A lamentation is an expression of sorrow, grief, and regret. God warned His people for 861 years that He would have to deal with their disobedience and idolatry. They refused his warnings for 861 years. For their good, He let another nation capture them and take them as slaves.
1 How the city sits alone that was full of people; she that was great among the nations and princess among the provinces, she has become as a widow, she become a tribute-payer. 2 She weeps greatly in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she has none to comfort her. All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they have become her enemies. 3 Judah has gone into captivity under affliction and harsh servitude: she dwells among the heathen, she finds no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits. 4 The roads of Zion are in mourning without any going to her appointed feasts: all her gates are deserted: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness.
The Lord afflicts for the multitude of transgressions
5 Her adversaries have become her master, her enemies prosper; for the LORD has afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children have gone into captivity before the enemy. 6 All her splendor has departed from the daughter of Zion: her princes have become like deer that find no pasture, and they have gone without strength before the pursuer. 7 In the days of her affliction and homelessness Jerusalem remembers all her precious things that were in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none helped her: the adversaries saw her, and mocked her sabbaths. 8 Jerusalem has sinned utterly; therefore she is exiled: all that honored her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yes, she groans and turns backward. 9 Her filthiness is in her skirts; she did not remember her last end; therefore she has gone down astoundingly: she had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction: for the enemy has magnified himself. 10 The adversary has spread out his hand on all her pleasant things: for she has seen the heathen enter into her sanctuary, whom you commanded that they should not enter into your congregation. 11 All her people sigh, they seek bread; they have given their pleasant things for food to revive the soul: see, O LORD, and consider; for I have become vile.
- Deuteronomy 28, 29 give the blessings of obedience and the discipline for disobedience.
- Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
12 Is it nothing to you, all you that pass by? Look, and see if there be any sorrow like my sorrow, which is done to me, with which the LORD has afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger. 13 From above has he sent fire into my bones, and it prevails against them: he has spread a net for my feet, he has turned me back: he has made me desolate and faint all the day. 14 The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: they entwine, and come up on my neck: he has made my strength fail, the Lord has delivered me into their hands, from whom I am not able to rise up. 15 The Lord has trampled under foot all my mighty men in the midst of me: he has called an assembly against me to crush my young men: the Lord has trodden the virgin, the daughter of Judah, as in a winepress. 16 I weep for these things; my eyes, my eyes run down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed. 17 Zion spreads forth her hands, and there is none to comfort her: the LORD has commanded concerning Jacob, that his adversaries should be round about him: Jerusalem is as a menstrous woman among them.
- Menstruating women were put outside the camp during their ‘uncleanness.’
- Israel was put out of God’s land.
- All this disaster came upon them from God’s jealousy.
- Only those who love greatly are deeply jealous.
- God loves us deeply enough to send His Son to die for our sin so that we can be with Him.
- Exodus 34:14 For you shall worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
- 2Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God.
He is righteous
18 The LORD is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment: hear now, I beg you, all people, and behold my sorrow: my virgins and my young men have gone into captivity. 19 I called for my lovers, but they deceived me: my priests and my elders expired in the city, while they sought their food to revive their souls. 20 Behold, O LORD; for I am in distress: my inner being is troubled; my heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled: outside the sword bereaves and at home there is death. 21 They have heard that I sigh: there is none to comfort me: all my enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that you have done it: you will bring the day that you have called, and they will be like me. 22 Let all their wickedness come before you; and do to them, as you have done to me for all my transgressions: for my sighs are many, and my heart is faint.
- Deuteronomy 30:1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse that I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, where the LORD your God has driven you, 2 And shall return unto the LORD your God, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul; 3 Then the LORD your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the nations, where the LORD you God has scattered you.
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
1 How the Lord has covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger, and cast down from heaven to the earth the beauty of Israel, and did not remember his footstool in the day of his anger! 2 The Lord has swallowed up all the dwellings of Jacob, and has not pitied: he has thrown down in his wrath the strong holds of the daughter of Judah; he has brought them down to the ground: he has polluted the kingdom and its princes. 3 He has cut off in his fierce anger all the horn/power of Israel: he has drawn back his right hand from before the enemy, and he burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devours round about.
