Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Lamentations- Chapter 3

Lamentations 3


-This 66 verse middle chapter, which the longest in the book by way of a triple acrostic in the Hebrew language, begins with lamentation, then teaches the hope of God in spite of intense judgment in the middle, and ends with an imprecatory fervor. Jeremiah has seen the affliction because of the wrath of God on His people. The LORD has driven him to walk in darkness and not in light during this tribulation. The prophet feels the effects of God’s Hand being turned against a wayward-obstinate people. His flesh and skin waste away and his bones have been broken (Lamentations 3:1-4). He has been besieged and encompassed with bitterness and hardship. He feels like death has overtaken him in dark places, walled in with heavy chains to keep him from any escape. The prophet even feels that God has shut out his prayers and petitions for help.  All his ways have been blocked with large cut-out stones, and his paths are now so crooked in this place of torment. He feels like he’s been torn to pieces by a ravaging animal; there is a desolate feeling. He feels like the target that has been shot with an arrow, right into the inward parts. He has become a laughingstock to all of his people who mock him all day long. Bitterness, brokenness, drunkenness, and cowering are his solemn descriptions. His soul has been rejected from peace, and he has forgotten what happiness is. His strength has perished as well as his hope from the LORD (Lamentations 3:5-18).

-But, in the midst of the most depressing time of his life, he regains hope as the chapter and book take a dramatic turn. Now we see that the prophet calls on God to remember his affliction, wandering, wormwood, and bitterness. His hope is in the LORD, whose lovingkindnesses indeed never stops and whose compassion never fails. These are new every morning because great is the LORD’s faithfulness. The LORD is Jeremiah’s portion, and his hope is restored when he realizes this. He proclaims that God is good to those who wait for Him in patience. The person who diligently seeks Him will find the way eventually. A silent waiting is good the prophet claims, for it brings the salvation of the LORD. Bearing the yoke in his youth is also good as a teacher of righteousness and correct living. The LORD will not reject forever. “For if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness (Lamentations 3:19-32).” It is not the will of God to have to do these types of things. He does not delight in grieving the sons of men. He takes no pleasure in crushing people under His powerful feet. He hates injustice in His presence and defrauds no one. His discipline is for corrective action, plus He is under obligation to always fulfill His Word. Good and ill go forth from His mouth with supreme authority. He is the Most High (Lamentations 3:33-38). “Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins? Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the LORD (Lamentations 3:39-40).” Repentance toward God in Heaven is the key to realizing that we have transgressed and rebelled, and really, we do not deserve any pardon. His anger is just and the penalties are deserved. It only His mercy that can save us from this despair. This is why Jeremiah screams out for it with all his passion and vigor (Lamentations 3:41-56). This when he finds that the LORD would draw near and say, “Do not fear (Lamentations 3:57)!” God would plead his soul’s case and redeem his chosen one’s life (Lamentations 3:58).

-Now, with that settled once and for all, the biblical author knows that the LORD has seen his oppression, and asks the Sovereign to judge his case. The prophet knows that God has seen all the enemies’ vengeance and schemes. God has heard their reproach, their assailing lips, their whispering, and their mocking song. He asks for recompense upon them from the Hand of the LORD according to the works of their hands. Jeremiah knows that the LORD will 1) give His enemies hardness of heart, 2) be a curse on them, 3) pursue them in anger, and 4) destroy them from under His heavens (Lamentations 3:59-66). *Application* What is our response when things go bad? Do we react with wisdom in our lamentations realizing God is still at work? Or, do we get bogged down with false interpretations of what God is trying to accomplish in the difficult seasons of our lives? Be sensible and wait on God in times of distress. Turn to Him in probing reflection. Once you have confessed your shortcomings and sins, expect the LORD to pour out His lovingkindnesses and compassion upon you too! He will eventually save and redeem! There is hope in the midst of affliction!


Verse to Memorize: Lamentations 3:40

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