Lamentations 3

Lamentations 3:19-39
3:19 I remember [note four vivid terms to describe the painful suffering through which Jeremiah and the nation had been brought low…] [1] my affliction [refers to being humiliated and impoverished; cf. 2 Kings 24:10-14 re: Judah’s national affliction] and [2] my wandering [term used in Isa. 58:7 to describe the homeless poor who wander from place to place in search of food and shelter], [3] the bitterness [refers to “wormwood,” a nonpoisonous but bitter plant common in the Middle East] and [4] the gall [refers to a poisonous herb; “bitterness and gall” are terms used by OT prophets to denote bitterness and tragedy associated with unfaithfulness to God (cf. Jer. 23:15; Amos 5:7)].

3:20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.

3:21 Yet [at the moment of deepest despair…] this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

3:22 Because of [note three characteristics of God that formed the basis of Jeremiah’s hope…] the LORD’S great [1] love [covenant love or loyal love; the kind of love that holds relationships together for better or worse] we are not consumed, [note another basis of hope…] for his [2] compassions [word is related to a Hebrew word that describes a mother’s womb (place of nourishment and security for an unborn infant] never fail.

3:23 They [God’s love and compassions] are new every morning; great [completely constant and reliable] is your [3] faithfulness [word depicts God’s constancy and trustworthiness].

Note: This verse has been memorialized by the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”

3:24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion [God was all he had]; therefore I will wait for him.”

3:25 The LORD is good [the Lord is always good] to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

3:26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

3:27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young [doing so will better prepare him for hardships that may come later in life].

3:28 Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it [the yoke] on him.

3:29 Let him bury his face [literally “mouth”] in the dust [an ancient way of acknowledging complete submission to another person]—there may yet be hope.

3:30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace.

3:31 For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.

3:32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing [great] love.

3:33 For he does not willingly [literally “from his heart”] bring affliction or grief to the children of men.

3:34 To crush underfoot all prisoners in the land,

3:35 to deny a man his rights before the Most High [Heb. “Elyon”],

3:36 to deprive a man of justice—would not the Lord see such things?

3:37 Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it [permitted evil]?

3:38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?

3:39 Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins?

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