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Lamentations 5. As the Bible says:

Chapter Contents

The Jewish nation begging for divine favor. The Poet begins this chapter by begging God to remember what happened to the people of Jerusalem. Is it likely that he will forget? Just in case, here’s a little summary.

The city and the people are in total disgrace. This is the Promised Land that God gave to their ancestors in the Book of Joshua. Now, a bunch of random Babylonians live there. The children of Israel are orphans. They have no parents. Women are widows. The whole family structure is basically gone.

People don’t even have access to the basics they need to survive. They risk their lives to get bread. They have to pay other nations for wood and water to drink. Even the slaves are higher up the social ladder than they are. Jewish princes are humiliated. Young women are raped in the city. Young men are forced to work as slaves. And no one respects their elders. There goes the social order out the window.

People had crowns on their heads, but God took them away immediately because of all the bad things they had done. Now everyone realizes what their sins have cost them. The good news is that God will be in charge forever. He will always be on the cosmic throne.

For the first time in the book, the Poet asks God, “Why has He completely forgotten us? Why has He abandoned us all these days?” That’s really a very good question. The Poet prays to God to do things right again. He asks God to let people return to their good graces.

He really hopes that God will do this. Unless, of course, God has decided that he wants nothing to do with the people of Judah anymore. Perhaps he will never stop being angry with them and it is too late for reconciliation. It ends here. We cannot see how it all turns out, at least in this book.

Commentary on Lamentations 5: 1-16

Is there anyone afflicted? Let him pray; and in prayer let him pour out his complaint to God. God’s people do it here; they do not complain about the feared evils, but about the evils they feel. If penitent and patient under what we suffer for the sins of our fathers, we may hope that He who punishes will return in mercy to us. They acknowledge, Woe to us that we have sinned! All our problems are due to our own sin and folly. 

Although our sins and the just displeasure of God cause our sufferings, we can hope in His forgiving mercy, His sanctifying grace, and His gracious providence. But the sins of a man’s whole life will finally be punished with vengeance, unless he takes an interest in the One who discovered our sins in his own body on the tree.

Commentary on Lamentations 5: 17-22

The people of God express a deep concern for the ruins of the temple, more than for any other of its calamities. But whatever changes there may be on earth, God remains the same, and he remains forever wise and holy, just and good; with him there is no variation or shadow of turning.

They pray fervently to God for mercy and grace; turn us to you, O Lord. God never leaves any until they leave him first; if he gives them to him in a form of duty, he will surely return to them quickly in a form of mercy. If God by his grace renews our hearts, he will by his grace renew our days. Trouble may make our hearts faint and our eyes grow weak, but the way to the mercy seat of our reconciled God is open. 

Let us, in all our trials, place all our trust in his mercy; let us confess our sins and pour out our hearts before him. Let us observe repulsions and discouragement; for surely we know that it will be alright in the end with all trust, fear, love, and service to the Lord.

Are not the judgments of the Lord on earth the same as in the days of Jeremiah? May Zion be remembered by us in our prayers, and may his welfare be sought above all earthly joy. Forgive, O Lord, forgive your people, and do not reproach your inheritance, that the heathen may rule over it.

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