Hey everyone, welcome back to Serenity in the Spirit!
After a couple of weeks of music posts, I wanted to do another Bible Study post. Don't worry - the 30 day worship song challenge is still going on! If you've been enjoying the musical content, you can check out Ted's entries for the challenge here and mine here.
Recently, I was in a group Bible study and it re-occurred to us how incredible the Bible is. Every single chapter is packed with wisdom provided we are reading through the lens of the Holy Spirit. If you don't already, I recommend beginning your reading time with a prayer asking God to give you revelation through the Holy Spirit as you read - it will transform your study! In a different Bible study recently, I read Jude with a friend and we probably spent 30 minutes discussing just a couple of verses in the book! The Bible has so much more to say than simply the words written on the page. If we read it correctly, we benefit from life-changing wisdom and revelation.
In today's post, I would like to talk about a few verses from the book of Lamentations. The book is written about the suffering of Jerusalem because of the sinful nature of it's people but it also touches on the redemptive and forgiving power of our Lord. It was the opening verses of Chapter 3 that stood out to me as particularly interesting, mainly because of the contrast to the popular Psalm 23.
I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of the Lord’s wrath, He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; indeed, he has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long (Lamentations 3:1-3).
Here Jeremiah speaks of his personal suffering and how God has treated him due to his own sin. He speaks of the 'rod of the Lord's wrath' causing affliction upon him but for David in Psalm 23, the 'rod' is something that brings comfort. Additionally, Jeremiah writes that God has 'turned His hand' against him 'again and again' but according to David in Psalm 23, 'goodness and mercy' will follow him all the days of his life.
If we were to take these 2 texts at face value, we could come to the conclusion that God clearly had a favourite. Just like Jeremiah, at times, David was no saint yet he is 'treated better' with goodness and mercy rather than being driven away to walk in darkness. However, with knowledge of who God is, we know this conclusion is inaccurate. God does not have favourites and He judges all sin the same - without the grace of God, all sin results in death (Romans 6:23).
Additionally, it is worth noting that in the original language the Old Testament was written in (Hebrew), the word translated as 'rod' can mean 'a stick for punishing'. Whilst God's punishment may cause us to be afflicted as Jeremiah writes, it should be of comfort to us because it means we have a loving Father who wants the best for us, as David expresses in the psalm.
I believe these scriptures represent the nature of God's personality - it is multifaceted. Many parents want the best for their children and will protect them however they can but this does not mean that they will not discipline them when they step out of line. Our Heavenly Father does the same for us and gets the balance right every single time. God, being omniscient, knows exactly what we need when we need it. If He allows us to suffer He will make all things work to the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) even when our suffering is our own fault as a result of our sin (as long as we repent) - what a great God! God also protects us from suffering with mercies that are seen and unseen - again, what a great God!
Even though these two pieces of scripture appear to be showing two different sides of God, we know that according to His word, He is the same yesterday today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and we must ultimately trust that God has our best interest at heart whether disciplining or protecting us. Psalm 23 and Lamentations 3:1-3 both show demonstrations of God's love just in different ways. Even in his writing later on in the chapter, Jeremiah praises God and recognises that God's compassion never fails and is new every morning, great is God's faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-24).
I really pray that this post has encouraged you. If you are going through a hard time, God will deliver you. He gives us good gifts and He cares for you even though it may not feel like it. There are plenty of encouraging verses in the Bible but I encourage you to take a look at Lamentations Chapter 3. You may be able to relate to Jeremiah's suffering but don't forget that as children of God we can also relate to receiving the blessing of verses 22-25.
Thank you for reading :) As always, you can connect with us on our socials using the links at the bottom of the page and any anonymous comments or prayer requests can be left here, we would love to pray for you and your loved ones.
Take care and God bless,
Song of the post: Solid Rock - Tasha Cobbs Leonard & Jamie Grace