Scripture reading – Lamentations 3

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Lamentations 3

In Lamentations 3, the longest chapter in this small prophetic book, Jeremiah’s expressions take on a personal tone. The prophet lived to see all he prophesied against Judah come to pass. Left behind with the poor, Jeremiah gazes upon a scene of devastation. The Temple is destroyed, the palaces and homes of the city are laid waste, and the walls of Jerusalem are fallen.

Jeremiah’s Distress (Lamentations 3:1-21)

In his sorrows, Jeremiah confessed the distress he felt for His people’s suffering. He felt alienated from the LORD (Lamentations 3:2), as though the LORD had turned against him (Lamentations 3:3). The pain of his grief was so acute that Jeremiah compared it to broken bones (Lamentations 3:4). He prayed. Still, he felt the LORD had abandoned him to “dark places” (Lamentations 3:6), and his prayers were not heard (Lamentations 3:7-8). He felt trapped and wounded (Lamentations 3:9).

Jeremiah’s Distress

Hidden Dangers (Lamentations 3:10-18)

In his troubles, Jeremiah felt the LORD had become like “a bear lying in wait, and as a lion in secret places,” and his life was torn and ravaged by Him (Lamentations 3:10-13). He had become an object of scorn, and his enemies delighted in his sorrows (Lamentations 3:14). Overcome with helplessness, Jeremiah despaired of life (Lamentations 3:15-19).


Hope Amid Afflictions (Lamentations 3:22-66)

Finally, amid sorrows, the prophet focused on the LORD, and hope was revived. Jeremiah expressed his faith in words that inspired the hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness.” We read, “22It is of the Lord’s [Jehovah; Eternal, Self-Existent God] mercies [kindness and grace] that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not [never cease]. 23They are new every morning: great [sufficient] is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22–23).

Remembering the LORD’s mercy and faithfulness, Jeremiah confessed, “The LORD is good unto them that wait [tarry; hope] for Him [the LORD], to the soul that seeketh Him” (Lamentations 3:25).

To know the goodness of the LORD, a believer must fulfill two requisites. First, they must “wait for Him” (Lamentations 3:25). To wait on the LORD means to hope, trust, and look with expectation that He is good and His promises never fail. Do you wait on the LORD when you are hurt? Do you wait when you are ill? Do you wait when you are mistreated or misunderstood? Jeremiah’s counsel to those in distress was to “wait” and hope in the LORD (Psalm 27:14; 37:14; Proverbs 20:22).

Secondly, to know the LORD’s goodness, believers must sincerely “seek Him” (Lamentations 3:25b). To seek the LORD is to inquire after Him, to turn to and obey Him (Lamentations 3:40). Those who seek the LORD will read and meditate in His Word and follow Him (Lamentations 3:40; Jeremiah 29:13).

good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth

In conclusion, consider three things Jeremiah described as “good” in Lamentations 3:26-27.

First, it is good to “hope [expectant waiting] and quietly wait [wait and keep silent] for the salvation [help; deliverance] of the LORD” (Lamentations 3:26). Hope is more than an emotional or mental aspiration; it is the practice of a disciplined heart and soul. Hope anticipates that God hears and answers prayer. We hope in the LORD because He is faithful to His Word and promises.

It is also good to “quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD” (Lamentations 3:26b) and believe He will answer prayer in His time.

Finally, we read that it is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3:27). Amid his sorrows, Jeremiah acknowledged that it is good when young men learn from challenges, trials, and disappointments—the disciplines required for manhood. 21st-century parents are tempted to pamper their children and spare them from disappointments and sorrows.

Remember that today’s “yoke” (i.e., responsibilities and expectations) is preparatory for a rewarding life that will require discipline and endurance.

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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