Studying the Hard Questions | 06
Read or listen to Lamentations 3.
I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of God’s wrath.
He has driven me away and forced me to walk
in darkness instead of light.
Yes, he repeatedly turns his hand
against me all day long.
He has worn away my flesh and skin;
he has broken my bones.
He has laid siege against me,
encircling me with bitterness and hardship.
He has made me dwell in darkness
like those who have been dead for ages.
He has walled me in so I cannot get out;
he has weighed me down with chains.
Even when I cry out and plead for help,
he blocks out my prayer.
He has walled in my ways with blocks of stone;
he has made my paths crooked.
He is a bear waiting in ambush,
a lion in hiding.
He forced me off my way and tore me to pieces;
he left me desolate.
He strung his bow
and set me as the target for his arrow.
He pierced my kidneys
with shafts from his quiver.
I am a laughingstock to all my people,
mocked by their songs all day long.
He filled me with bitterness,
satiated me with wormwood.
He ground my teeth with gravel
and made me cower in the dust.
I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.
Then I thought, “My future is lost,
as well as my hope from the Lord.”
Remember my affliction and my homelessness,
the wormwood and the poison.
I continually remember them
and have become depressed.
Yet I call this to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for his mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness!
I say, “The Lord is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the person who seeks him.
It is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is still young.
Let him sit alone and be silent,
for God has disciplined him.
Let him put his mouth in the dust—
perhaps there is still hope.
Let him offer his cheek
to the one who would strike him;
let him be filled with disgrace.
For the Lord
will not reject us forever.
Even if he causes suffering,
he will show compassion
according to the abundance of his faithful love.
For he does not enjoy bringing affliction
or suffering on mankind.
Crushing all the prisoners of the land
beneath one’s feet,
denying justice to a man
in the presence of the Most High,
or subverting a person in his lawsuit—
the Lord does not approve of these things.
Who is there who speaks and it happens,
unless the Lord has ordained it?
Do not both adversity and good
come from the mouth of the Most High?
Why should any living person complain,
any man, because of the punishment for his sins?
Let’s examine and probe our ways,
and turn back to the Lord.
Let’s lift up our hearts and our hands
to God in heaven:
“We have sinned and rebelled;
you have not forgiven.
“You have covered yourself in anger and pursued us;
you have killed without compassion.
You have covered yourself with a cloud
so that no prayer can get through.
You have made us disgusting filth
among the peoples.
“All our enemies
open their mouths against us.
We have experienced panic and pitfall,
devastation and destruction.”
My eyes flow with streams of tears
because of the destruction of my dear people.
My eyes overflow unceasingly,
until the Lord looks down
from heaven and sees.
My eyes bring me grief
because of the fate of all the women in my city.
For no reason, my enemies
hunted me like a bird.
They smothered my life in a pit
and threw stones on me.
Water flooded over my head,
and I thought, “I’m going to die!”
I called on your name, Lord,
from the depths of the pit.
You heard my plea:
Do not ignore my cry for relief.
You came near whenever I called you;
you said, “Do not be afraid.”
You championed my cause, Lord;
you redeemed my life.
Lord, you saw the wrong done to me;
judge my case.
You saw all their vengefulness,
all their plots against me.
Lord, you heard their insults,
all their plots against me.
The slander and murmuring of my opponents
attack me all day long.
When they sit and when they rise, look,
I am mocked by their songs.
You will pay them back what they deserve, Lord,
according to the work of their hands.
You will give them a heart filled with anguish.
May your curse be on them!
You will pursue them in anger and destroy them
under your heavens.
The written Scripture is CSB, however, the audio Scripture is ESV.
After reading the brutal honesty of the writer, what can we learn from this passage that could impact our own prayers? What hope does the writer hang on to?
Our Lord desires to transform us by the renewing of our minds. Thank God for his self-revelation. Ask him to increase your understanding and awareness of his wisdom and kindness as revealed in Scripture.