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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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Pastor's Pen - August 29, 2007
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August 29, 2007

Lamentations 3:37-5:22
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Lamentations
Chapter 3
  1. Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?
  2. Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?
  3. Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?
  4. Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.
  5. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.
  6. We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned.
  7. Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied.
  8. Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.
  9. Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people.
  10. All our enemies have opened their mouths against us.
  11. Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction.
  12. Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people.
  13. Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission,
  14. Till the LORD look down, and behold from heaven.
  15. Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.
  16. Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without cause.
  17. They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me.
  18. Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off.
  19. I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon.
  20. Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry.
  21. Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not.
  22. O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.
  23. O LORD, thou hast seen my wrong: judge thou my cause.
  24. Thou hast seen all their vengeance and all their imaginations against me.
  25. Thou hast heard their reproach, O LORD, and all their imaginations against me;
  26. The lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day.
  27. Behold their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their musick.
  28. Render unto them a recompence, O LORD, according to the work of their hands.
  29. Give them sorrow of heart, thy curse unto them.
  30. Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of the LORD.


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Lamentations
Chapter 4
  1. How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street.
  2. The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!
  3. Even the sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.
  4. The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them.
  5. They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills.
  6. For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her.
  7. Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire:
  8. Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.
  9. They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field.
  10. The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people.
  11. The LORD hath accomplished his fury; he hath poured out his fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof.
  12. The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem.
  13. For the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her,
  14. They have wandered as blind men in the streets, they have polluted themselves with blood, so that men could not touch their garments.
  15. They cried unto them, Depart ye; it is unclean; depart, depart, touch not: when they fled away and wandered, they said among the heathen, They shall no more sojourn there.
  16. The anger of the LORD hath divided them; he will no more regard them: they respected not the persons of the priests, they favoured not the elders.
  17. As for us, our eyes as yet failed for our vain help: in our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save us.
  18. They hunt our steps, that we cannot go in our streets: our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is come.
  19. Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the heaven: they pursued us upon the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness.
  20. The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD, was taken in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the heathen.
  21. Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz; the cup also shall pass through unto thee: thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make thyself naked.
  22. The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry thee away into captivity: he will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will discover thy sins.


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Lamentations
Chapter 5
  1. Remember, O LORD, what is come upon us: consider, and behold our reproach.
  2. Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens.
  3. We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows.
  4. We have drunken our water for money; our wood is sold unto us.
  5. Our necks are under persecution: we labour, and have no rest.
  6. We have given the hand to the Egyptians, and to the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread.
  7. Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities.
  8. Servants have ruled over us: there is none that doth deliver us out of their hand.
  9. We gat our bread with the peril of our lives because of the sword of the wilderness.
  10. Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine.
  11. They ravished the women in Zion, and the maids in the cities of Judah.
  12. Princes are hanged up by their hand: the faces of elders were not honoured.
  13. They took the young men to grind, and the children fell under the wood.
  14. The elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their musick.
  15. The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning.
  16. The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!
  17. For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim.
  18. Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it.
  19. Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation.
  20. Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, and forsake us so long time?
  21. Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.
  22. But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us.


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Thought for the day:
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 There are three verses in Lamentations 3 that stand out to me from today's reading. These three appear within a span of four verses, and they all deal with the eye. They state,

"Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission... Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city" (48-49, 51).

 The first two verses carry with them the same general idea. Jeremiah's observations of the destruction of Jerusalem move him to tears. According to verse 48 he is not just tearing up, but weeping rivers of water. The following verse indicates that he never stops, but continuously cries for his people. We have referred to Jeremiah earlier in this study as being the "weeping prophet", and here we see the reason for that title. He does not simply stand by as a passive observer, and he certainly does not preach a message of "I told you so." His is not even a demeanor of open-mouthed horror. It is a genuine burden for the loss that his family, friends, and nation are suffering.

 I wonder how long it has been since we wept over the heartaches and griefs of others? When we see others struggle with burdens, do we care at all? Do we stand by and think to ourselves, "I'm sure glad that isn't me", but do nothing to help alleviate the problem? When we see people who are struck down because of sin, do we bad-mouth them and further condemn them, or do we weep because their sin has brought them to this point? We talk about people's problems, and we may even pray about people's problems, but do we get so emotionally involved with them that we cry over them? Romans 12:15 commands the believer,

"Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."
We all enjoy sharing a good laugh with a fellow church member, but when was the last time we had a good cry with the same fellow? Perhaps this is because we really don't have the right kind of love for others. We tend to distance ourselves from the grieving soul, and while we may stop by for a moment and say the "right thing", as soon as we have left his presence we are back to our own lives and our friend's need is often forgotten. We need to develop compassion and pity towards our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 Another area of emotional concern would be towards the lost. Psalm 126:5 tells us,

"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy."
Here we see the burden of the believer for the unbeliever. The lost man is in sin and rebellion against God, yet the Christian weeps over him because he realizes what the end result will be for that man if he doesn't get saved. How long has it been since you were so burdened for an unsaved family member or co-worker that you that you wept when you prayed for them? Have you ever been so consumed with their spiritual need that you cried as you shared the Gospel with them? Perhaps this explains why our soul-winning efforts seem so stagnant. Some folks will only respond to the message of salvation when compassion is shown (Jude 1:22). Perhaps we need to ask why we are so cold towards the plight of the ungodly, as well as to that of our brothers in Christ.

 In verse 51 Jeremiah says,

"Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city."
His burdened heart was causing him to weep, but at the same time that which his eye was beholding was weighing heavily upon his heart. He could not observe the catastrophic conditions around him and not have it affect him. Once again I believe that we as Christians can often not make the same claim about ourselves, at least not in the way that Jeremiah meant it. Obviously, everything that we see impacts us in some way. Those who spend their time looking at material goods will find themselves lusting after them. Those who find themselves looking at inappropriate material will find themselves lusting after the same. However, we often find that Christians can see the degradation and sinfulness of the world, and not be impacted enough to share the Gospel with those around them. They see people in grief, and yet they turn away. May God help us to see what is going on around us, allow that vision to impact our hearts, and then go forth filled with compassion for those in need, prepared to do whatever it takes to meet that need.

Pastor Mark J Montgomery

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