From Lamentations 3.37-5.22
Have you ever been teased? Judah has been conquered and oppressed by her enemy. Now her enemies persecute and ridicule the author of Lamentations. He rejoices in the redemption of the LORD and he calls down his wrath on his enemies. When Jesus was mocked and beaten he asked for the LORD’s forgiveness. He welcomed a man into his kingdom. How do you respond when people taunts and ridicule you?
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
The first half of lamentations focuses on the punishment Judah has rightly received at the hand of the Lord. In the second half, the author exhorts his audience to again seek the Lord. He asks the Lord to remember his people and their struggles.
52 “I have been hunted like a bird by those who were my enemies without cause;
53 they flung me alive into the pit and cast stones on me;
54 water closed over my head; I said, ‘I am lost.’ (Lam 3:52-54)
The author describes a dire situation where his enemies trapped him. The scenario described is similar to Jeremiah’s situation when he also was thrown into a pit but it is not identical. Jeremiah was thrown into a pit of mud and they didn’t throw stones on him.
What happened to him however was horrible. Those who afflicted him did so ‘without cause’. Perhaps they did it because they enjoyed doing it to him.
At the time, the author almost gave up. But he cries out to the Lord.
55 “I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit;
56 you heard my plea, ‘Do not close your ear to my cry for help!’
57 You came near when I called on you; you said, ‘Do not fear!’ (Lam 3:55-57)
With the water closing in and his enemies raining stones down on him. The author cried out to the Lord for help.
Even after all the punishment the Lord had sent on Judah, the Lord was still willing to respond to his cry.
The Lord came near and assured him. What happened to his enemies we don’t know. The author was rescued.
58 “You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life. (Lam 3:58)
Once punished for wrongdoing. Now the Lord stands by him and protects him. He has been redeemed by the Lord.
59 You have seen the wrong done to me, O LORD; judge my cause.
60 You have seen all their vengeance, all their plots against me.
61 “You have heard their taunts, O LORD, all their plots against me.
62 The lips and thoughts of my assailants are against me all the day long.
63 Behold their sitting and their rising; I am the object of their taunts. (Lam 3:59-63)
The author knows the Lord has seen what his enemies have done to him. He knows the Lord’s people are precious to him. Bringing what they have done to him before the Lord will bring judgment down upon them.
64 “You will repay them, O LORD, according to the work of their hands.
65 You will give them dullness of heart; your curse will be on them.
66 You will pursue them in anger and destroy them from under your heavens, O LORD.” (Lam 3:64–66)
The author asks the Lord repay them for what they have done.
They will be judged and punished. Their hearts will become dull. No longer able to discern right from wrong, they will incur more and more of the Lord’s wrath. He will get angrier with them, eventually seek them out and destroy them.
The author doesn’t seek their forgiveness. He knows the Lord is loving and just and his confidence in him is growing. This time he seeks justice. The Lord’s judgment on his enemies.
Story of Israel
‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.’ The author was the object of his enemies taunts (Lam 3:59-63). Ridicule of God and of believers is to be expected, but it will bring divine retribution upon its perpetrators.
When the Rabshakeh mocked Hezekiah and the LORD he and his army paid the price (2 Ki 19.4).
It’s never a good idea to mock the LORD.
Throughout the story of Israel God’s messengers were mocked and scorned (2 Chr 36.15-15). Famously Elisha wa ridiculed by some youths. It didn’t work out so well for them (2 Ki 2.23-24). Some people are mocked for their faith in God (Ps 22.6-8; 42.10; 79.4). Job was mocked while he suffered (Job 12.4; 16.10; 30.1,9).
And now Israel is ridiculed by her oppressors (Lam 2.15-16; 3.14,63).
Ive had my fair share of ridicule myself. Especially in high school. But the most famous person who was mocked, ridiculed and taunted was Jesus. They mocked him before they put him to death.
63 Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. 64 They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” 65 And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him. (Lk 22:63–65)
And they taunted him as he died on the cross.
32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Lk 23:32–43)
While the author of Lamentations requested judgment for his enemies. Appealing to the LORD’s justice. Jesus acts in love. Mocked by the people around him, one man realises who he is. Jesus is the King of the kingdom. Jesus welcomes him into Paradise.
We all will get mocked for our faith sometime in our lives. Will we seek the Lord’s justice or his love?
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.