Excerpts from a blogpost I shared a year ago…
Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins? 40 Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord. 41 We lift up our heart and hands toward God in heaven; 42 We have transgressed and rebelled, You have not pardoned. 43 You have covered Yourself with anger and pursued us; You have slain and have not spared. 44 You have covered Yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can pass through. 45 You have made us mere off scouring and refuse in the midst of the peoples (Lam 3:39-45 NASB).
Judah is not to complain of her present condition. It should be suffered with dignity, as it is just judgment—tempered with Mercy. “Let us return to the LORD” means that she has been turning to other than the LORD, whoring after false gods and occultism. Sometimes these iniquities are clothed in false prophecy and ritualism and religiosity apart from the clear, spoken Word of God and have to be searched out, examined, and probed to reach their true source.
“You have not pardoned” does not have reference to forgiveness of sin, but rather has reference to the effect of that sin when it is continued even after it has been searched out and revealed to be of the demonic nature. Thus, the affliction. The “anger” of the LORD represents a long pent-up anger that finally released because of constant rebellion in the fact of the Truth. If the LORD builds up, He can also tear down. If plants, He can also uproot.
All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. 47 Panic and pitfall have befallen us, devastation and destruction; 48 My eyes run down with streams of water because of the destruction of the daughter of my people. 49 My eyes pour down unceasingly, without stopping, 50 Until the Lord looks down and sees from heaven. 51 My eyes bring pain to my soul because of all the daughters of my city. 52 My enemies without cause hunted me down like a bird; 53 They have silenced me in the pit and have placed a stone on me. 54 Waters flowed over my head; I said, “I am cut off!” 55 I called on Your name, O Lord, out of the lowest pit (Lam 3:46-55 NASB).
When Judah was walking with the LORD, these “enemies” did not dare do such, but now these “enemies” feel free to say and do whatever they desire. And their scorn and sarcasm knew no bounds. Here, Jeremiah returns to his own personal grief over the terrible condition of both Judah and Jerusalem. He was called the “Weeping Prophet” for a reason. For about 40 years, he had prophesied of the coming destruction and had watched that destruction come closer and closer, and still, the people would not repent, but went deeper into their occult rebellion. And then he was an eyewitness to the actual destruction, seeing exactly what he had prophesied come to pass, which brought about the deaths of tens of thousands of people.
The burden of the Prophet’s broken heart was so heavy that it even threatened his life. It was a burden “without stopping.” Today, no doubt, the false preachers, teachers, and prophets would enroll Jeremiah in Rick Warren’s “Daniel Plan” and set him up for New Age “Inner Healing” sessions…. Yawn… And that’s my toned down response to such diversions… I’m just so exhausted with the whole network of false teachers that have crept in an absolutely poisoned some solid, Biblical ministries– and simply because fads sell and Christian leaders endlessly want to dabble in the occult… .
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness (James 3:1 ESV).
In his time, Jeremiah had enemies who constantly attempted to silence his voice—and without cause. They had once thrown him in a dungeon (which really could be compared to some of the occult psychological techniques especially popular during the 1990s), intending for him to die. Had the LORD not intervened, he would have, in fact, died as they intended.
You have heard my voice, “Do not hide Your ear from my prayer for relief, from my cry for help.” 57 You drew near when I called on You; You said, “Do not fear!” 58 O Lord, You have pleaded my soul’s cause; You have redeemed my life. 59 O Lord, You have seen my oppression; judge my case. 60 You have seen all their vengeance, all their schemes against me. 61 You have heard their reproach, O Lord, all their schemes against me. 62 The lips of my assailants and their whispering are against me all day long (Lam 3:56-62 NASB).
It was very easy to speak against Jeremiah during the 35 years of his prophesying before Jerusalem fell. No one believed him. They all wanted him to play the same game the false prophets played. But he wouldn’t, and they hated him for it.
Look on their sitting and their rising; I am their mocking song. 64 You will recompense them, O Lord, according to the work of their hands. 65 You will give them hardness of heart, your curse will be on them. 66 You will pursue them in anger and destroy them from under the heavens of the Lord! (Lam 3:63-66 NASB).
“I am their mocking song” speaks eloquently of the ribald songs of scorn and ridicule that Jeremiah endured, especially from the false prophets and other “experts” in their own minds. This prayer of the Prophet is derived from a prayer of David recorded in Psalms.
Draw Me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, who speak peace to their neighbors, but mischief is in their hearts. Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavors; give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert (Psalm 28:3-4 KJV).