrow!
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will be changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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