Lamentations is always a hard book to get into – especially because I listen to my Bible as I walk instead of sitting down and reading it. So, I’m out in the bright, sunshiny morning, and am basically listening to what amounts to a funeral dirge for the entire city of Jerusalem, the people of Israel, and the heart of the prophet Jeremiah.
The Hebrew word for lamentations is eychah (אֵיכָ֣ה) which means, “Alas! How!” It is also the first word in the book. “Alas! How lonely sits the city so once full of people.”
By the time Jeremiah wrote Lamentations, he’d gotten the vision from God about the destruction of the city, warned the populace about it, was arrested, beaten, ostracized — and then witnessed everything he’d warned would happen.
Lamentions was written as he lamented in his very heart and soul everything that happened. It’s a crying out – think clothes torn, sobbing on your face.
Chapter 3 begins with, “I am the strong man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath. He has driven me and made me walk in darkness and not light.”
It goes on to explain how horrible and bitter it all was, the hardship, how God shut out his prayer, the desolation thereof.
And yet, in the midst of all of that, are these beautiful words of promise:
This I recall to my mind,Lamentations 3:22-26
Therefore I have hope.
Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.
I stopped walked when I heard this and rewound to re-listen to the chapter, at the simple profoundness of the words. Even in the midst of desolation, Jeremiah is reminding us of the hope we have in God and the promised salvation. Looking back through history, we’re able to see the promise of salvation fulfilled in the life of Christ, and it’s almost like you want to go back in time and hug Jeremiah and let him know that his faith was not in vain and his hope was fulfilled.
His compassions fail not, my friends, therefore I hope in Him.