Summary: These are readings through the book of Lamentations. A look at chapter three.
Letters Of Lament – Thoughts From Chapter Three
INTRODUCTION: There are times when we all lament – or need to lament. There are times when we have walked down the wrong path – and have found at the end of it – a dead end. At the end of the road we cry out, “What have I done? How could I have been so foolish? How could I have been so stupid? How could I have NOT listened to my Father and followed His advice?” As you reach the dead end – you look back and reflect of what you have done to get you to that lifeless spot. You cry out in your desperation – you cry out in your foolishness – you cry out in your sorrow. The book of Lamentations is a book of crying out. In this chapter we find great truths – A God of justice – and A God of mercy.
I. A God of Justice – The Wrath of God
v. 1 - I am the man who has seen affliction Because of the rod of His wrath.
v. 2 - He has driven me and made me walk In darkness and not in light.
v. 3 - Surely against me He has turned His hand Repeatedly all the day.
v. 4 - He has caused my flesh and my skin to waste away, He has broken my bones.
v. 5 - He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship.
v. 6 - In dark places He has made me dwell, Like those who have long been dead.
v. 7 - He has walled me in so that I cannot go out; He has made my chain heavy.
v. 8 - Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer.
v. 9 - He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked.
v. 10 - He is to me like a bear lying in wait, Like a lion in secret places.
v. 11 - He has turned aside my ways and torn me to pieces; He has made me desolate.
v. 12 - He bent His bow And set me as a target for the arrow.
v. 13 - He made the arrows of His quiver To enter into my inward parts.
v. 14 - I have become a laughingstock to all my people, Their mocking song all the day.
v. 15 - He has filled me with bitterness, He has made me drunk with wormwood.
v. 16 - And He has broken my teeth with gravel; He has made me cower in the dust.
v. 17 - And my soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness.
Lamentations 3:1-17 (NASV)
A few weeks ago I heard a fellow minister tell a story of how we picture God in our modern time. He said it like going to a fair or a carnival – and at that fair you will find people getting their pictures drawn by an artist. But something is just not right. The artist is drawing a caricature and not a true picture of the person. You know what a caricature is – it is where the artist overemphasis one or two aspects of the person’s face. The artist will exaggerate one or two facial qualities and neglect others. It may be large ears, nose, eyes or any other aspect of the model. The minister went on to say – we do that with God. In our culture – in our time – we have over emphasized the love of God and have ignored the justice and wrath of God. But the Bible does not ignore these characters and aspects of God. Lamentations chapter three – points out that God hates sin and His wrath is directly aimed at it.
God is always a God of Justice. When it says in verse one that I am a man of affliction – it is because I deserve it. I have traveled down a road that leads to a dead end. I have seen the warning signs – they were clearly marked – yet I ignored them. How could I have been so stupid? How could I have been so foolish? Yet – I was. Now the time has arrived – I will reap what I have sown. For His rod – God’s rob – the husband of the bride’s rob – is upon me. This is not abuse – this is justice. God never abuses anyone – there is mercy and grace – but there is also justice – given out fairly and equitably. God does not abuse. He who knows all things judges the hearts of man.
God’s Punishment is Severe
1. God has driven me into the darkness – where there is not a hint of light.