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Lamentations 3 The Message (MSG)

God Locked Me Up in Deep Darkness

1-3 I’m the man who has seen trouble,
    trouble coming from the lash of God’s anger.
He took me by the hand and walked me
    into pitch-black darkness.
Yes, he’s given me the back of his hand
    over and over and over again.

4-6 He turned me into a scarecrow
    of skin and bones, then broke the bones.
He hemmed me in, ganged up on me,
    poured on the trouble and hard times.
He locked me up in deep darkness,
    like a corpse nailed inside a coffin.

7-9 He shuts me in so I’ll never get out,
    manacles my hands, shackles my feet.
Even when I cry out and plead for help,
    he locks up my prayers and throws away the key.
He sets up blockades with quarried limestone.
    He’s got me cornered.

10-12 He’s a prowling bear tracking me down,
    a lion in hiding ready to pounce.
He knocked me from the path and ripped me to pieces.
    When he finished, there was nothing left of me.
He took out his bow and arrows
    and used me for target practice.

13-15 He shot me in the stomach
    with arrows from his quiver.
Everyone took me for a joke,
    made me the butt of their mocking ballads.
He forced rotten, stinking food down my throat,
    bloated me with vile drinks.

16-18 He ground my face into the gravel.
    He pounded me into the mud.
I gave up on life altogether.
    I’ve forgotten what the good life is like.
I said to myself, “This is it. I’m finished.
    God is a lost cause.”

It’s a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God

19-21 I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
    the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
    the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
    and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

22-24 God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.

25-27 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
    to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
    quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
    to stick it out through the hard times.

28-30 When life is heavy and hard to take,
    go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
    Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
    The “worst” is never the worst.

31-33 Why? Because the Master won’t ever
    walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
    His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.
He takes no pleasure in making life hard,
    in throwing roadblocks in the way:

34-36 Stomping down hard
    on luckless prisoners,
Refusing justice to victims
    in the court of High God,
Tampering with evidence—
    the Master does not approve of such things.

God Speaks Both Good Things and Hard Things into Being

37-39 Who do you think “spoke and it happened”?
    It’s the Master who gives such orders.
Doesn’t the High God speak everything,
    good things and hard things alike, into being?
And why would anyone gifted with life
    complain when punished for sin?

40-42 Let’s take a good look at the way we’re living
    and reorder our lives under God.
Let’s lift our hearts and hands at one and the same time,
    praying to God in heaven:
“We’ve been contrary and willful,
    and you haven’t forgiven.

43-45 “You lost your temper with us, holding nothing back.
    You chased us and cut us down without mercy.
You wrapped yourself in thick blankets of clouds
    so no prayers could get through.
You treated us like dirty dishwater,
    threw us out in the backyard of the nations.

46-48 “Our enemies shout abuse,
    their mouths full of derision, spitting invective.
We’ve been to hell and back.
    We’ve nowhere to turn, nowhere to go.
Rivers of tears pour from my eyes
    at the smashup of my dear people.

49-51 “The tears stream from my eyes,
    an artesian well of tears,
Until you, God, look down from on high,
    look and see my tears.
When I see what’s happened to the young women in the city,
    the pain breaks my heart.

52-54 “Enemies with no reason to be enemies
    hunted me down like a bird.
They threw me into a pit,
    then pelted me with stones.
Then the rains came and filled the pit.
    The water rose over my head. I said, ‘It’s all over.’

55-57 “I called out your name, O God,
    called from the bottom of the pit.
You listened when I called out, ‘Don’t shut your ears!
    Get me out of here! Save me!’
You came close when I called out.
    You said, ‘It’s going to be all right.’

58-60 “You took my side, Master;
    you brought me back alive!
God, you saw the wrongs heaped on me.
    Give me my day in court!
Yes, you saw their mean-minded schemes,
    their plots to destroy me.

61-63 “You heard, God, their vicious gossip,
    their behind-my-back plots to ruin me.
They never quit, these enemies of mine, dreaming up mischief,
    hatching out malice, day after day after day.
Sitting down or standing up—just look at them!—
    they mock me with vulgar doggerel.

64-66 “Make them pay for what they’ve done, God.
    Give them their just deserts.
Break their miserable hearts!
    Damn their eyes!
Get good and angry. Hunt them down.
    Make a total demolition here under your heaven!”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Lamentations 3 New International Version (NIV)

[a]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.

He has made my skin and my flesh grow old
    and has broken my bones.
He has besieged me and surrounded me
    with bitterness and hardship.
He has made me dwell in darkness
    like those long dead.

He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
    he has weighed me down with chains.
Even when I call out or cry for help,
    he shuts out my prayer.
He has barred my way with blocks of stone;
    he has made my paths crooked.

10 Like a bear lying in wait,
    like a lion in hiding,
11 he dragged me from the path and mangled me
    and left me without help.
12 He drew his bow
    and made me the target for his arrows.

13 He pierced my heart
    with arrows from his quiver.
14 I became the laughingstock of all my people;
    they mock me in song all day long.
15 He has filled me with bitter herbs
    and given me gall to drink.

16 He has broken my teeth with gravel;
    he has trampled me in the dust.
17 I have been deprived of peace;
    I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 So I say, “My splendor is gone
    and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
    while he is young.

28 Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust
    there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
    and let him be filled with disgrace.

31 For no one is cast off
    by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
    so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
    or grief to anyone.

34 To crush underfoot
    all prisoners in the land,
35 to deny people their rights
    before the Most High,
36 to deprive them of justice—
    would not the Lord see such things?

37 Who can speak and have it happen
    if the Lord has not decreed it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
    that both calamities and good things come?
39 Why should the living complain
    when punished for their sins?

40 Let us examine our ways and test them,
    and let us return to the Lord.
41 Let us lift up our hearts and our hands
    to God in heaven, and say:
42 “We have sinned and rebelled
    and you have not forgiven.

43 “You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us;
    you have slain without pity.
44 You have covered yourself with a cloud
    so that no prayer can get through.
45 You have made us scum and refuse
    among the nations.

46 “All our enemies have opened their mouths
    wide against us.
47 We have suffered terror and pitfalls,
    ruin and destruction.
48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes
    because my people are destroyed.

49 My eyes will flow unceasingly,
    without relief,
50 until the Lord looks down
    from heaven and sees.
51 What I see brings grief to my soul
    because of all the women of my city.

52 Those who were my enemies without cause
    hunted me like a bird.
53 They tried to end my life in a pit
    and threw stones at me;
54 the waters closed over my head,
    and I thought I was about to perish.

55 I called on your name, Lord,
    from the depths of the pit.
56 You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears
    to my cry for relief.”
57 You came near when I called you,
    and you said, “Do not fear.”

58 You, Lord, took up my case;
    you redeemed my life.
59 Lord, you have seen the wrong done to me.
    Uphold my cause!
60 You have seen the depth of their vengeance,
    all their plots against me.

61 Lord, you have heard their insults,
    all their plots against me—
62 what my enemies whisper and mutter
    against me all day long.
63 Look at them! Sitting or standing,
    they mock me in their songs.

64 Pay them back what they deserve, Lord,
    for what their hands have done.
65 Put a veil over their hearts,
    and may your curse be on them!
66 Pursue them in anger and destroy them
    from under the heavens of the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Lamentations 3:1 This chapter is an acrostic poem; the verses of each stanza begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and the verses within each stanza begin with the same letter.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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