We could divide this chapter into three sections:
Jeremiah looks to himself, and struggles (Lamentations 3:1-18)
Jeremiah looks to the LORD, and finds hope (Lamentations 3:19-39)
Jeremiah looks to the people and encourages THEM to look to the LORD (Lamentations 3:40-66).
The Babylonians had devastated Jerusalem, and God allowed it, even authored it. Jeremiah felt personally afflicted, in darkness, old, and trapped, it was as if God was not hearing his prayers (Lamentations 3:7-8). He felt attacked, torn, ridiculed, taunted, and forced to drink wormwood (Lamentations 3:15, 19).
The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary defined Wormwood as a, “Nonpoisonous but bitter plant common to the Middle East. Wormwood often is used in analogy to speak of bitterness and sorrow. OT prophets pictured wormwood as the opposite of justice and righteousness (Amos 5:7; Jeremiah 23:15). Revelation describes wormwood as one of the blazing stars that brings destruction (8:10–11).”
But suddenly Jeremiah’s perspective changes. He looks to God and finds hope (Lamentations 3:21). He and his people have been disciplined, but not destroyed; crushed, but not consumed; severely chastened but still chosen. Jeremiah is able to rise up as he returns to the Biblical understanding of who God is:
Lamentations 3:22–24 (NKJV) “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
Where would we be if it weren’t for God’s mercy? Aren’t you grateful that His mercy is new, EVERY morning?
Warren Wiersbe, “If God’s compassions are ‘new every morning’ (Lamentations 3:23), you have the right to claim them daily. Let each morning be for you the dawn of a new day. Start over again, no matter how many times you failed the day before. If God’s mercies never fail, depend on them during the day. He is faithful, and His faithfulness will not fail.”
Even in the dark days of difficulty, Jeremiah clings to the truth of who God is. Whenever you come across something you don’t understand, fall back on what you DO understand.
Lamentations 3:31–33 (NLT) “For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. 32 Though He brings grief, He also shows compassion because of the greatness of His unfailing love. 33 For He does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.”
God has His eyes on the thermostat and the clock. He monitors how hot it gets and how long it’s been.
As a true prophet called of God Jeremiah definitely loved and cared for the people, and it’s for that reason he calls them to come back to the Lord. He says it beautifully in:
Lamentations 3:40–41 (NKJV) “Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the LORD; 41 Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven.”
Even though Jeremiah and the Jews were still in the middle of endless tears, pain, and punishment to the point that they felt their prayers weren’t being heard, he began to walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). God was lifting Jeremiah up personally, and his words were intended to lift up the people nationally. He even does a 180 turn around and expresses something diametrically different from what he had just said in Jeremiah 3:44, he knew by faith…God DID answer his prayers:
Lamentations 3:55–57 (NKJV) “I called on Your name, O LORD, from the lowest pit. 56 You have heard my voice: “Do not hide Your ear from my sighing, from my cry for help.” 57 You drew near on the day I called on You, and said, “Do not fear!”
My prayer is that I’d stay on track, that I wouldn’t ever disobey my Lord to the point of such chastening, but if I ever do, as Israel did, or if I ever find myself drowning in sorrow for any reason, Lamentations is a good book to remind me who God is, even in excruciating pain…I must keep the faith!
We’re not sure who the author of Hebrews is but there is no doubt about the fact that it’s inspired by God. It’s a brilliant letter, a masterpiece that presents the unparalleled greatness of Jesus and the superiority of the new covenant.
The writer begins with the fact that Jesus is God’s final Word to mankind. Since the beginning God spoke in various ways, through the various prophets, but now in these last days He’s spoken directly through His Son (keep in mind the entire New Testament is somehow connected to an Apostle of Christ). I like the way C.H. Spurgeon worded it, “Other men had the threads of truth; but Christ took the threads, and wove them into a glorious robe, put it on, and came forth clothed with every truth of God.”
God the Father has given us the final Word through God the Son – Jesus is Heir of all things, the brightness of His glory, and the express image of God’s Person. Jesus holds everything up and together – He’s the One who purged us from our sins and then sat down (meaning He finished the work). He is seated in the place of honor, there at the right hand of the Father.
Some are gravely mistaken in thinking that Jesus is a mere angel created by God; the writer goes on to show us from the Scriptures that Jesus is not an angel, He’s infinitely superior.
Jesus is God’s Son, Jesus is to be worshipped by the angels, Jesus is called “God” by the Father with an eternal throne, and we know there is only one God! Jesus is called LORD in Psalm 102:25-27 and in context this is a reference to Jehovah God!
Whatever you do, don’t buy into the teaching of Jehovah’s Witnesses who say that Jesus was created, that He’s Michael the Archangel. Don’t buy the lie of the Mormons who say that Jesus was the spirit brother of Lucifer, one of many gods. Paul the Apostle wrote something relevant in:
2 Corinthians 11:3-4 (NKJV) “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!”
We must not put up with the false teachings out there of who Jesus is. The book of Hebrews clearly presents Jesus as greater…even as God. He’s not created, He’s not an angel, He is the Second Person of the Trinity, which consist of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The angels, on the contrary, are ministering spirits, created by God and sent forth – not to save us – but to serve God by helping us in our Christian life (Hebrews 1:14).
This Psalm is unique in the way it opens up – it is, “A Prayer of the afflicted, when He is overwhelmed and pours out His complaint before the LORD.”
Have you ever been there? Afflicted? Overwhelmed? Cries of complaint? If not, you will be one day, and this is a good Psalm to ponder and pray.
The Psalmist is suffering physically and spiritually, he’s lost his appetite and has shed many tears, weeping. But he’s asking God to now hear his prayers, to answer speedily…he’s hoping that the time has come for God’s favor (Psalm 102:13).
It’s time to build up Zion (Jerusalem) that the nations would see – that the things would now take place to bless and impact future generations who have not yet been born; that they would praise the LORD (Psalm 102:18).
The Psalmist is praying for the children of Israel to be set free, that God would hear the groaning of the prisoner, destined to die…and have mercy upon the people (Psalm 102:20).
God is able to spare our lives, and to lengthen our days, if it’s His will, we can look to the One who is all powerful and immutable.
Change is inevitable in this world we live in – we change, our circumstances change, our world changes, but HE never changes. He is God who laid the foundation and will complete what He’s started, in Israel, in us, in our church, and especially in our families.
To me (as the Psalm ends with our children) I sense this was the Psalmist’s heart all along – for the future of our families.
Psalm 102:28 (NKJV) “The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You.”
Amen and Amen.
Proverbs 26:21-22 (NKJV) “As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife. 22 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body.”
We are not to feed the fire of ungodly and unnecessary contentions, where every word is more wood; stop the needless fighting – no one wins.
Let’s not add that kind of wood to the fire, and let’s make sure to lose our appetite for the “juicy, juicy” – the choice morsels, the latest gossip. It may taste good to our flesh, but it’s not good for us, it’s poison to our souls.
Bible Knowledge Commentary, “Hearing gossip is like eating a delicacy (something not everyone else hears). Therefore, like food being digested, gossiped news is assimilated in one’s inmost parts (i.e., is retained and remembered).”
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.