Ray Stedman, concludes his comments on Lamentations 4-5:

Chapter 5 describes the humiliation of judgment, but in the end, Jeremiah comes to another flash of insight (verse 19):

But thou, O Lord, dost reign for ever;
thy throne endures to all generations. (Lamentations 5:19 RSV)

What does this mean? Well, it means that though man may even perish in sorrow, God endures. And because God endures, the great purpose and workings of God endure. God never does anything temporarily; all that he does endures forever. Jeremiah sees that what God has taught him in his grief will have a practical use. Even if he were to die in the midst of his grief, God’s purposes endure. God is simply preparing now for a work yet to come. God is not limited by time. He is eternal. His throne, his authority, endures to all generations. In practical terms, the prophet is realizing that after he has been through this time of grief, he will have learned a truth about God that will make him absolutely impervious to any other kind of test. Once he has been through this, nothing can reach him, nothing can upset him, nothing can trouble him, nothing can touch him or overthrow him. He is now ready for anything. And in God’s great purpose there will be an opportunity to use that strength.

Copyright © 2010 by Ray Stedman Ministries — This material is the sole property of Ray Stedman Ministries. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to www.RayStedman.org if the copy is posted on the Internet. Please direct any questions you may have to webmaster@RayStedman.org.

Otober 25 John 7:25-36 )ESV)

Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”
The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?”

(John 7:25-36 ESV)

October 25

1 Peter 5:8-14 (ESV)

8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings

12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. 13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. 14 Greet one another with the kiss of love.

Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

October 25

Song of Solomon 8:8-14 (ESV)

Others

8 We have a little sister,
and she has no breasts.
What shall we do for our sister
on the day when she is spoken for?
9 If she is a wall,
we will build on her a battlement of silver,
but if she is a door,
we will enclose her with boards of cedar.

She

10 I was a wall,
and my breasts were like towers;
then I was in his eyes
as one who finds [1] peace.

11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon;
he let out the vineyard to keepers;
each one was to bring for its fruit a thousand pieces of silver.
12 My vineyard, my very own, is before me;
you, O Solomon, may have the thousand,
and the keepers of the fruit two hundred.

He

13 O you who dwell in the gardens,
with companions listening for your voice;
let me hear it.

She

14 Make haste, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or a young stag
on the mountains of spices.

October 25

Lamentations 4-5 (ESV)

The Holy Stones Lie Scattered

4:1 How the gold has grown dim,
how the pure gold is changed!
The holy stones lie scattered
at the head of every street.

2 The precious sons of Zion,
worth their weight in fine gold,
how they are regarded as earthen pots,
the work of a potter’s hands!

3 Even jackals offer the breast;
they nurse their young,
but the daughter of my people has become cruel,
like the ostriches in the wilderness.

4 The tongue of the nursing infant sticks
to the roof of its mouth for thirst;
the children beg for food,
but no one gives to them.

5 Those who once feasted on delicacies
perish in the streets;
those who were brought up in purple
embrace ash heaps.

6 For the chastisement [1] of the daughter of my people has been greater
than the punishment [2] of Sodom,
which was overthrown in a moment,
and no hands were wrung for her. [3]

7 Her princes were purer than snow,
whiter than milk;
their bodies were more ruddy than coral,
the beauty of their form [4] was like sapphire. [5]

8 Now their face is blacker than soot;
they are not recognized in the streets;
their skin has shriveled on their bones;
it has become as dry as wood.

9 Happier were the victims of the sword
than the victims of hunger,
who wasted away, pierced
by lack of the fruits of the field.

10 The hands of compassionate women
have boiled their own children;
they became their food
during the destruction of the daughter of my people.

11 The Lord gave full vent to his wrath;
he poured out his hot anger,
and he kindled a fire in Zion
that consumed its foundations.

12 The kings of the earth did not believe,
nor any of the inhabitants of the world,
that foe or enemy could enter
the gates of Jerusalem.

13 This was for the sins of her prophets
and the iniquities of her priests,
who shed in the midst of her
the blood of the righteous.

14 They wandered, blind, through the streets;
they were so defiled with blood
that no one was able to touch
their garments.

15 “Away! Unclean!” people cried at them.
“Away! Away! Do not touch!”
So they became fugitives and wanderers;
people said among the nations,
“They shall stay with us no longer.”

16 The Lord himself [6] has scattered them;
he will regard them no more;
no honor was shown to the priests,
no favor to the elders.

17 Our eyes failed, ever watching
vainly for help;
in our watching we watched
for a nation which could not save.

18 They dogged our steps
so that we could not walk in our streets;
our end drew near; our days were numbered,
for our end had come.

19 Our pursuers were swifter
than the eagles in the heavens;
they chased us on the mountains;
they lay in wait for us in the wilderness.

20 The breath of our nostrils, the Lord‘s anointed,
was captured in their pits,
of whom we said, “Under his shadow
we shall live among the nations.”

