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Remember, O LORD, what is come upon us: consider, and behold our reproach.
In this Chapter the Prophet puts a close to his lamentations in prayer; and a most sweet and gracious prayer it is!
Remember, O LORD, what is come upon us: consider, and behold our reproach. Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens. We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows. We have drunken our water for money; our wood is sold unto us. Our necks are under persecution: we labour, and have no rest.
I cannot sufficiently admire the strain of reasoning and of pleading with the Lord, which the Prophet here useth in prayer. Reminding the Lord of their relationship, by virtue of God's covenant with their fathers, and at the same time, spreading before the Lord the ill treatment they received from the heathen; these became blessed pleas in prayer. Reader! there are no arguments now (for it is the same in all ages) that we can bring before the throne, but what hath first come to us from the throne. God's covenant love in Christ, and the everlasting and unceasing efficacy of Christ's blood and righteousness; these are they which must be our sole dependance, when the enemy from without, or sin within, bring the soul into trouble!
We have given the hand to the Egyptians, and to the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread. Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities. Servants have ruled over us: there is none that doth deliver us out of their hand. We gat our bread with the peril of our lives because of the sword of the wilderness. Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine. They ravished the women in Zion, and the maids in the cities of Judah. Princes are hanged up by their hand: the faces of elders were not honoured. They took the young men to grind, and the children fell under the wood. The elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their musick. The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned! For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim. Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it.
The Prophet harps upon this string of the enemies' oppression, knowing, that God's jealousy for his people would be justly excited thereby. The Prophet knew, that Jehovah had himself declared, in instances that were past, that he would have scattered his people into corners, had it not been that the enemy would have triumphed. And as this restrained the Lord's hand then, he pleaded this with an hope, that the same cause would work now. See Deuteronomy 32:26-27 . Reader! mark this scripture; and take it with thee to the throne in times of oppression. Jesus's cause is his people's cause; and our foes are his foes.
Thou, O LORD, remainest forever; thy throne from generation to generation. Wherefore dost thou forget us forever, and forsake us so long time? Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old. But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us.
How blessedly the Prophet here takes hold of the eternity, and unchangeable nature and purposes of God's faithfulness and mercy in Christ. And how earnestly on these grounds doth he plead for grace, being given to the Church, that the Church thereby may be turned unto God. And like another powerful pleader among the Prophets, how passionately doth he plead for God's sore wrath to be taken away. Isaiah 63:15-19 . May the Lord write upon the heart of both Writer and Reader, a deep sense of these several pleas: and yet more especially lead them to see, that the whole is only founded in Christ Jesus!
I CANNOT prevail upon myself to close this Book of Lamentations, without once again blessing the Lord for having endued the mind of his servant the Prophet with such large portions of grace, so to take part in the afflictions of his people. And I take occasion therefrom, to beg the Reader to join my spirit in prayer also, that He would of his infinite grace and mercy, give to his praying people now, large portions of the same precious frame of mind, that all selfish considerations may be lost in the view of the present languishing state of Zion. Surely there never was a period when her interests were less regarded. Where are the praying seed of Jacob to be found? Who is there that lays it at heart, how very low she now is? Moreover, are not, as in Jeremiah's days, the Lord's judgments in the earth? And may we not, without danger of committing an error, trace up the cause to the Lord's jealousy for his Zion? Did Jesus purchase the Church with his blood; and can he be indifferent to her best interests? My soul! lay these things to heart. Reader! I charge it upon you, do the same! Whatever the event of the present commotions of the earth may be, let a throne of grace be enabled to witness for both, that Zion is there remembered by us in our warmest prayers, and her welfare preferred above our chief joy. Oh! that every nerve was exerted, and every heart-affection on the stretch, under the Holy Ghost's influence, and that we entered into the retirings of our God in Christ, to plead with him for Zion. Spare Lord, I would say, spare thy people, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them. Reader! the Lord prepare both for his holy will and pleasure, that we may sing our song upon Alamoth, what was composed for the Lord's hidden ones, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Lamentations 5". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25