September 7, 2012
Life is hard. If we’re honest, sometimes it makes us feel utterly hopeless. But even when living is difficult, God remains good. The prophet Jeremiah understood this, as Alistair Begg demonstrates from Lamentations 3. Though set in a bleak, dark context, this passage teaches us that God’s faithfulness is steadfast in all circumstances. Even when sadness and disappointment overwhelm us, we can always call to mind what we know about God and His great faithfulness.
1I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of his wrath;
2he has driven and brought me
into darkness without any light;
3surely against me he turns his hand
again and again the whole day long.
4He has made my flesh and my skin waste away;
he has broken my bones;
5he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
6he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead of long ago.
7He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
he has made my chains heavy;
8though I call and cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer;
9he has blocked my ways with blocks of stones;
he has made my paths crooked.
10He is a bear lying in wait for me,
a lion in hiding;
11he turned aside my steps and tore me to pieces;
he has made me desolate;
12he bent his bow and set me
as a target for his arrow.
13He drove into my kidneys
the arrows of his quiver;
14I have become the laughingstock of all peoples,
the object of their taunts all day long.
15He has filled me with bitterness;
he has sated me with wormwood.
16He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes;
17my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness1 is;
18so I say, “My endurance has perished;
so has my hope from the Lord.”
19Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
20My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
21But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;2
his mercies never come to an end;
23they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
25The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
26It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
27It is good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth.
28Let him sit alone in silence
when it is laid on him;
29let him put his mouth in the dust—
there may yet be hope;
30let him give his cheek to the one who strikes,
and let him be filled with insults.
31For the Lord will not
cast off forever,
32but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
33for he does not afflict from his heart
or grieve the children of men.
34To crush underfoot
all the prisoners of the earth,
35to deny a man justice
in the presence of the Most High,
36to subvert a man in his lawsuit,
the Lord does not approve.
37Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
38Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?
39Why should a living man complain,
a man, about the punishment of his sins?
40Let us test and examine our ways,
and return to the Lord!
41Let us lift up our hearts and hands
to God in heaven:
42“We have transgressed and rebelled,
and you have not forgiven.
43“You have wrapped yourself with anger and pursued us,
killing without pity;
44you have wrapped yourself with a cloud
so that no prayer can pass through.
45You have made us scum and garbage
among the peoples.
46“All our enemies
open their mouths against us;
47panic and pitfall have come upon us,
devastation and destruction;
48my eyes flow with rivers of tears
because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.
49“My eyes will flow without ceasing,
50until the Lord from heaven
looks down and sees;
51my eyes cause me grief
at the fate of all the daughters of my city.
52“I have been hunted like a bird
by those who were my enemies without cause;
53they flung me alive into the pit
and cast stones on me;
54water closed over my head;
I said, ‘I am lost.’
55“I called on your name, O Lord,
from the depths of the pit;
56you heard my plea, ‘Do not close
your ear to my cry for help!’
57You came near when I called on you;
you said, ‘Do not fear!’
58“You have taken up my cause, O Lord;
you have redeemed my life.
59You have seen the wrong done to me, O Lord;
judge my cause.
60You have seen all their vengeance,
all their plots against me.
61“You have heard their taunts, O Lord,
all their plots against me.
62The lips and thoughts of my assailants
are against me all the day long.
63Behold their sitting and their rising;
I am the object of their taunts.
64“You will repay them,3 O Lord,
according to the work of their hands.
65You will give them4 dullness of heart;
your curse will be5 on them.
66You will pursue them6 in anger and destroy them
from under your heavens, O Lord.”7
Copyright © 2023, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.