November 11, 2007

Lamentations 3-5 - Rivers of Tears

From today's Bible reading:

Lamentations 3:

I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath;
he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light;
surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long.

He has made my flesh and my skin waste away;
he has broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead of long ago.

He is a bear lying in wait for me, a lion in hiding;
he turned aside my steps and tore me to pieces;
he has made me desolate;
he bent his bow and set me as a target for his arrow.

He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes;
my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, My endurance has perished;
so has my hope from the LORD.

Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

My soul: The LORD is my portion, therefore I will hope in him.

The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.

Let him sit alone in silence
when it is laid on him;
let him put his mouth in the dust—
there may yet be hope;
let him give his cheek to the one who strikes,
and let him be filled with insults.

(Similar to Jesus saying turn the other cheek.)

To crush underfoot
all the prisoners of the earth,
to deny a man justice
in the presence of the Most High,
to subvert a man in his lawsuit,
the Lord does not approve.

Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?

Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?

(Did God create evil?)

Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins?

You have wrapped yourself with anger and pursued us, killing without pity;
you have wrapped yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can pass through.
You have made us scum and garbage among the peoples.

All our enemies open their mouths against us;
panic and pitfall have come upon us, devastation and destruction;
my eyes flow with rivers of tears because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.

I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, Do not close your ear to my cry for help!
You came near when I called on you; you said, Do not fear!

You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life.
You have seen the wrong done to me, O LORD; judge my cause.
You have seen all their vengeance, all their plots against me.

Lamentations 4:

How the gold has grown dim,
how the pure gold is changed!

Happier were the victims of the sword
than the victims of hunger,
who wasted away, pierced
by lack of the fruits of the field.

The hands of compassionate women
have boiled their own children;
they became their food
during the destruction of the daughter of my people.

The LORD gave full vent to his wrath;
he poured out his hot anger,
and he kindled a fire in Zion
that consumed its foundations.

The kings of the earth did not believe,
nor any of the inhabitants of the world,
that foe or enemy could enter
the gates of Jerusalem.

(They thought Jerusalem was impenetrable.)

This was for the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests,
who shed in the midst of her the blood of the righteous.

They dogged our steps
so that we could not walk in our streets;
our end drew near; our days were numbered,
for our end had come.

The breath of our nostrils, the LORD's anointed, was captured in their pits,
of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the nations.

The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter of Zion, is accomplished;
he will keep you in exile no longer;
but your iniquity, O daughter of Edom, he will punish;
he will uncover your sins.

Lamentations 5:

Remember, O LORD, what has befallen us; look, and see our disgrace!

Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners.

Slaves rule over us;
there is none to deliver us from their hand.

Our skin is hot as an oven
with the burning heat of famine.

Princes are hung up by their hands;
no respect is shown to the elders.

(They get no respect.)

The old men have left the city gate,
the young men their music.

The joy of our hearts has ceased;
our dancing has been turned to mourning.

The crown has fallen from our head;
woe to us, for we have sinned!

But you, O LORD, reign forever;
your throne endures to all generations.

Why do you forget us forever,
why do you forsake us for so many days?

Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored!
Renew our days as of old—unless you have utterly rejected us,
and you remain exceedingly angry with us.

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