Posts Tagged ‘Lamentations’

Grief and Mercy

For the Lord will not case off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.  For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

Lamentations 3:31-33

I know that I seem to write about mercy every other day, so I hope you will bear with me for yet another post about the amazing grace and mercy of God.  Mercy is a subject about which I never get tired of writing about or thinking about.  I like the contrast of these verses and the insight into the nature of God that they give us.

These verses tell us that, contrary to the popular opinion of many who believe that God would never harm anything or anyone, He does “cause grief.”  There are things that He sends our way that are not pleasant.  He tries us and tests us.  He sometimes has to chasten us.  Nothing happens that He is not in control of; this is an important thing for us to remember.

However, there are two important things to remember about His “causing grief:”

1. He causes grief for a reason.
-Notice that the verse says “For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.”  God does not delight in causing grief.  God does not delight in the chastisement of His children.  But He does delight in the fruit that the chastisement produces.  (Hebrews 12:11)  He delights in our faith that comes through a trial “as gold.”  God has a purpose for everything that He does.

2. The grief He causes is temporary.
-“For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.”  As Christians, we need to remember that any trial or tribulation we go through will be only temporary.  We need to remember that, no matter how bad it may seem, our problems are “for a moment.” 

He will cause grief, but He will also have compassion “according to the multitude of his mercies.”  There is the theme of mercy yet again!

Woe Unto Us

The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning.  The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!

Lamentations 5:15-16

As I was reading through this passage, one part jumped out at me: “woe unto us, that we have sinned.”  That seems to be the consensus among people who finally see God face to face.  When a person stops pretending and trying to justify their actions and attitudes, they seem to take on the same thought process: “woe unto us, that we have sinned.”  Look at the other examples in the Bible of people who came face to face with God:

1. Job
-“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.  Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”  (Job 42:5-6)  Job wasn’t a “bad person,” but when He saw the Lord, He realized just how sinful he really was.

2. Isaiah
-“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up… …Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”  (Isaiah 6:1,5)  Isaiah was one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament.  But when he saw the Lord “high and lifted up,” he said “woe is me.”

3. John
-“And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.”  (Revelation 1:17a)  John, the beloved disciple, fell on his face “as dead” when he saw the Lord.

These great men were not immune to realizing their own sinfulness when confronted with the holiness of the Lord.  There are also many others that we could mention.  They realized it in this passage in Lamentations.  “Woe unto us, that we have sinned.”  How often do we really attempt to get a glimpse of God’s holiness?  How often have we fallen on our faces before Him and confessed, “woe unto me, I have sinned?”  Should it be more often?

Thou Hast Heard

I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon.  Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry.  Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not.  O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.

Lamentations 3:55-58

I am encouraged by the prophet’s declarations in verses 55 and 56: “I called…” and “Thou hast heard…”  I am encouraged by the fact that, even though Jeremiah was in the dungeon, the Lord was with him.  We may not find ourselves in a literal dungeon as Jeremiah did, but we will sometimes find ourselves in a metaphorical dungeon.  Jeremiah relates the horrors of being in the dungeon in the previous two verses:

“They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me.  Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off.” (Lamentations 3:53-54)

Jeremiah was at the end of his rope.  He was in a situation where no one around him cared for or about him.  In fact, he was in a situation in which everyone around hated him, rejected his message, and threw him in a dungeon.  It is doubtful that any of us will ever experience anything this frightening.  But the principle remains the same.  When Jeremiah called unto Him, He heard.  And when we call unto Him, He hears.

What a blessing and privilege it is to serve a God who hears and answers prayer!


Hope And Wait

It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

Lamentations 3:26

The previous verse told us that “The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.”  This verse tells us that it is good for us to both hope and “quietly wait” for the salvation of the Lord.

I would say that, for myself, having hope is far easier than “quietly waiting.”  We have seen the power that hope in the Lord possesses in the last few verses.  Jeremiah tells us in verse 18 that his strength and hope had perished, but he got them back in verse 21 when he began to remember the Lord’s tender mercies and compassion.  Hope is a powerful thing.  His mercy and compassion (and the fact that they are “new every morning”-vs. 23) give us hope. 

“Quietly waiting,” on the other hand, is not always so easy.  Quietly waiting takes patience, meekness, wisdom and strength; none of which are common in human nature.  When I see things on the news or hear stories or read comments about people who hate the Lord, it makes me very angry.  When I see blasphemous things being joked about, it makes me want to “bust some heads,” in Christian love, of course. 🙂  But that is not how we should operate.  Sometimes I almost wish God would just send fire from Heaven and devour people who mock His Holy name.  But I am told to “hope and quietly wait” for the salvation of the Lord.  Simon Peter took a sword and attacked one of the men who had come for Jesus.  Jesus rebuked him and went humbly to the cross for you and me.