21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom,
you who dwell in the land of Uz;
but to you also the cup shall pass;
you shall become drunk and strip yourself bare.

22 The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter of Zion, is accomplished;
he will keep you in exile no longer; [7]
but your iniquity, O daughter of Edom, he will punish;
he will uncover your sins.

Restore Us to Yourself, O Lord

5:1 Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us;
look, and see our disgrace!
2 Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
our homes to foreigners.
3 We have become orphans, fatherless;
our mothers are like widows.
4 We must pay for the water we drink;
the wood we get must be bought.
5 Our pursuers are at our necks; [8]
we are weary; we are given no rest.
6 We have given the hand to Egypt, and to Assyria,
to get bread enough.
7 Our fathers sinned, and are no more;
and we bear their iniquities.
8 Slaves rule over us;
there is none to deliver us from their hand.
9 We get our bread at the peril of our lives,
because of the sword in the wilderness.
10 Our skin is hot as an oven
with the burning heat of famine.
11 Women are raped in Zion,
young women in the towns of Judah.
12 Princes are hung up by their hands;
no respect is shown to the elders.
13 Young men are compelled to grind at the mill,
and boys stagger under loads of wood.
14 The old men have left the city gate,
the young men their music.
15 The joy of our hearts has ceased;
our dancing has been turned to mourning.
16 The crown has fallen from our head;
woe to us, for we have sinned!
17 For this our heart has become sick,
for these things our eyes have grown dim,
18 for Mount Zion which lies desolate;
jackals prowl over it.
19 But you, O Lord, reign forever;
your throne endures to all generations.
20 Why do you forget us forever,
why do you forsake us for so many days?
21 Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored!
Renew our days as of old—
22 unless you have utterly rejected us,
and you remain exceedingly angry with us.

John Piper, in  a sermon, “Are You Humble Enough to Be Care-free?”

Did you notice (in the NASB) the grammatical connection between [1Peter] verses 6 and 7? “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” It’s not merely a new sentence. It’s a subordinate clause.

“Humble yourselves . . . casting your anxieties on him.”

I think this means that casting your anxieties on God is an expression of humility. It’s like saying,

  • “Eat politely . . . chewing with your mouth shut.”
  • “Drive carefully . . . keeping your eyes open.”
  • “Be generous . . . inviting someone over on Thanksgiving.”
  • “Humble yourselves . . . casting your anxieties on God.”

One way to be humble is to cast your anxieties on God. Which means that one hindrance to casting your anxieties on God is pride. Which means that undue worry about your future is probably a form of pride.

John 7:17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.

J.C.Ryle comments:

The difficulty of finding out “what is truth” in religion is a common subject of complaint among men. They point to the many differences which prevail among Christians on matters of doctrine, and profess to be unable to decide who is right. In thousands of cases this professed inability to find out truth becomes an excuse for living without any religion at all.

The saying of our Lord before us is one that demands the serious attention of people in this state of mind. It supplies an argument whose edge and point they will find it hard to evade. It teaches that one secret of getting the key of knowledge is to practice honestly what we know, and that if we conscientiously use the light that we now have, we shall soon find more light coming down into our minds. In short, there is a sense in which it is true, that by doing we shall come to knowing.

Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
he would be utterly despised.
Song of Solomon 8:7

You can’t buy love.  We see this truth repeatedly in our culture.  A person can be wealthy beyond comprehension and yet be lonely and unloved.  Spurgeon takes this a step further and says that GOD doesn’t try to buy our love with His gifts, either.

C.H. Spurgeon in a message, “Unpurchasable Love”

There are numbers of you who have health, and wealth, and many other things that so many desire, but they never make you love God, and they never will. You love them, and make idols of them very readily, but they do not lead you to love the Lord; while the children of God, who love their dear Savior, can tell you that they do not love him because of what he gives them, for if he takes from them, they love him all the same. With Job, they say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” They do not love him simply because he caresses them, for if he chastens them, they love him still, and kiss the rod with which he smites them.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, 
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; 
great is thy 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 that 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 he has laid it on him;
let him put his mouth in the dust — 
there may yet be hope;
let him give his cheek to the smiter, 
and be filled with insults. 
For the Lord will not 
cast off for ever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion 
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men. (Lamentations 3:22-33 RSV)

This beautiful passage comes in the midst of many hard, sad words. We see the compassion of the heart of God.  Compassionate judgment. Mercy in many forms.  Jeremiah says God does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men. His mercies are fresh every morning. In the middle of his own pain, Jeremiah remembers the Lord. Behind the suffering and devastation, God is at work because of His great love. Jerusalem was heading in the wrong way and God brought destruction so that he could restore it later.  In His great mercy, He planned to build it up again.  “The Lord does not cast off forever; though he causes grief, he will have compassion.”

October 24

1 Peter 5:1-7 (ESV)

Shepherd the Flock of God

5:1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, [1] not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; [2] not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.