The name of this book, Lamentations, describes the state of the house of Israel as they shrink fully into their seventy years of exile. There is a sense of the depths of their despair in Lamentations 3:5-6 “bitterness and hardship. In darkness like the dead”. But even at this lowest point, there is a memory of God’s faithfulness in Lamentations 3:22 “The loyal love of Yahweh does not cease” and hope begins to arise. There is no barrier preventing them from coming to the Lord, there is only a need for our action as in Lamentations 3:40 “Let us test and examine our ways; let us return to Yahweh”. The Lord want only one thing from us, in Lamentations 41 “Let us lift up our hearts with our hands to God in the heavens”.
I am a Man Who Has Seen Misery
There are few that have not seen misery at some point in their life. And, I might ask, are there any? We aren’t living in the garden of Eden any more. There is sin and death in the world. For us though, there is a mediator, a new covenant in
Acts 10:38 Jesus of Nazareth—how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him.
This idea of salvation, of reconciliation, of God’s blessing had been introduced to Israel who was the nation of promise, the nation of God’s presence. They held the covenant of blessing, but forgot that the other side of their covenant was cursing. And we find here in Lamentations 3:5-6 “bitterness and hardship. In darkness like the dead”, we find the depths of the curse for those separated from God.
The Loyal Love of Yahweh Does Not Cease
These are desperate times where they are in Lamentations 3:12-19 “the target for the arrow”, “a laughingstock”, “I have forgotten goodness”. Yet, even in times like these it is important for us to encourage ourselves as in Lamentations 3:20 “my soul remembers” and in Lamentations 3:21 “I have reminded myself”, “I will hope”. But what is our hope? For those of us that have come to Christ, it is in
Lamentations 3:22 The loyal love of Yahweh does not cease; his compassions do not come to an end.
There is though, one more action in moving from despair to hope. “I have reminded myself” of “the loyal love of Yahweh” and “his compassion” but now I must yield myself to him as it also says in Lamentations 3:20 “my soul … bows down within me”. In my soul, in my mind and will and emotions, I must lay down all of my feelings about my situation, all of my disappointments, all of my expectations, all of my failures and make room for “a future and a hope”. As it was for these exiles, so it will be for us because of his “loyal love” and he says “as soon as the time is passed” in
Jeremiah 29:10–11 For thus says Yahweh, ‘As soon as the time has passed, seventy years for Babylon, I will attend to you, and I will fulfill my good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans that I am planning concerning you,’ declares Yahweh, ‘plans for prosperity and not for harm, to give to you a future and a hope.
Yahweh is Good to Those Who Wait on Him
Let Us Lift Up Our Hearts With Our Hands
God is righteous. Evil must be dealt with, but as it said in Lamentations 3:33-36 “he does not afflict willingly”, “to crush under his feet”, “to subvert … in a legal dispute” because “the Lord has not found delight in these things”.
It is in our hands though, to follow after him and to seek his ways as in
Lamentations 3:40–41 Let us test and examine our ways; let us return to Yahweh. 41 Let us lift up our hearts with our hands to God in the heavens.
We are the ones fallen into sin. We are the ones separated from God under the penalty of death. But if we will “examine ourselves” and “lift up our hearts and hands” in repentance, as it says in
Psalm 24:4–5 “He who is innocent of hands and pure of heart, who does not lift up his soul to falseness, and does not swear deceitfully. 5 He will receive blessing from Yahweh, and justice from the God of his salvation.
Then, we “Earth-bound mortals are thus promised liberation from the predicament of their crushing environment by the power of God, which frees the prisoner from bondage to sin and self. For the Christian, faith in the finished work of Christ achieves victory (cf. 1 Cor. 15:57)”.1
My Enemies Hunt Me Without Cause
O Lord, You Have Pleaded for My Cause
The Precious Sons of Zion as Earthen Vessels of Clay
The Kings of the Earth Did Not Believe
- Lamentations 3:1–11 I am a Man Who Has Seen Misery
- Lamentations 3:12–22 The Loyal Love of Yahweh Does Not Cease
- Lamentations 3:34–44 Let Us Lift Up Our Hearts With Our Hands
- Lamentations 3:1-66
- Lamentations 4:1-22
- 1. Harrison, R. K. (1973). Jeremiah and Lamentations: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 21, p. 231). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.