Monday, January 21, 2013


I enjoy reading Matthew Henry’s commentary after I’ve read a verse. Though generations have passed, we often see the same message.  I was looking up Lamentations 3:23 after seeing it applied in another’s comments, wanting to see it in context. That third chapter starts with complaints (not laments, but complaints!), and Henry wrote:
The title of the 102nd Psalm might very fitly be prefixed to this chapter - The prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and pours out his complaint before the Lord;
Yep – we are not alone when we feel completely overwhelmed, either by people or events, certain that we are doing what God has in mind and they simply are not listening! Do we complain to them? Not hardly – we complain to and about God.

So many of that third chapter’s verses begin with “He hath …” and follow with an example of what God did not do to help or did do to hinder the people.

Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day. (Lamentations 3:3 KJV)

I heard a loved one say that God hadn’t given him anything, that he had worked for it all. A few sentences later he stated that they never seemed to get ahead. Every time they took a step forward, there was something that went wrong. Sounds as though the man who authored Lamentations 3 would have agreed with those sentiments.

He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood. (Lamentations 3:15 KJV)

Even in the midst of this lamenting what is happening, Jeremiah does not forget God’s existence:

And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. (Lamentations 3:18-19 KJV)

Eventually, he acknowledges and accepts God’s sovereignty:

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. (Lamentations 3:20-22 KJV)

The next verse not only offers hope, it’s the foundation for one of my favorite hymns:

They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:23 KJV)

The verses turn from lamenting God’s lack of attention (or amount of correcting attention) to praising Him:

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. (Lamentations 3:24-26 KJV)

Oh, do we ever have problems quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord?! I can only speak for myself when I say I mostly want it RIGHT NOW!! If it’s coming, why wait?

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. (Lamentations 3:27-28 KJV)

Instead of continuing a litany of what God has or hasn’t done that we want, we need to look around for the lesson to be learned. That is better done in our youth rather than in later years – giving us much more time to better serve His purposes.

And, that’s less than half the chapter!!

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