Lamentations 3 There Is Hope.
The bible is real. Sometimes we are forced see affliction, and walk in the darkness, which is a condition wherein there is the absence of light (vv. 1-2). Throughout the day, and after many days, we age, as our bodies speak to us (vv. 3-4). Dark places are too often places of bitterness and woe, weariness and death (vv. 5-6). Life itself is like a heavy chain keeping us as prisoners of our own thoughts (v. 7). Sometimes it seems that not even our prayers can pierce the darkness, no matter how hard or loud we speak (vv. 8; 43-45). If that weren’t bad enough, we sometimes find the straight ways we have known are blocked, and we find ourselves traveling crooked paths (v. 9). We fear that an enemy waits for us, but it is the LORD who is the bear or lion waiting to ambush (v. 10). Maybe our ways have not been good, because he turns us from them that he might tear us to pieces, in the desolation that is our self, he aims his arrows at us, like a shot to the kidneys (vv. 11-13).
Jeremiah had become the ridicule of the people, but when one stands alone with the word it is not hard to be filled with bitterness (vv. 14-15). The bear or lion breaks us and covers us with ashes (v. 16). “You have moved my soul far from peace; I have forgotten prosperity. And I said, ‘my strength and my hope have perished from the LORD.’” (vv. 17-18). How does one find hope in the darkness? Jeremiah turned to the covenant LORD, asking him to remember his affliction and roaming, “the wormwood and the gall.” Yes, we have roamed in the darkness of our own ways, but if we humble ourselves, we might also remember him (vv. 19-21). “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (vv. 22-23) His faithfulness speaks to his commitment to the covenantal bond, therefore he is our portion, and our hope (v. 24). “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.” (v. 25)
Sometimes the best decision is to stop and wait on the LORD, but sometimes we also have to seek him out. It may not have all the clinical definitions one might find elsewhere, but this is sometimes the way of repentance, and sometimes it is simply the way of wisdom. “It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” (v. 26) Sometimes it is preferable to bear the yoke in one’s youth (v. 27). Jeremiah knew all about this, as he literally bore a yoke to be a visual demonstration that accompanied his words of exile. He remains for us an example that when find ourselves alone and silent, it is possible to find hope (vv. 28-29). A “soul far from peace,” can find the LORD himself to be one’s hope (vv. 17-18). Sometimes it feels like we are getting hit in the chops, but the LORD will not cast us off forever (vv. 30-31). “Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.” (v. 32)
Like any parent, the LORD “does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” (v. 33) God’s anger is not like that of man in sin. He will afflict when justice is subverted (vv. 34-36 Cf. 22:3; Job 8:3). Only the Lord can predict the future, in part because he is the sovereign LORD of it (v. 37). “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed? Why should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?” (vv. 38-39) We need to examine our ways, and if there is rebellion in our hearts we need to repent (vv. 40-42). Desolation and destruction bring tears (vv. 46-51). It is a bitter pill to swallow, when one, like Jeremiah, is condemned without cause (vv. 52-54). Sometimes we just need to keep calling on the covenant LORD, who has promised to draw near, so that we need not fear (vv. 56-57). In the court of judgment, the Lord pleads our case, and redeems our live (vv. 58-59). The reprobate seek vengeance, but the saints leave this to the LORD (vv. 60-66).