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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lamentations 3:1-58 (Good News Translation)

God’s Comforting Word

Introduction

Lamentations 3:1-58: The book of Lamentations is a collection of poems lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and its aftermath of ruin and exile. Today’s reading is from a section of the book that focuses on punishment, repentance, and hope.

Today's Scripture: Lamentations 3:22

The LORD’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.

Today's Reading

Punishment, Repentance, and Hope

1I am one who knows what it is to be punished by God.

2He drove me deeper and deeper into darkness

3And beat me again and again with merciless blows.

4He has left my flesh open and raw, and has broken my bones.

5He has shut me in a prison of misery and anguish.

6He has forced me to live in the stagnant darkness of death.

7He has bound me in chains; I am a prisoner with no hope of escape.

8I cry aloud for help, but God refuses to listen;

9I stagger as I walk; stone walls block me wherever I turn.

10He waited for me like a bear; he pounced on me like a lion.

11He chased me off the road, tore me to pieces, and left me.

12He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows.

13He shot his arrows deep into my body.

14People laugh at me all day long; I am a joke to them all.

15Bitter suffering is all he has given me for food and drink.

16He rubbed my face in the ground and broke my teeth on rocks.

17I have forgotten what health and peace and happiness are.

18I do not have much longer to live; my hope in the Lord is gone.

19The thought of my pain, my homelessness, is bitter poison.

20I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed.

21Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing:

22The Lord's unfailing love and mercy still continue,

23Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.

24The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope.

25The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him,

26So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us—

27And it is best to learn this patience in our youth.

28When we suffer, we should sit alone in silent patience;

29We should bow in submission, for there may still be hope.

30Though beaten and insulted, we should accept it all.

31The Lord is merciful and will not reject us forever.

32He may bring us sorrow, but his love for us is sure and strong.

33He takes no pleasure in causing us grief or pain.

34The Lord knows when our spirits are crushed in prison;

35He knows when we are denied the rights he gave us;

36When justice is perverted in court, he knows.

37The will of the Lord alone is always carried out.

38Good and evil alike take place at his command.

39Why should we ever complain when we are punished for our sin?

40Let us examine our ways and turn back to the Lord.

41Let us open our hearts to God in heaven and pray,

42“We have sinned and rebelled, and you, O Lord, have not forgiven us.

43“You pursued us and killed us; your mercy was hidden by your anger,

44By a cloud of fury too thick for our prayers to get through.

45You have made us the garbage dump of the world.

46“We are insulted and mocked by all our enemies.

47We have been through disaster and ruin; we live in danger and fear.

48My eyes flow with rivers of tears at the destruction of my people.

49“My tears will pour out in a ceaseless stream

50Until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees us.

51My heart is grieved when I see what has happened to the women of the city.

52“I was trapped like a bird by enemies who had no cause to hate me.

53They threw me alive into a pit and closed the opening with a stone.

54Water began to close over me, and I thought death was near.

55“From the bottom of the pit, O Lord, I cried out to you,

56And when I begged you to listen to my cry, you heard.

57You answered me and told me not to be afraid.

58“You came to my rescue, Lord, and saved my life.

Reflect

Imagine yourself as the author of today’s reading – one who is living in exile after witnessing the devastating destruction of the city and its place of worship. What emotions are being expressed? What are your thoughts as you read these verses? Are any of the verses especially meaningful to you? Do any of the verses offer comfort? What verses speak of hope? What verses in today’s reading resonate with you? What grieves your heart? What will you ask of God today?

Pray

Lord God, thank you for your tender mercies that are new and fresh each morning. You assure me with your unfailing love, and I trust in your everlasting goodness. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those recovering from tornadoes and floods

Tomorrow's Reading

Genesis 6:1-22: God plans to rid the world of human wickedness and evil.

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Readings

Yesterday's Reading

Jeremiah 30:1-24

Tomorrow's Reading

Genesis 6:1-22