Lamentations 3 & Psalm 34

  Lamentations 3  

I am the man who has seen affliction
        under the rod of his wrath;
    he has driven and brought me
        into darkness without any light;
    surely against me he turns his hand
        again and again the whole day long.
    
    
    He has made my flesh and my skin waste away;
        he has broken my bones;
    he has besieged and enveloped me
        with bitterness and tribulation;
    he has made me dwell in darkness
        like the dead of long ago.
    
    
    He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
        he has made my chains heavy;
    though I call and cry for help,
        he shuts out my prayer;
    he has blocked my ways with blocks of stones;
        he has made my paths crooked.
    
    
    He is a bear lying in wait for me,
        a lion in hiding;
    he turned aside my steps and tore me to pieces;
        he has made me desolate;
    he bent his bow and set me
        as a target for his arrow.
    
    
    He drove into my kidneys
        the arrows of his quiver;
    I have become the laughingstock of all peoples,
        the object of their taunts all day long.
    He has filled me with bitterness;
        he has sated me with wormwood.
    
    
    He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
        and made me cower in ashes;
    my soul is bereft of peace;
        I have forgotten what happiness is;
    so I say, “My endurance has perished;
        so has my hope from the LORD.”
    
    
    Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
        the wormwood and the gall!
    My soul continually remembers it
        and is bowed down within me.
    But this I call to mind,
        and therefore I have hope:
    
    
    The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
        his mercies never come to an end;
    they are new every morning;
        great is your faithfulness.
    “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
        “therefore I will hope in him.”
    
    
    The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
        to the soul who seeks him.
    It is good that one should wait quietly
        for the salvation of the LORD.
    It is good for a man that he bear
        the yoke in his youth.
    
    
    Let him sit alone in silence
        when it is laid on him;
    let him put his mouth in the dust—
        there may yet be hope;
    let him give his cheek to the one who strikes,
        and let him be filled with insults.
    
    
    For the Lord will not
        cast off forever,
    but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
        according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
    for he does not afflict from his heart
        or grieve the children of men.
    
    
    To crush underfoot
        all the prisoners of the earth,
    to deny a man justice
        in the presence of the Most High,
    to subvert a man in his lawsuit,
        the Lord does not approve.
    
    
    Who has spoken and it came to pass,
        unless the Lord has commanded it?
    Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
        that good and bad come?
    Why should a living man complain,
        a man, about the punishment of his sins?
    
    
    Let us test and examine our ways,
        and return to the LORD!
    Let us lift up our hearts and hands
        to God in heaven:
    “We have transgressed and rebelled,
        and you have not forgiven.
    
    
    “You have wrapped yourself with anger and pursued us,
        killing without pity;
    you have wrapped yourself with a cloud
        so that no prayer can pass through.
    You have made us scum and garbage
        among the peoples.
    
    
    “All our enemies
        open their mouths against us;
    panic and pitfall have come upon us,
        devastation and destruction;
    my eyes flow with rivers of tears
        because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.
    
    
    “My eyes will flow without ceasing,
        without respite,
    until the LORD from heaven
        looks down and sees;
    my eyes cause me grief
        at the fate of all the daughters of my city.
    
    
    “I have been hunted like a bird
        by those who were my enemies without cause;
    they flung me alive into the pit
        and cast stones on me;
    water closed over my head;
        I said, ‘I am lost.’
    
    
    “I called on your name, O LORD,
        from the depths of the pit;
    you heard my plea, ‘Do not close
        your ear to my cry for help!’
    You came near when I called on you;
        you said, ‘Do not fear!’
    
    
    “You have taken up my cause, O Lord;
        you have redeemed my life.
    You have seen the wrong done to me, O LORD;
        judge my cause.
    You have seen all their vengeance,
        all their plots against me.
    
    
    “You have heard their taunts, O LORD,
        all their plots against me.
    The lips and thoughts of my assailants
        are against me all the day long.
    Behold their sitting and their rising;
        I am the object of their taunts.
    
    
    “You will repay them, O LORD,
        according to the work of their hands.
    You will give them dullness of heart;
        your curse will be on them.
    You will pursue them in anger and destroy them
        from under your heavens, O LORD.”

(Lamentations 3 ESV)


Psalm 34

Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.

    I will bless the LORD at all times;
        his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
    My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
        let the humble hear and be glad.
    Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
        and let us exalt his name together!
    
    
    I sought the LORD, and he answered me
        and delivered me from all my fears.
    Those who look to him are radiant,
        and their faces shall never be ashamed.
    This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
        and saved him out of all his troubles.
    The angel of the LORD encamps
        around those who fear him, and delivers them.
    
    
    Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
        Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
    Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
        for those who fear him have no lack!
    The young lions suffer want and hunger;
        but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
    
    
    Come, O children, listen to me;
        I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
    What man is there who desires life
        and loves many days, that he may see good?
    Keep your tongue from evil
        and your lips from speaking deceit.
    Turn away from evil and do good;
        seek peace and pursue it.
    
    
    The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
        and his ears toward their cry.
    The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
        to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
    When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears
        and delivers them out of all their troubles.
    The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
        and saves the crushed in spirit.
    
    
    Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
        but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
    He keeps all his bones;
        not one of them is broken.
    Affliction will slay the wicked,
        and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
    The LORD redeems the life of his servants;
        none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

(Psalm 34 ESV)

Continual Praise

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1)

 

We ought to learn the habit of constantly praising our God as we continually count His blessings on a daily basis. We need to recognize that all that we have is His and has been given to us freely from His hands. May our God help us to walk in humility and only boast about Him and His goodness rather than ever assuming we’ve done anything worthy of the grace He extends to us. May God’s people glorify God’s name and magnify the Maker’s majesty over all of His creation. 

Our God hears our prayers and delivers us from the fears and anxiety’s that are certain to come in this life. He helps us to remain confident in His provision and to trust that He always offers protection for His own people. God surrounds us with His army of angels, and our ultimate deliverance and victory is guaranteed. 
    
May we experience more of His goodness and glory in order that we may rest even more assured of His presence and power with us. May God grant us understanding of what it means to fear Him as His child. May He help us do what is right and what is good with a pure heart that simply seeks to honor Him as the loving Father that He is. May the words of our mouths remain clean and blameless always seeking to offer encouragement rather than deception. And may we pursue peace with everyone avoiding temptation to ever return any evil for the evil shown towards us. 

Our Father in Heaven is present with us at all times and in all places, and therefore, we can ask that He would help us to walk in righteousness and dependence upon His strength and salvation. The world seeks the destruction of God’s people, but God preserves us as a people for His glory. Those who hate God’s people will be condemned, and those who suffer for God’s name will be redeemed. We ought to constantly praise God for the great hope that there is now no more condemnation for His people who have entrusted their lives to Christ our Savior. May He keep us assured of His great love as our Father, and may His people forever praise His great and matchless name.