Lamentations 3-5Contemporary English Version (CEV)
There Is Still Hope
The Prophet Speaks:
3 I have suffered much because God was angry. 2 He chased me into a dark place, where no light could enter. 3 I am the only one he punishes over and over again, without ever stopping. 4 God caused my skin and flesh to waste away, and he crushed my bones. 5 He attacked and surrounded me with hardships and trouble; 6 he forced me to sit in the dark like someone long dead.
7 God built a fence around me that I cannot climb over, and he chained me down. 8 Even when I shouted and prayed for help, he refused to listen. 9 God put big rocks in my way and made me follow a crooked path. 10 God was like a bear or a lion waiting in ambush for me; 11 he dragged me from the road, then tore me to shreds.[a] 12 God took careful aim and shot his arrows 13 straight through my heart.
14 I am a joke to everyone— no one ever stops making fun of me. 15 God has turned my life sour. 16 He made me eat gravel and rubbed me in the dirt. 17 I cannot find peace or remember happiness.
18 I tell myself, “I am finished! I can’t count on the Lord to do anything for me.” 19 Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wandering makes me miserable. 20 That’s all I ever think about, and I am depressed.[b] 21 Then I remember something that fills me with hope. 22 The Lord’s kindness never fails! If he had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed.[c] 23 The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning. 24 Deep in my heart I say, “The Lord is all I need; I can depend on him!”
25 The Lord is kind to everyone who trusts and obeys him. 26 It is good to wait patiently for the Lord to save us. 27 When we are young, it is good to struggle hard 28 and to sit silently alone, if this is what the Lord intends. 29 Being rubbed in the dirt can teach us a lesson;[d] 30 we can also learn from insults and hard knocks.
31 The Lord won’t always reject us! 32 He causes a lot of suffering, but he also has pity because of his great love. 33 The Lord doesn’t enjoy sending grief or pain.
34 Don’t trample prisoners under your feet 35 or cheat anyone out of what is rightfully theirs. God Most High sees everything, 36 and he knows when you refuse to give someone a fair trial. 37 No one can do anything without the Lord’s approval. 38 Good and bad each happen at the command of God Most High. 39 We’re still alive! We shouldn’t complain when we are being punished for our sins. 40 Instead, we should think about the way we are living, and turn back to the Lord.
41 When we lift our hands in prayer to God in heaven, we should offer him our hearts and say, 42 “We’ve sinned! We’ve rebelled against you, and you haven’t forgiven us! 43 Anger is written all over you, as you pursue and slaughter us without showing pity. 44 You are behind a wall of clouds that blocks out our prayers. 45 You allowed nations to treat us like garbage; 46 our enemies curse us. 47 We are terrified and trapped, caught and crushed.”
48 My people are destroyed! Tears flood my eyes, 49 and they won’t stop 50 until the Lord looks down from heaven and helps. 51 I am horrified when I see what enemies have done to the young women of our city.
52 No one had reason to hate me, but I was hunted down like a bird. 53 Then they tried to kill me by tossing me into a pit and throwing stones at me. 54 Water covered my head— I thought I was gone.
55 From the bottom of the pit, I prayed to you, Lord. 56 I begged you to listen. “Help!” I shouted. “Save me!” You answered my prayer 57 and came when I was in need. You told me, “Don’t worry!” 58 You rescued me and saved my life. 59 You saw them abuse me, Lord, so make things right. 60 You know every plot they have made against me. 61 Yes, you know their insults and their evil plans. 62 All day long they attack with words and whispers. 63 No matter what they are doing, they keep on mocking me.
64 Pay them back for everything they have done, Lord! 65 Put your curse on them and make them suffer.[e] 66 Get angry and go after them until not a trace is left under the heavens.
The Punishment of Jerusalem
The Prophet Speaks:
4 The purest gold is ruined and has lost its shine; jewels from the temple lie scattered in the streets. 2 These are Zion’s people, worth more than purest gold; yet they are counted worthless like dishes of clay.
3 Even jackals[f] nurse their young, but my people are like ostriches that abandon their own. 4 Babies are so thirsty that their tongues are stuck to the roof of the mouth. Children go begging for food, but no one gives them any. 5 All who ate expensive foods lie starving in the streets; those who grew up in luxury now sit on trash heaps.
6 My nation was punished worse than the people of Sodom, whose city was destroyed in a flash without the help of human hands.[g] 7 The leaders of Jerusalem were purer than snow and whiter than milk; their bodies were healthy and glowed like jewels.[h] 8 Now they are blacker than tar, and no one recognizes them; their skin clings to their bones and is drier than firewood. 9 Being killed with a sword is better than slowly starving to death. 10 Life in the city is so bad that loving mothers have boiled and eaten their own children.
11 The Lord was so fiercely angry that he burned the city of Zion to the ground. 12 Not a king on this earth or the people of any nation believed enemies could break through her gates.
