Lamentations 1 & Psalm 32

Lamentations 1

    How lonely sits the city
        that was full of people!
    How like a widow has she become,
        she who was great among the nations!
    She who was a princess among the provinces
        has become a slave.  
    
    She weeps bitterly in the night,
        with tears 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.  
    
    Judah has gone into exile because of affliction
        and hard servitude;
    she dwells now among the nations,
        but finds no resting place;
    her pursuers have all overtaken her
        in the midst of her distress.   
    
    The roads to Zion mourn,
        for none come to the festival;
    all her gates are desolate;
        her priests groan;
    her virgins have been afflicted,
        and she herself suffers bitterly. 
    
    Her foes have become the head;
        her enemies prosper,
    because the LORD has afflicted her
        for the multitude of her transgressions;
    her children have gone away,
        captives before the foe.    
    
    From the daughter of Zion
        all her majesty has departed.
    Her princes have become like deer
        that find no pasture;
    they fled without strength
        before the pursuer. 
    
    Jerusalem remembers
        in the days of her affliction and wandering
    all the precious things
        that were hers from days of old.
    When her people fell into the hand of the foe,
        and there was none to help her,
    her foes gloated over her;
        they mocked at her downfall.  
    
    Jerusalem sinned grievously;
        therefore she became filthy;
    all who honored her despise her,
        for they have seen her nakedness;
    she herself groans
        and turns her face away.  
    
    Her uncleanness was in her skirts;
        she took no thought of her future;
    therefore her fall is terrible;
        she has no comforter.
    “O LORD, behold my affliction,
        for the enemy has triumphed!”
    
    The enemy has stretched out his hands
        over all her precious things;
    for she has seen the nations
        enter her sanctuary,
    those whom you forbade
        to enter your congregation.
    
    All her people groan
        as they search for bread;
    they trade their treasures for food
        to revive their strength.
    “Look, O LORD, and see,
        for I am despised.”  
    
    “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
        Look and see
    if there is any sorrow like my sorrow,
        which was brought upon me,
    which the LORD inflicted
        on the day of his fierce anger.
    
    “From on high he sent fire;
        into my bones he made it descend;
    he spread a net for my feet;
        he turned me back;
    he has left me stunned,
        faint all the day long. 
    
    “My transgressions were bound into a yoke;
        by his hand they were fastened together;
    they were set upon my neck;
        he caused my strength to fail;
    the Lord gave me into the hands
        of those whom I cannot withstand.   
    
    “The Lord rejected
        all my mighty men in my midst;
    he summoned an assembly against me
        to crush my young men;
    the Lord has trodden as in a winepress
        the virgin daughter of Judah.  
    
    “For these things I weep;
        my eyes flow with tears;
    for a comforter is far from me,
        one to revive my spirit;
    my children are desolate,
        for the enemy has prevailed.”  
    
    Zion stretches out her hands,
        but there is none to comfort her;
    the LORD has commanded against Jacob
        that his neighbors should be his foes;
    Jerusalem has become
        a filthy thing among them. 
    
    “The LORD is in the right,
        for I have rebelled against his word;
    but hear, all you peoples,
        and see my suffering;
    my young women and my young men
        have gone into captivity.   
    
    “I called to my lovers,
        but they deceived me;
    my priests and elders
        perished in the city,
    while they sought food
        to revive their strength.   
    
    “Look, O LORD, for I am in distress;
        my stomach churns;
    my heart is wrung within me,
        because I have been very rebellious.
    In the street the sword bereaves;
        in the house it is like death. 
    
    “They heard my groaning,
        yet there is no one to comfort me.
    All my enemies have heard of my trouble;
        they are glad that you have done it.
    You have brought the day you announced;
        now let them be as I am.   
    
    “Let all their evildoing come before you,
        and deal with them
    as you have dealt with me
        because of all my transgressions;
    for my groans are many,
        and my heart is faint.”

(Lamentations 1 ESV)


Psalm 32

A Maskil of David.

    Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
        whose sin is covered.
    Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
        and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
       
    For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
        through my groaning all day long.
    For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
        my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah 
    
    I acknowledged my sin to you,
        and I did not cover my iniquity;
    I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
        and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah  
    
    Therefore let everyone who is godly
        offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
    surely in the rush of great waters,
        they shall not reach him.
    You are a hiding place for me;
        you preserve me from trouble;
        you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
    
    I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
        I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
    Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
        which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
        or it will not stay near you.  
    
    Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
        but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
    Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
        and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

(Psalm 32 ESV)

Heavy Hand

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (Psalm 32:1)

 

When we attempt to ignore our sin or stay silent about our own struggle with a specific sin it doesn’t take long before guilt and shame begin to ‘dry up our strength’. David describes himself as losing strength because of his unconfessed sin, and yet he surprisingly credits this shameful feeling as being from the hand of God upon him. 

Have we ever considered that our heaviness of heart might be a merciful burden placed upon us by the heavy hand of God? 

God loves us too much to allow any feelings of indifference towards our own sin. It is the hand of God that helps us come to the point of brokenness and honest confession of our sin. As hard as this can be sometimes, David declares that we will always be more blessed because of it. We must uncover our sin if we want to experience God covering it. And those who continue to experience the mysterious mercy in this sort of exchange are those who are truly blessed by our Lord and find themselves glad in Him.