Sometimes my pride wants to get belligerent and wants to take matters into my own hands.  But we have been told to “hope and quietly wait” for the salvation of the Lord.  The next time we find ourselves in this type of situation, it would be wise to remember these words: “…quietly wait…”

Waiting and Hoping

The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.  The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

Lamentations 3:24-25

The book of Lamentations is, overall, a sad book.  After all, it’s very name is a form of expressing sadness.  The definition of “lament” is “to express sorrow, mourning or regret.”  And this book is the story of the prophet Jeremiah “lamenting” the fall of Judah.  But, even in the midst of his sorrow over his people, the prophet sees a glimmer of hope from the Lord.  It may seem today that our nation is turning its back on God and, as Christians, we can “lament” this fact.  But even in sorrow, there is hope.

The simple fact that “the Lord is our portion” should give us hope.  The very God who created the Earth and breathed life into mankind is our Father.  He has promised us eternal life and joy in Heaven.  “…therefore will I hope in him.”  No matter what things are happening around us, “…therefore will I hope in him.”  No matter what problems, trials and tribulations may come our way, “…therefore will I hope in him.”  Even pain, sickness and death can not stop us from saying “…therefore will I hope in him.”  We can always, always, always hope in him.

The next verse tells us that “The Lord is good unto them that wait for him…”  There are many verses in the Bible that tell us to wait on the Lord.  That is the beautiful thing about hope- it is always there, no matter what the circumstances.  Sometimes we do have to “wait for him.”  Sometimes we don’t understand what He is doing or why He is doing it.  When we find ourselves in one of life’s valleys, it is this hope that He will keep His promises and the fact that He will be “good to us” that will help us to make it through. 

We can hope in Him and He will be good to us.  No matter what we may be going through, we can always take comfort in those things!

New Every Morning

This I recall to mind, therefore have I hope.  It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:21-23

I have quite a few “favorite verses” and “favorite passages”; I think this is one of them.  Hope is a powerful thing, especially if your hope is in the right object.   We have hope because of verses like these.  What a comfort and an encouragement that “his compassions fail not!”  His tender mercies are the source of our hope.

I like the thought that His mercy and His compassion are “new every morning.”  I don’t know about you,  but I need His mercy and His compassion to be new every morning.  Have you ever done something wrong over and over again?  Sometimes it seems like I am confessing the same thing every day.  Sometimes I think that the Lord gets tired of forgiving me.  Sometimes I get the feeling that I have failed too many times and that I have exhausted His mercy and His compassion. 

But then I read these verses.  His compassions are new every morning.  When we wake up in the morning, God has more mercy and more compassion waiting for us.  It really is “of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed.  If His mercy and compassion weren’t new every morning, we would surely be consumed.  I am thankful that they are always new every morning.

Every one of us fails Him in one way or another every single day.  None of us are perfect, none of us have ever been perfect and none of us will ever be perfect in this life.  We desperately need His mercy every day.  But where we fail Him daily, He will never fail us!  The verse concludes with this reminder for us all: “great is thy faithfulness.”  Amen.


This I recall to mind, therefore have I hope.  It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

Lamentations 3:21-22

Hope is a powerful word.  In my opinion, it is one of the most wonderful things about being a Christian.  There are so many people in the world who have no hope.  Having hope is, in my opinion, one of the most vital things in life.  Without some kind of hope, it is difficult to even find the strength to live.

In the midst of all of the judgment that the Lord is bringing on Judah, Jeremiah found hope.  And, over a thousand years later, we can find hope in the same place.  Here is what Jeremiah “recalled to mind” that caused him to have hope:

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.”  If there is any reason to have hope, it is because of the Lord’s mercies and compassions.  It is true that, were it not for the Lord’s mercies, we would have been consumed long ago.  I know that God could have rightly destroyed me many, many times.  But the simple fact that I am still alive is a testament to the fact that it really is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed.

Not only are we not consumed because of His mercy, but He also has compassions that “fail not.”  Not only does He not destroy us when we fail Him, but He goes beyond that and has compassion on us. 

Hope is a powerful emotion.  And the only hope with a sure foundation is this hope.  The hope that Jeremiah spoke of is still available to us today.  It is hope in the Lord’s great mercy!

Remembering Brings Humility

Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.  My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.

Lamentations 3:19-20

The book of Lamentations is a very sad book.  It’s name is accurate – it is Jeremiah’s lamenting the fall of Judah.  For the first two chapters, he goes through the sad state of the nation and tells of the judgment that God is bringing on them.  In the third chapter, he tells of his own experience, which has not been a good one.  In these verses, he tells us that he remembers his affliction and his misery.  And he tells us that remembering these things humbles his soul.

I started thinking about that statement and, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.  Remembering really does help to humble us.  Jeremiah is here remembering his pain and misery, caused by the sin of his nation.  I’m sure that we can all remember pain and misery that has come into our lives because of sin.  Our sins can be forgiven and covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, and we should not continually dwell on them and be defeated by them.  But remembering our past failures and remembering the Lord’s mercy on us will give us a healthy dose of humility.

On the other hand, I think that even remembering our successes can help us with humility if and when we realize that any success we may have had has been due entirely to God’s mercy and grace.  When we remember just how helpless we are and how totally dependent we are on Him, we have no choice but to be humble.  Pride has no place in our hearts when we have a proper view of ourselves and of our Lord.

Jeremiah was humbled by his “remembrance”.  We should be, too.