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Old Testament:  Lamentations 3-5

Lamentations 3

Hope in the LORD's Faithfulness
 1  I am the one who has seen the afflictions
  that come from the rod of the LORD's anger.
 2  He has led me into darkness,
  shutting out all light.
 3  He has turned his hand against me
  again and again, all day long.

 4  He has made my skin and flesh grow old.
  He has broken my bones.
 5  He has besieged and surrounded me
  with anguish and distress.
 6  He has buried me in a dark place,
  like those long dead.

 7  He has walled me in, and I cannot escape.
  He has bound me in heavy chains.
 8  And though I cry and shout,
  he has shut out my prayers.
 9  He has blocked my way with a high stone wall;
  he has made my road crooked.

 10  He has hidden like a bear or a lion,
  waiting to attack me.
 11  He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces,
  leaving me helpless and devastated.
 12  He has drawn his bow
  and made me the target for his arrows.

 13  He shot his arrows
  deep into my heart.
 14  My own people laugh at me.
  All day long they sing their mocking songs.
 15  He has filled me with bitterness
  and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink.

 16  He has made me chew on gravel.
  He has rolled me in the dust.
 17  Peace has been stripped away,
  and I have forgotten what prosperity is.
 18  I cry out, "My splendor is gone!
  Everything I had hoped for from the LORD is lost!"

 19  The thought of my suffering and homelessness
  is bitter beyond words. [19] 
 20  I will never forget this awful time,
  as I grieve over my loss.
 21  Yet I still dare to hope
  when I remember this:

 22  The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease.  23  Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.  24  I say to myself, "The LORD is my inheritance;
  therefore, I will hope in him!"

 25  The LORD is good to those who depend on him,
  to those who search for him.
 26  So it is good to wait quietly
  for salvation from the LORD.
 27  And it is good for people to submit at an early age
  to the yoke of his discipline:

 28  Let them sit alone in silence
  beneath the LORD's demands.
 29  Let them lie face down in the dust,
  for there may be hope at last.
 30  Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them
  and accept the insults of their enemies.

 31  For no one is abandoned
   by the Lord forever.
 32  Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion
  because of the greatness of his unfailing love.
 33  For he does not enjoy hurting people
  or causing them sorrow.

 34  If people crush underfoot
  all the prisoners of the land,
 35  if they deprive others of their rights
  in defiance of the Most High,
 36  if they twist justice in the courts—
  doesn't the Lord see all these things?

 37  Who can command things to happen
  without the Lord's permission?
 38  Does not the Most High
  send both calamity and good?
 39  Then why should we, mere humans, complain
  when we are punished for our sins?

 40  Instead, let us test and examine our ways.
  Let us turn back to the LORD.
 41  Let us lift our hearts and hands
  to God in heaven and say,
 42  "We have sinned and rebelled,
  and you have not forgiven us.

 43  "You have engulfed us with your anger, chased us down,
  and slaughtered us without mercy.
 44  You have hidden yourself in a cloud
  so our prayers cannot reach you.
 45  You have discarded us as refuse and garbage
  among the nations.

 46  "All our enemies
  have spoken out against us.
 47  We are filled with fear,
  for we are trapped, devastated, and ruined."
 48  Tears stream from my eyes
  because of the destruction of my people!

 49  My tears flow endlessly;
  they will not stop
 50  until the LORD looks down
  from heaven and sees.
 51  My heart is breaking
  over the fate of all the women of Jerusalem.

 52  My enemies, whom I have never harmed,
  hunted me down like a bird.
 53  They threw me into a pit
  and dropped stones on me.
 54  The water rose over my head,
  and I cried out, "This is the end!"

 55  But I called on your name, LORD,
  from deep within the pit.
 56  You heard me when I cried, "Listen to my pleading!
  Hear my cry for help!"
 57  Yes, you came when I called;
  you told me, "Do not fear."

 58  Lord, you are my lawyer! Plead my case!
  For you have redeemed my life.
 59  You have seen the wrong they have done to me, LORD.
  Be my judge, and prove me right.
 60  You have seen the vengeful plots
  my enemies have laid against me.

 61  LORD, you have heard the vile names they call me.
  You know all about the plans they have made.
 62  My enemies whisper and mutter
  as they plot against me all day long.
 63  Look at them! Whether they sit or stand,
  I am the object of their mocking songs.

 64  Pay them back, LORD,
  for all the evil they have done.
 65  Give them hard and stubborn hearts,
  and then let your curse fall on them!
 66  Chase them down in your anger,
  destroying them beneath the LORD's heavens.

Lamentations 4

God's Anger Satisfied
 1  How the gold has lost its luster!
  Even the finest gold has become dull.
The sacred gemstones
  lie scattered in the streets!

 2  See how the precious children of Jerusalem, [2] 
  worth their weight in fine gold,
are now treated like pots of clay
  made by a common potter.

 3  Even the jackals feed their young,
  but not my people Israel.
They ignore their children's cries,
  like ostriches in the desert.

 4  The parched tongues of their little ones
  stick to the roofs of their mouths in thirst.
The children cry for bread,
  but no one has any to give them.

 5  The people who once ate the richest foods
  now beg in the streets for anything they can get.
Those who once wore the finest clothes
  now search the garbage dumps for food.

 6  The guilt [6]  of my people
  is greater than that of Sodom,
where utter disaster struck in a moment
  and no hand offered help.

