August 28, 2007
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Following Scripture Verses
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- How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!
- She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.
- Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits.
- The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness.
- Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the LORD hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy.
- And from the daughter of Zion all her beauty is departed: her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, and they are gone without strength before the pursuer.
- Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths.
- Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward.
- Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembereth not her last end; therefore she came down wonderfully: she had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified himself.
- The adversary hath spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things: for she hath seen that the heathen entered into her sanctuary, whom thou didst command that they should not enter into thy congregation.
- All her people sigh, they seek bread; they have given their pleasant things for meat to relieve the soul: see, O LORD, and consider; for I am become vile.
- Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.
- From above hath he sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them: he hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: he hath made me desolate and faint all the day.
- The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: they are wreathed, and come up upon my neck: he hath made my strength to fall, the Lord hath delivered me into their hands, from whom I am not able to rise up.
- The Lord hath trodden under foot all my mighty men in the midst of me: he hath called an assembly against me to crush my young men: the Lord hath trodden the virgin, the daughter of Judah, as in a winepress.
- For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed.
- Zion spreadeth forth her hands, and there is none to comfort her: the LORD hath commanded concerning Jacob, that his adversaries should be round about him: Jerusalem is as a menstruous woman among them.
- The LORD is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment: hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow: my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity.
- I called for my lovers, but they deceived me: my priests and mine elders gave up the ghost in the city, while they sought their meat to relieve their souls.
- Behold, O LORD; for I am in distress: my bowels are troubled; mine heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled: abroad the sword bereaveth, at home there is as death.
- They have heard that I sigh: there is none to comfort me: all mine enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that thou hast done it: thou wilt bring the day that thou hast called, and they shall be like unto me.
- Let all their wickedness come before thee; and do unto them, as thou hast done unto me for all my transgressions: for my sighs are many, and my heart is faint.
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- How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger, and cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger!
- The Lord hath swallowed up all the habitations of Jacob, and hath not pitied: he hath thrown down in his wrath the strong holds of the daughter of Judah; he hath brought them down to the ground: he hath polluted the kingdom and the princes thereof.
- He hath cut off in his fierce anger all the horn of Israel: he hath drawn back his right hand from before the enemy, and he burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devoureth round about.
- He hath bent his bow like an enemy: he stood with his right hand as an adversary, and slew all that were pleasant to the eye in the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion: he poured out his fury like fire.
- The Lord was as an enemy: he hath swallowed up Israel, he hath swallowed up all her palaces: he hath destroyed his strong holds, and hath increased in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation.
- And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest.
- The Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath abhorred his sanctuary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; they have made a noise in the house of the LORD, as in the day of a solemn feast.
- The LORD hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: he hath stretched out a line, he hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: therefore he made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together.
- Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the LORD.
- The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground, and keep silence: they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth: the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.
- Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city.
- They say to their mothers, Where is corn and wine? when they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when their soul was poured out into their mothers' bosom.
- What thing shall I take to witness for thee? what thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? what shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? for thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee?
- Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment.
- All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?
- All thine enemies have opened their mouth against thee: they hiss and gnash the teeth: they say, We have swallowed her up: certainly this is the day that we looked for; we have found, we have seen it.
- The LORD hath done that which he had devised; he hath fulfilled his word that he had commanded in the days of old: he hath thrown down, and hath not pitied: and he hath caused thine enemy to rejoice over thee, he hath set up the horn of thine adversaries.
- Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease.
- Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street.
- Behold, O LORD, and consider to whom thou hast done this. Shall the women eat their fruit, and children of a span long? shall the priest and the prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord?
- The young and the old lie on the ground in the streets: my virgins and my young men are fallen by the sword; thou hast slain them in the day of thine anger; thou hast killed, and not pitied.
- Thou hast called as in a solemn day my terrors round about, so that in the day of the LORD'S anger none escaped nor remained: those that I have swaddled and brought up hath mine enemy consumed.
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- I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.
- He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light.
- Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day.
- My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones.
- He hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail.
- He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old.
- He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy.
- Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer.
- He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone, he hath made my paths crooked.
- He was unto me as a bear lying in wait, and as a lion in secret places.
- He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces: he hath made me desolate.
- He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow.
- He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins.
- I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day.
- He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood.
- He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes.
- And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity.
- And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD:
- Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.
- My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.
- This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
- It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
- They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
- The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
- The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
- It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
- It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
- He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.
- He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope.
- He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach.
- For the Lord will not cast off for ever:
- But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.
- For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.
- To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth,
- To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High,
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Thought for the day:
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The book of Lamentations was written by Jeremiah, who was known as the "weeping prophet". This book is a series of "laments", almost like funeral dirges, that were composed concerning the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The first two verses of the book speak immediately to Judah's plight. The city which used to be thronged with people is now "solitary". It has become like a "widow", bereaved of husband, children, and prosperity. It has become a city that pays tribute to others, as opposed to being a great city in and of itself. It is full of weeping, for it has been abandoned by "lovers" and abused and betrayed by "friends". Those who pass by the city see a place of sorrows such as has never been seen before (1:12). Truly these words describe a pitiful situation which has befallen the Jews because of their sin.
In chapter 3, Jeremiah either speaks to his own situation, or speaks as the representative of the people as a whole. Either way, the condition he describes is terrible. He uses terms such as "affliction" (1), "darkness" (2), "old" and "broken" (4), "gall" and "travail" (5), "heavy" (7), "shut out" (8), "crooked" (9), and "desolate" (11). These are difficult times for Judah; more difficult then we can imagine. It is a time of grief and pain. Yet in the middle of chapter 3, the theme of Jeremiah's words changes. In the midst of a seemly hopeless situation, he states,
"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope," (21).
How can there be hope in such bleak circumstances? How can there be hope in a God Who has allowed these devastating events to occur? Jeremiah is quick to give the answer:
"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness," (22-23).
The prophet realizes that in spite of the problems that he has, he is still alive. In spite of the chastening hand of God, Judah will someday be restored. They could easily have been obliterated off the world map and from the annals of history, but God in His great love and mercy didn't allow that to happen. This leads us to an important truth: no matter what heartaches befall us, the Lord has been gracious in not allowing it to be worse. If I lose my health, I could have lost my life. If I lose one family member, I could have lost them all. If I lose my job, I could have lost everything I own. Why didn't anything worse happen? Because of the mercies of the Lord. His mercy and grace never run out. His love never ends, for He IS love (I John 4:8), and thus He renews His mercy to us everyday. He is a faithful God, and will always treat us in a compassionate way.
This leads Jeremiah to his comments in verses 24-26. There he writes,
"The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD."
Knowing that God is compassionate, merciful, and faithful should motivate me to make Him my Everything. It should motivate me to trust Him, for I can clearly see how He has kept His promises to me. It should make me willing to quietly wait upon Him, for I know that He will act in a merciful and loving manner towards me. I don't need to get bitter against the Lord, nor do I need to question His righteous judgments. No matter what has transpired, nor the reason why it has transpired, the Lord is doing what is best for me, and He is behaving in a merciful, compassionate, and faithful way towards me. Therefore, I can trust in Him, and wait for Him, because He will do what is right.
Pastor Mark J Montgomery