Lamentations 3

1 I am the man that has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. 2 He has led me and caused me to walk in darkness, and not in light. 3 Surely against me he turns his hand again and again all the day. 4 My flesh and my skin has he made old; he has broken my bones. 5 He has built against me, and surrounded me with gall and travail. 6 He has made me to dwell in dark places, as those that have been long dead. 7 He has walled me about, that I can’t go out; he has made my chain heavy. 8 Yes, when I cry, and call for help, he shuts out my prayer. 9 He has walled up my ways with cut stone; he has made my paths crooked. 10 He is to me as a bear lying in wait, as a lion in secret places. 11 He has turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces; he has made me desolate. 12 He has bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. 13 He has caused the shafts of his quiver to enter into my kidneys. 14 I am become a derision to all my people, and their song all the day. 15 He has filled me with bitterness, he has sated me with wormwood. 16 He has also broken my teeth with gravel stones; he has covered me with ashes. 17 You have removed my soul far off from peace; I forgot prosperity. 18 I said, My strength is perished, and my expectation from the LORD. 19 Remember my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. 20 My soul still remembers them, and is bowed down within me. 21 This I recall to my mind; therefore have I hope. 22 It is because of the LORD’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed, because his compassion doesn’t fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 The LORD is my portion, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. 26 It is good that a man should hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. 27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. 28 Let him sit alone and keep silence, because he has laid it on him. 29 Let him put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope. 30 Let him give his cheek to him who strikes him; let him be filled full with reproach. 31 For the Lord will not cast off forever. 32 For though he cause grief, yet he will have compassion according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses. 33 For he does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. 34 To crush under foot all the prisoners of the earth, 35 to turn aside the right of a man before the face of the Most High, 36 to subvert a man in his cause, the Lord doesn’t approve. 37 Who is he who says, and it comes to pass, when the Lord doesn’t command it? 38 Doesn’t evil and good come out of the mouth of the Most High? 39 Why does a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? 40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. 41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands to God* in the heavens. 42 We have transgressed and have rebelled; you have not pardoned. 43 You have covered with anger and pursued us; you have killed, you have not pitied. 44 You have covered yourself with a cloud, so that no prayer can pass through. 45 You have made us an off-scouring and refuse in the middle of the peoples. 46 All our enemies have opened their mouth wide against us. 47 Fear and the pit have come on us, devastation and destruction. 48 My eye runs down with streams of water, for the destruction of the daughter of my people. 49 My eye pours down, and doesn’t cease, without any intermission, 50 until the LORD looks down, and sees from heaven. 51 My eye affects my soul, because of all the daughters of my city. 52 They have chased me relentlessly like a bird, those who are my enemies without cause. 53 They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and have cast a stone on me. 54 Waters flowed over my head; I said, I am cut off. 55 I called on your name, LORD, out of the lowest dungeon. 56 You heard my voice; don’t hide your ear at my breathing, at my cry. 57 You came near in the day that I called on you; you said, Don’t be afraid. 58 Lord, you have pleaded the causes of my soul; you have redeemed my life. 59 LORD, you have seen my wrong. Judge my cause. 60 You have seen all their vengeance and all their devices against me. 61 You have heard their reproach, LORD, and all their devices against me, 62 the lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day. 63 You see their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their song. 64 You will render to them a recompense, LORD, according to the work of their hands. 65 You will give them hardness of heart, your curse to them. 66 You will pursue them in anger, and destroy them from under the heavens of the LORD.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-20

The prophet relates the more gloomy and discouraging part of his experience, and how he found support and relief. In the time of his trial the Lord had become terrible to him. It was an affliction that was misery itself; for sin makes the cup of affliction a bitter cup. The struggle between unbelief and faith is often very severe. But the weakest believer is wrong, if he thinks that his strength and hope are perished from the Lord.

Verses 21-36

Having stated his distress and temptation, the prophet shows how he was raised above it. Bad as things are, it is owing to the mercy of God that they are not worse. We should observe what makes for us, as well as what is against us. God’s compassions fail not; of this we have fresh instances every morning. Portions on earth are perishing things, but God is a portion for ever. It is our duty, and will be our comfort and satisfaction, to hope and quietly to wait for the salvation of the Lord. Afflictions do and will work very much for good: many have found it good to bear this yoke in their youth; it has made many humble and serious, and has weaned them from the world, who otherwise would have been proud and unruly. If tribulation work patience, that patience will work experience, and that experience a hope that makes not ashamed. Due thoughts of the evil of sin, and of our own sinfulness, will convince us that it is of the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed. If we cannot say with unwavering voice, The Lord is my portion; may we not say, I desire to have Him for my portion and salvation, and in his word do I hope? Happy shall we be, if we learn to receive affliction as laid upon us by the hand of God.

Verses 37-41

While there is life there is hope; and instead of complaining that things are bad, we should encourage ourselves with the hope they will be better. We are sinful men, and what we complain of, is far less than our sins deserve. We should complain to God, and not of him. We are apt, in times of calamity, to reflect on other people’s ways, and blame them; but our duty is to search and try our own ways, that we may turn from evil to God. Our hearts must go with our prayers. If inward impressions do not answer to outward expressions, we mock God, and deceive ourselves.

Verses 42-54

The more the prophet looked on the desolations, the more he was grieved. Here is one word of comfort. While they continued weeping, they continued waiting; and neither did nor would expect relief and succour from any but the Lord.

Verses 55-66

Faith comes off conqueror, for in these verses the prophet concludes with some comfort. Prayer is the breath of the new man, drawing in the air of mercy in petitions, and returning it in praises; it proves and maintains the spiritual life. He silenced their fears, and quieted their spirits. Thou saidst, Fear not. This was the language of God’s grace, by the witness of his Spirit with their spirits. And what are all our sorrows, compared with those of the Redeemer? He will deliver his people from every trouble, and revive his church from every persecution. He will save believers with everlasting salvation, while his enemies perish with everlasting destruction.

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