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Day 184 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Lamentations.
Lamentations 3 – Chapter 3 stands not only as the center of the book but as the heart of its theology. There is a progression from the poet’s personal expression of grief and admission of guilt to a focus on the Lord’s mercy and faithfulness. Then follows a community lament, and a return to contemplating God’s mercy.
In this first section it is as if the poet has accepted upon himself the weight of Judah’s guilt. He has personalized the problem to the extent that the faithlessness of Judah and its idolatry are his own (Romans 9:1–3; 10:1). He echoes the role of the servant of the Lord in Isaiah (Isaiah 42:1–4; 49:1–6; 50:4–9; 52:13–53:12). Both foreshadow the truly sinless servant of the Lord who was made sin for us, so that “in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
In verse 18 the author seems to have simply given up both in endurance and in hope. But then hope revives in verse 21. His lamenting has had a cathartic effect. Grief is important even for Believers, but with this understanding: we should not grieve as those without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). And here hope is reborn out of grief; the basis of this hope is the steadfast covenant love of God. God is indeed rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4), and His mercies are ever new.
Hope is a much-devalued word in our time, often expressing our desire for an uncertain outcome. In the Bible it is a strong word to express certainty in God’s future provision based on His truth and faithfulness (Romans 5:3–5; Galatians 5:5; Ephesians 1:18–23; 1 Thessalonians 5:8–11; Titus 2:13–14; 3:4–7).
Though God has cast His people off, He will not do so forever. “Steadfast love” translates the Hebrew word hesed, which links God’s love to His covenant faithfulness. This covenant was never conditioned on human faithfulness, and it leads straight to the new covenant established solely by the sovereign mercy of God and ultimately sealed in Jesus’ blood (Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25). God will never cast His people off, because He did cast off his own Son in their place (Romans 8:32).
The poet exhorts the people to return to covenant faithfulness before revisiting his grief over the present devastation. Finally, hope is revived and the Lord is extolled not as the enemy but as Savior and Redeemer. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
The rescue God ultimately provides for His sinful people reminds us that the real enemies of God’s people are Satan, sin, and death, which are overthrown by Jesus’ death on the cross (Luke 10:17–18; Romans 6:6–14, 23; Romans 8:37–39; Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 15:50–58; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Revelation 12:7–11).
How does this chapter remind you of the sure hope we have in our future based on God’s character?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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