Lamentations 3:19–27 (ESV) — 19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! 20 My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. 21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. 26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. 27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
The Reason for Discouragement: Remembering and Dwelling on our Misfortunes (19-20)
– Introspection, beating yourself up, dwelling on the bad news that surrounds us,
The Remedy for Spiritual Discouragement: Remembering and Dwelling on thew Mercies of God (21-23)
– He calls it to mind // This is a Spiritual discipline, renewing our mind, taking our thoughts captive, it doesn’t come naturally, must fight to resist the entropy of the soul plagued only by thoughts of judgment.
3:22–24 The unbroken mood of despair was displaced by a beautiful affirmation of hope in spite of suffering (cf. Job 1:21; Hab 3:17–18; Rom 5:3; 1 Pet 4:12–13). The basis for renewed hope is God’s “great love.” The Hebrew word hesed, sometimes translated as “covenant love” or “loyal love,” is a word that has the basic meaning of loyalty or faithfulness, especially as related to the covenant initiated by God; the word involves obligations to family, friends, and the community. Another basis of hope is God’s unfailing “compassions” (raḥămîm; from a word related to the womb, it describes the tender, caring love of a mother), which are experienced in a fresh and new way every day.
Whereas earlier the writer accused God of cruelty and faithlessness, now he exalted God’s love and “faithfulness.” [ Huey, F. B. (1993). Jeremiah, Lamentations (Vol. 16, p. 473). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.]
God’s grace is sufficient
2 Corinthians 12:5–10 (ESV) — 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— 6 though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
The Rescue from Spiritual Discouragement: The Salvation of the LORD (24-27)
– The LORD is his portion and inheritance
3:25–27 Each of the verses in this triad begins with “good” (ṭōb) in the MT. The Hebrew word has a broad range of meaning: practical or material good, abstract goodness such as beauty, and moral good. This word is the same used in Gen 1:1–2:4, where the creation is described as being “good.” It may be understood here in the sense of God’s re-creating Israel after the destruction of Jerusalem (cf. the destruction of the world and the re-creation of it in Gen 6–9). Lamentations 3:25–27 reveals some qualities of genuine faith: (1) belief in God’s goodness to those who trust in him; (2) confidently and without complaint waiting for God’s help; and (3) willingness to accept hardship and testing, knowing that they strengthen faith. Those who truly trust in the Lord do not complain or despair even when in trouble (cf. Pss 34:9; 86:5; Isa 30:15; Matt 11:28–30). Those who learn in youth to bear suffering are better prepared for the hardships that may come in old age. [ Huey, F. B. (1993). Jeremiah, Lamentations (Vol. 16, p. 474). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.]
Habakkuk 3:17–19 (ESV) — 17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.
- Why is the author so downcast? What has happened?
- How does the author get out of the rut?
- Does God promise to remove trials and tribulations from our lives?
- Describe several reasons why God would allow thorns in the flesh in our own lives:
- How is God’s grace sufficient?
- How is God still good in the midst of trials?
- Are our trials permanent? When will they cease?
- Describe some ways where you need to call God’s promises to mind and where you need to wait on the LORD:
- Identify a person or more who could use an encouraging word and commit to pray for them and encourage them in the LORD.
© 2014, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.