- Like the antlers of elk or the horn of the rhino or the tusks of the elephant, the horn symbolizes power.
The Lord hates His house being full of idols; He poured out His fury like fire
4 He has bent his bow like an enemy: he stood with his right hand as an adversary, and killed all that were pleasant to the eye in the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion: he poured out his fury like fire. 5 The Lord was like an enemy: he has swallowed up Israel, he has swallowed up all her palaces: he has destroyed his strong holds, and has increased in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation. 6 And he has violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he has destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD has caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and has despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest.
- 861 years God warned them to stay on the path of life and to stay away from idols.
- God gives life; idols bring evil and death.
- The choices the people made brought much evil and death.
- In faithfulness God did this to bring them back to Himself.
- 2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
7 The Lord has cast off his altar, he has abhorred his sanctuary, he has given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; they have made a noise in the house of the LORD, as in the day of a solemn feast. 8 The LORD has purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: he has stretched out a line, he has not withdrawn his hand from destroying: therefore he made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together. 9 Her gates are sunk into the ground; he has destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the LORD.
- Ezekiel 5:11 Therefore, as I live, says the Lord GOD; Surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things, and with all your abominations, therefore will I also diminish you; neither shall my eye spare, neither will I have any pity.
- Zechariah 2:5 For I, says the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.
10 The elders of the daughter of Zion sit on the ground, and keep silent: they have cast up dust on their heads; they have clothed themselves with sackcloth: the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground. 11 My eyes fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured on the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city. 12 They say to their mothers, Where is grain and wine? When they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when their soul was poured out into their mothers’ bosom.
- God takes the children to be with Him at death.
- 2Samuel 12:23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
13 What thing shall I take to witness for you? What thing shall I compare to you, O daughter of Jerusalem? What shall I equal to you, that I may comfort you, O virgin daughter of Zion? For your breach is great like the sea: who can heal you? 14 Your prophets have seen vain and foolish things for you: and they have not uncovered your iniquity, to turn away your captivity; but have seen for you false burdens and causes of banishment. 15 All that pass by clap their hands at you; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth? 16 All your enemies have opened their mouth against you: they hiss and gnash the teeth: they say, We have swallowed her up: certainly this is the day that we looked for; we have found, we have seen it. 17 The LORD has done that which he had devised; he has fulfilled his word that he had commanded in the days of old: he has thrown down, and has not pitied: and he has caused your enemy to rejoice over you, he has set up the horn/power of your adversaries. 18 Their heart cried to the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give yourself no rest; let not the daughter of your eye rest.
- It is foolish to disregard One smart enough and powerful enough to make the universe.
- All have sinned (Romans 3:23).
- The prophets were to speak God’s word.
- That shows man his sin so man could go to God to fix it.
- These prophets didn’t do it.
- Today, pastors fear people won’t come back to church if they preach sin, so they are doing the same thing.
- Knowledge of God is the solution.
- It turns away our captivity from sin---frees us, and if we don’t talk about sin, if we don’t expose it, we can never be free of it.
- The center of our sin is pride, lifting ourselves us on a par with God.
- Listening to the Word of God shows us who God is, who we are, and sets us where we belong.
19 Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up your hands toward him for the life of your young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street. 20 Behold, O LORD, and consider to whom you have done this. Shall the women eat their fruit, and children of a span long? Shall the priest and the prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord?
- Their ways were leading their children to eternal death.
21 The young and the old lie on the ground in the streets: my virgins and my young men are fallen by the sword; you have slain them in the day of your anger; you have killed, and not pitied. 22 You have called as in a solemn day my terrors round about, so that in the day of the LORD’s anger none escaped nor remained: those that I have swaddled and brought up my enemy has consumed.
- His anger burns at the ruin of lives.
- He made all to be blessed, but their choices brought judgment.
- He judges so that He may restore us to the place of blessing.
- Man cannot live in evil and be blessed by His Holy Maker.
