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Today we finish up Lamentations.
Today’s readings are Lamentations 3:37-5
Today’s reading puts us right in our place at the very start.
Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? Lamentations 3:39
Let’s look at a few other translations of this verse to get a better picture:
- Why should the living complain when punished for their sins? NIV
- Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins? NLT
- Why should any living mortal, or any man, Offer complaint in view of his sins? NASB
- We’re still alive! We shouldn’t complain when we are being punished for our sins. CEV
- Why should we ever complain when we are punished for our sin? GNT
This is a reminder that we are free to make our own decisions, but we are not free from the consequences of those decisions. We choose the actions, and thereby we choose the response from YHWH. He’s not been vague or subtle in letting us know exactly what to expect. I think we need to be ever aware though, that His desire is for us to repent, he all but begs us to do so in order for Him not to have to punish us. So don’t go thinking YHWH is harsh when He tells us not to touch the hot stove fifty times and then we touch it anyway and get burned.
DIRECTLY following this statement is a call to action that all should heed:
Let us test and examine our ways, and return to YHWH! Lamentations 3:40
I want to point out, again, just to make sure we wrap our heads around how very applicable this is to us today, that this statement was said to YHWH’s chosen people.
We see these passages go back and forth between the perspective of being punished and cut off for a time and from being heard and knowing that YHWH will keep His promise to restore them. The grief they feel at being punished is bringing about remorse and repentance – as was intended.
I called on your name, YHWH, from the depths of the pit, you heard my plea… –Lamentations 3:55-56
As He is a just God, we see horrendous sins, crimes, and horrors that are being punished. And then 4:22 brings this to an abrupt fork change.
The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter of Zion, is accomplished; he will keep you in exile no longer; but your iniquity, O daughter of Edom, he will punish; he will uncover your sins. Lamentations 4:22
I call this the “Done with you, now on to you” passage. The Father completes His punishment of Judah and now turns His wrath to their enemy. See Ezekiel 25:12 for a prophecy of this.
We end Lamentations with this humble plea of repentance:
Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored!
Renew our days as of old—
unless you have utterly rejected us,
and you remain exceedingly angry with us. Lamentations 5:21-22
Since we know that He has not rejected His people. With that confidence we can say today:
Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old.
We finished another book: Rak Chazak!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!