Lamentations 3

* The faithful lament their calamities, and hope in God's

mercies.

1-20 The prophet relates the more gloomy and discouraging part

of his experience, and how he found support and relief. In the

time of his trial the Lord had become terrible to him. It was an

affliction that was misery itself; for sin makes the cup of

affliction a bitter cup. The struggle between unbelief and faith

is often very severe. But the weakest believer is wrong, if he

thinks that his strength and hope are perished from the Lord.
21-36 Having stated his distress and temptation, the prophet

shows how he was raised above it. Bad as things are, it is owing

to the mercy of God that they are not worse. We should observe

what makes for us, as well as what is against us. God's

compassions fail not; of this we have fresh instances every

morning. Portions on earth are perishing things, but God is a

portion for ever. It is our duty, and will be our comfort and

satisfaction, to hope and quietly to wait for the salvation of

the Lord. Afflictions do and will work very much for good: many

have found it good to bear this yoke in their youth; it has made

many humble and serious, and has weaned them from the world, who

otherwise would have been proud and unruly. If tribulation work

patience, that patience will work experience, and that

experience a hope that makes not ashamed. Due thoughts of the

evil of sin, and of our own sinfulness, will convince us that it

is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed. If we cannot say

with unwavering voice, The Lord is my portion; may we not say, I

desire to have Him for my portion and salvation, and in his word

do I hope? Happy shall we be, if we learn to receive affliction

as laid upon us by the hand of God.
37-41 While there is life there is hope; and instead of

complaining that things are bad, we should encourage ourselves

with the hope they will be better. We are sinful men, and what

we complain of, is far less than our sins deserve. We should

complain to God, and not of him. We are apt, in times of

calamity, to reflect on other people's ways, and blame them; but

our duty is to search and try our own ways, that we may turn

from evil to God. Our hearts must go with our prayers. If inward

impressions do not answer to outward expressions, we mock God,

and deceive ourselves.
42-54 The more the prophet looked on the desolations, the more

he was grieved. Here is one word of comfort. While they

continued weeping, they continued waiting; and neither did nor

would expect relief and succour from any but the Lord.
55-66 Faith comes off conqueror, for in these verses the

prophet concludes with some comfort. Prayer is the breath of the

new man, drawing in the air of mercy in petitions, and returning

it in praises; it proves and maintains the spiritual life. He

silenced their fears, and quieted their spirits. Thou saidst,

Fear not. This was the language of God's grace, by the witness

of his Spirit with their spirits. And what are all our sorrows,

compared with those of the Redeemer? He will deliver his people

from every trouble, and revive his church from every

persecution. He will save believers with everlasting salvation,

while his enemies perish with everlasting destruction.
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