- Deuteronomy 30:1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, where the LORD your God has driven you, 2 And shall return unto the LORD your God, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul; 3 That then the LORD your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion upon your, and will return and gather you from all the nations, where the LORD your God has scattered you.
1 I am the man that has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. 2 He has led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. 3 Surely he has turned against me; he turns his hand against me all the day. 4 My flesh and my skin has he made old; he has broken my bones. 5 He has built against me, and surrounded me with bitterness and pain. 6 He has set me in dark places, as they that are dead of old. 7 He has hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he has made my chain heavy. 8 Also when I cry and shout, he shuts out my prayer. 9 He has enclosed my ways with cut stone; he has made my paths crooked. 10 He was to me as a bear lying in wait, and as a lion in secret places. 11 He has turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces: he has made me desolate. 12 He has bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. 13 He has caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my inward parts. 14 I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day. 15 He has filled me with bitterness, he has made me drunk with wormwood. 16 He has also broken my teeth with gravel stones; he has trampled me in the ashes. 17 And you have removed my soul far from peace: I forgot good. 18 And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD.
- Sin and unrighteousness cause much pain, destruction, and ruin.
- God created everything good, good, and very good.
- He doesn’t want wrath. He doesn’t want to judge.
- Man’s choices bring it about because God is holy and man won’t listen and obey.
- Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that does not walkin the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law he meditates day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in his season; his leaf shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
- 2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
19 Remembering my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. 20 My soul has them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. 21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22 It is of the LORD’s love that we are not consumed, because his compassions do not fail. 23 They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness. 24 The LORD is my portion, said my soul; therefore I will hope in him. 25 The LORD is good to those that wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. 27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. 28 He sits alone and keeps silence, because he has borne it upon him. 29 He puts his mouth in the dust; if perhaps there is a hope. 30 He gives his cheek to him that strikes him: he is filled full with reproach.
He does not willingly afflict or grieve us
31 For the Lord will not cast off forever: 32 But though he causes grief, yet he will have compassion according to the multitude of his love. 33 For he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. 34 To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth, 35 To turn aside the justice of a man before the face of the most High, 36 To wrong a man in his cause, the Lord does not approve. 37 Who is he that says, and it comes to pass, when the Lord does not commands? 38 Out of the mouth of the most High does not proceeds evil and good? 39 Why does a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? 40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. 41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands to God in the heavens. 42 We have transgressed and have rebelled: you have not pardoned. 43 You have covered with anger, and persecuted us: you have slain, you have not pitied. 44 You have covered yourself with a cloud so that our prayer should not pass through. 45 You have made us as the off-scouring and refuse in the midst of the people. 46 All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. 47 Fear and a snare has come on us, desolation and destruction. 48 My eye runs down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. 49 My eye flows out and does not cease, without stopping, 50 Until the LORD looks down, and beholds from heaven. 51 What I see makes my breathing/soul painful because of all the daughters of my city. 52 My enemies hunted me like a bird, without cause. 53 They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me. 54 Waters flowed over my head; then I said, I am cut off. 55 I called on your name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon.
God hears our cry and draws near; He pleads our cause and redeems our life
56 You have heard my voice: do not hide your ear at my breathing, at my cry. 57 You drew near in the day that I called on you: you said, Do not fear. 58 O Lord, you have pleaded the causes of my soul; you have redeemed my life. 59 O LORD, you have seen my wrong: judge my cause. 60 You have seen all their vengeance and all their imaginations against me. 61 You have heard their reproach, O LORD, and all their imaginations against me; 62 The lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day. 63 Behold their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their music. 64 You will repay them, O LORD, according to the work of their hands. 65 Give them sorrow of heart, your curse unto them. 66 Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of the LORD.
- James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.
- Psalm 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
SUMMARY: Lamentations 1-3
- The LORD afflicts for a multitude of transgressions
- He is righteous
- The Lord hates His house being full of idols; He poured out His fury like fire
- The Lord’s compassions do not fail; His faithfulness is great
- He does not willingly afflict or grieve us
- God hears our cry and draws near; He pleads our cause and redeems our life