Jeremiah’s Cry of Despair
Verse 1 – I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath.
The rod of God’s wrath was Babylon, where Assyria is described as the rod of God’s judgment.
Verse 2 – He has led me and made me walk in darkness and not in light.
Verse 3 – Surely He has turned His hand against me time and time again throughout the day.
Everything the people of Judah went through, Jeremiah had also walked though. Even though Jeremiah was bringing the message from God, he too suffered along with the people, if not more so.
Verse 4 – He has aged my flesh and my skin, and broken my bones.
Verse 5 – He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and woe.
Verse 6 – He has set me in dark places like the dead of long ago.
Jeremiah had grown old before his time because of dealing with Judah’s sin.
Verse 7 – He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out; He has made my chain heavy.
Verse 8 – Even when I cry and shout, he shuts out my prayer.
Verse 9 – He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked.
Do you remember back in 7:16, in Jeremiah, God told Jeremiah not to pray or lift up a cry for them, nor make intercession to Him? He said “For I will not hear you.” God was done with Judah and it was time for judgment.
Verse 10 – He has been to me like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in ambush.
Verse 11 – He has turned aside my ways and torn me in pieces; He has made me desolate.
Verse 12 – He has bent His bow and set me up as a target for the arrow.
Verse 13 – He has caused the arrows of His quiver to pierce my loins.
Verse 14 – I have become the ridicule of all my people, and their taunting song all the day.
Verse 15 – He has filled me with bitterness, He has made me drink wormwood. (Wormwood-with severe bitterness and dispensation).
Verse 16 – He has also broken my teeth with gravel, and covered me with ashes.
Verse 17 – You have moved my soul far from peace; I have forgotten prosperity.
Verse 18 – And I said, “My strength and my hope have perished from the Lord.”
Maybe not to this extent, but we’ve all felt as Jeremiah did at one time or another, but he’s about to change his perception of God, as we do the same.
Verse 19 – Remember my affliction and roaming, the wormwood and the gall.
Verse 20 – My soul still remembers and sinks within me.
Verse 21 – This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope.
Verse 22 – Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassion’s fail not.
Verse 23 – They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Verse 24 – “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
The fact that Jeremiah was still alive, is proof of God’s faithfulness. God’s grace and mercy is greater that any sin. Trusting in God’s faithfulness day by day makes us confident in His great promise for our future!
Verse 25 – The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.
Our God doesn’t allow us to suffer unjustly. Sometimes we are too impatient to wait on His guidance or answer, that’s when we see chaos. But this verse says, He is good to those who wait on Him. Seek Him while your waiting.
Verse 26 – It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
While we wait, don’t complain.
Verse 27 – It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth.
By learning lessons early in life, he finds it more easy to be calm and patient later on. We willingly come under God’s discipline and learn what He has to teach. This can entail several things: (1) silent reflection on what God wants, (2) repentant humility, (3) self-control in the face of adversity, and (4) confident patience in knowing God will do what He says He will do.
Verse 28 – Let him sit alone and keep silent, because God has laid it on him;
Verse 29 – Let him put his mouth in the dust – there may yet be hope. (Don’t speak out of anger)
Verse 30 – Let him give his cheek to the one who strikes him, and be full of reproach (attitude of humility).
Verse 31 – For the Lord will not cast off forever.
Verse 32 – Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.
Verse 33 – For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.
God’s compassion and mercy outweighs the sorrow. God did not enjoy the judgment that rained down on His people.
Verse 34 – To crush under His feet all the prisoners of the earth,
Verse 35 – to turn aside the justice due a man before the face of the Most High,
Verse 36 – or subvert a man in his cause – the Lord does not approve.
God does not look favorably on humanity’s cruelty and injustice. None of the injustices done to others falls outside of God’s oversight. He sees it all and keeps accurate books. Disregarding human rights, given by God, invites God’s judgment.
Verse 37 – Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it?
Verse 38 – Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed?
Both adversity and good, comes from the hand of God. Yes, bad things do happen to good people, according to God’s wisdom. He won’t override our free-will. However, Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Verse 39 – Why should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?
Verse 40 – Let us search and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord;
Verse 41 – Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven.
Verse 42 – We have transgressed and rebelled; You have not pardoned.
Parents discipline children to produce right behavior. God disciplined Judah to produce right living and genuine worship. Correction from God should bring the kind of behavior in our lives that is pleasing to Him.
Verse 43 – You have covered Yourself with anger and pursued us; You have slain and not pitied.
Verse 44 – You have covered Yourself with a cloud, that prayer should not pass through.
It was impossible for God to answer the people’s prayers as long as sin festered in their lives. The prayers could not penetrate the heavens. The very first prayer that God hears is when a humble heart is repentant and receives His forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ. That’s not a heart that intends to continue to live in sin.
Verse 45 – You have made us an off-scouring and refuse in the midst of the peoples.
Verse 46 – All our enemies have opened our mouths against us.
Verse 47 – Fear and a snare have come upon us, desolation and destruction.
Verse 48 – My eyes overflow with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people.
Verse 49 – My eyes flow and do not cease, without interruption,
Verse 50 – till the Lord from heaven looks down and sees.
Verse 51 – My eyes bring suffering to my soul because of all the daughters of my city.
Verse 52 – My enemies without cause hunt me down like a bird.
Verse 53 – They silence my life in the pit and threw stones at me.
Do you remember when Jeremiah was thrown into a cistern, and he was left to die in the mire, but God rescued him. Jeremiah used this experience as a picture of the nation sinking into sin.
Verse 54 – The waters flowed over my head; I said, “I am cut off!”
Verse 55 – I called on Your name, O Lord from the lowest pit.
Verse 56 – You have heard my voice: Do not hide Your ear from my sighing, from my cry for help.”
Verse 57 – You drew near on the day I called on You, and said, “Do not fear!”
Verse 58 – O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul; You have redeemed my life.
Verse 59 – O Lord, You have seen how I am wronged; judge my case.
Verse 60 – You have seen all their vengeance, all their schemes against me.
Verse 61 – You have heard their reproach, O Lord, all their schemes against me,
Verse 62 – the lips of my enemies and their whispering against me all the day.
Verse 63 – Look at their sitting down and their rising up I am their taunting song.
Verse 64 – Repay them, O Lord, according to the work of their hands.
Verse 65 – Give them a veiled heart; Your curse be upon them!
Verse 66 – In Your anger, pursue and destroy them from under the heavens of the Lord.
Jeremiah never raised his own hand to seek personal vengeance for all he had suffered, but asked the Lord to repay them.