13 Jerusalem was punished because her prophets and her priests had sinned and caused the death of innocent victims. 14 Yes, her prophets and priests were covered with blood; no one would come near them, as they wandered from street to street. 15 Instead, everyone shouted, “Go away! Don’t touch us! You’re filthy and unfit to belong to God’s people!”
So they had to leave and become refugees. But foreign nations told them, “You can’t stay here!”[i] 16 The Lord is the one who sent them scattering, and he has forgotten them. No respect or kindness will be shown to the priests or leaders. 17 Our eyes became weary, hopelessly looking for help from a nation[j] that could not save us. 18 Enemies hunted us down on every public street. Our time was up; our doom was near. 19 They swooped down faster than eagles from the sky. They hunted for us in the hills and set traps to catch us out in the desert. 20 The Lord’s chosen leader[k] was our hope for survival! We thought he would keep us safe somewhere among the nations, but even he was caught in one of their traps.
21 You people of Edom can celebrate now! But your time will come to suffer and stagger around naked. 22 The people of Zion have paid for their sins, and the Lord will soon let them return home. But, people of Edom, you will be punished, and your sins exposed.
5 Our Lord, don’t forget how we have suffered and been disgraced. 2 Foreigners and strangers have taken our land and our homes. 3 We are like children whose mothers are widows. 4 The water we drink and the wood we burn cost far too much. 5 We are terribly mistreated;[m] we are worn out and can find no rest. 6 We had to surrender to[n] Egypt and Assyria because we were hungry.
7 Our ancestors sinned, but they are dead, and we are left to pay for their sins. 8 Slaves are now our rulers, and there is no one to set us free. 9 We are in danger from brutal desert tribes; we must risk our lives just to bring in our crops.[o] 10 Our skin is scorched from fever and hunger.
11 On Zion and everywhere in Judah our wives and daughters are being raped. 12 Our rulers are strung up by their arms, and our nation’s advisors are treated shamefully. 13 Young men are forced to do the work of slaves; boys must carry heavy loads of wood. 14 Our leaders are not allowed to decide cases in court, and young people no longer play music.
15 Our hearts are sad; instead of dancing, we mourn. 16 Zion’s glory has disappeared! And we are doomed because of our sins. 17 We feel sick all over and can’t even see straight; 18 our city is in ruins, overrun by wild dogs.
19 You will rule forever, Lord! You are King for all time. 20 Why have you forgotten us for so long? 21 Bring us back to you! Give us a fresh start. 22 Or do you despise us so much that you don’t want us?
3.11shreds: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 11.
3.20I am depressed: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
3.22destroyed: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 22.
3.29lesson: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 29.
3.65make them suffer: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
4.3jackals: Desert animals related to wolves, but smaller.
4.6hands: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 6.
4.7jewels: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 7.
4.15here: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 15.
Hebrews 10:19-39Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Encouragement and Warning
19 My friends, the blood of Jesus gives us courage to enter the most holy place 20 by a new way that leads to life! And this way takes us through the curtain that is Christ himself.
21 We have a great high priest who is in charge of God’s house. 22 So let’s come near God with pure hearts and a confidence that comes from having faith. Let’s keep our hearts pure, our consciences free from evil, and our bodies washed with clean water. 23 We must hold tightly to the hope that we say is ours. After all, we can trust the one who made the agreement with us. 24 We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things. 25 Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.
26 No sacrifices can be made for people who decide to sin after they find out about the truth. 27 They are God’s enemies, and all they can look forward to is a terrible judgment and a furious fire. 28 If two or more witnesses accused someone of breaking the Law of Moses, that person could be put to death. 29 But it is much worse to dishonor God’s Son and to disgrace the blood of the promise that made us holy. And it is just as bad to insult the Holy Spirit, who shows us mercy. 30 We know that God has said he will punish and take revenge. We also know that the Scriptures say the Lord will judge his people. 31 It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God!
32 Don’t forget all the hard times you went through when you first received the light. 33 Sometimes you were abused and mistreated in public, and at other times you shared in the sufferings of others. 34 You were kind to people in jail. And you gladly let your possessions be taken away, because you knew you had something better, something that would last forever.
35 Keep on being brave! It will bring you great rewards. 36 Learn to be patient, so that you will please God and be given what he has promised. 37 As the Scriptures say,
“God is coming soon! It won’t be very long. 38 The people God accepts will live because of their faith.[a] But he isn’t pleased with anyone who turns back.”
39 We are not like those people who turn back and get destroyed. We will keep on having faith until we are saved.
10.38The people God accepts will live because of their faith: Or “The people God accepts because of their faith will live.”
You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more
You must be logged in to view your newly purchased content. Please log in below or if you don't have an account, creating one is easy and only takes a few moments. After you log in your content will be available in your library.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to choose a monthly or yearly subscription, and then enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate, click the button below.
Upgrade, and get the most out of your new account. An integrated digital Bible study library - including complete notes from the NIV Study Bible and the NKJV MacArthur Study Bible - is just a step away! Try it free for 30 days.