 7  Our princes once glowed with health—
  brighter than snow, whiter than milk.
Their faces were as ruddy as rubies,
  their appearance like fine jewels. [7] 

 8  But now their faces are blacker than soot.
  No one recognizes them in the streets.
Their skin sticks to their bones;
  it is as dry and hard as wood.

 9  Those killed by the sword are better off
  than those who die of hunger.
Starving, they waste away
  for lack of food from the fields.

 10  Tenderhearted women
  have cooked their own children.
They have eaten them
  to survive the siege.

 11  But now the anger of the LORD is satisfied.
  His fierce anger has been poured out.
He started a fire in Jerusalem [11] 
  that burned the city to its foundations.

 12  Not a king in all the earth—
  no one in all the world—
would have believed that an enemy
  could march through the gates of Jerusalem.

 13  Yet it happened because of the sins of her prophets
  and the sins of her priests,
who defiled the city
  by shedding innocent blood.

 14  They wandered blindly
  through the streets,
so defiled by blood
  that no one dared touch them.

 15  "Get away!" the people shouted at them.
  "You're defiled! Don't touch us!"
So they fled to distant lands
  and wandered among foreign nations,
  but none would let them stay.

 16  The LORD himself has scattered them,
  and he no longer helps them.
People show no respect for the priests
  and no longer honor the leaders.

 17  We looked in vain for our allies
  to come and save us,
but we were looking to nations
  that could not help us.

 18  We couldn't go into the streets
  without danger to our lives.
Our end was near; our days were numbered.
  We were doomed!

 19  Our enemies were swifter than eagles in flight.
  If we fled to the mountains, they found us.
If we hid in the wilderness,
  they were waiting for us there.

 20  Our king—the LORD's anointed, the very life of our nation—
  was caught in their snares.
We had thought that his shadow
  would protect us against any nation on earth!

 21  Are you rejoicing in the land of Uz,
  O people of Edom?
But you, too, must drink from the cup of the LORD's anger.
  You, too, will be stripped naked in your drunkenness.

 22  O beautiful Jerusalem, [22]  your punishment will end;
  you will soon return from exile.
But Edom, your punishment is just beginning;
  soon your many sins will be exposed.

Lamentations 5

Prayer for Restoration
 1  LORD, remember what has happened to us.
  See how we have been disgraced!
 2  Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
  our homes to foreigners.
 3  We are orphaned and fatherless.
  Our mothers are widowed.
 4  We have to pay for water to drink,
  and even firewood is expensive.
 5  Those who pursue us are at our heels;
  we are exhausted but are given no rest.
 6  We submitted to Egypt and Assyria
  to get enough food to survive.
 7  Our ancestors sinned, but they have died—
  and we are suffering the punishment they deserved!

 8  Slaves have now become our masters;
  there is no one left to rescue us.
 9  We hunt for food at the risk of our lives,
  for violence rules the countryside.
 10  The famine has blackened our skin
  as though baked in an oven.
 11  Our enemies rape the women in Jerusalem [11] 
   and the young girls in all the towns of Judah.
 12  Our princes are being hanged by their thumbs,
  and our elders are treated with contempt.
 13  Young men are led away to work at millstones,
  and boys stagger under heavy loads of wood.
 14  The elders no longer sit in the city gates;
  the young men no longer dance and sing.
 15  Joy has left our hearts;
  our dancing has turned to mourning.
 16  The garlands have [16]  fallen from our heads.
  Weep for us because we have sinned.
 17  Our hearts are sick and weary,
  and our eyes grow dim with tears.
 18  For Jerusalem [18]  is empty and desolate,
  a place haunted by jackals.

 19  But LORD, you remain the same forever!
  Your throne continues from generation to generation.
 20  Why do you continue to forget us?
  Why have you abandoned us for so long?
 21  Restore us, O LORD, and bring us back to you again!
  Give us back the joys we once had!
 22  Or have you utterly rejected us?
  Are you angry with us still?
<<  3:19 Or is wormwood and gall.
<<  3:22 As in Syriac version; Hebrew reads of the L<%=ftSC%>ORD keeps us from destruction.
<<  4:2 Hebrew precious sons of Zion.
<<  4:6 Or punishment.
<<  4:7 Hebrew like lapis lazuli.
<<  4:11 Hebrew in Zion.
<<  4:22 Hebrew O daughter of Zion.
<<  5:11 Hebrew in Zion.
<<  5:16 Or The crown has.
<<  5:18 Hebrew Mount Zion.

New Testament:  Hebrews 10:19-39

Hebrews 10 : 19-39

A Call to Persevere
 19  And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven's Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.  20  By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.  21  And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God's house...  22  let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
   23  Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.  24  Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.  25  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
   26  Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins.  27  There is only the terrible expectation of God's judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies.  28  For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  29  Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God's mercy to us.  30  For we know the one who said,

"I will take revenge.
  I will pay them back." [30] 

He also said,

"The LORD will judge his own people." [30] 

 31  It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
   32  Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. [32]  Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering.  33  Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things.  34  You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.
   35  So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!  36  Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.  37  "For in just a little while,
  the Coming One will come and not delay.
 38  And my righteous ones will live by faith. [38] 
  But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away." [38] 

 39  But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.
<<  10:19 Greek brothers.
<<  10:20 Greek Through his flesh.
<<  10:30a Deut 32:35. 10:30b Deut 32:36.
<<  10:32 Greek when you were first enlightened.
<<  10:38 Or my righteous ones will live by their faithfulness; Greek reads my righteous one will live by faith. 10:37-38 Hab 2:3-4.

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