Chapter three is three times as long as the other chapters, giving three verses for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Jeremiah shifted the focus again, this time to his own misery and suffering (Lamentations 3:1-19). He, too, had experienced God’s wrath, even though he was not one of the rebellious Jews. Rather, he was an innocent casualty of Judah’s sin against God, as were probably many others. Jeremiah suffered physical pain, as well as emotional and spiritual anguish. He felt as if God had ambushed him and ground him into the dirt, to the point where he admitted, “I have lost all hope of deliverance from the LORD…and I am depressed” (Lamentations 3:18, 20).
Yet he refused to allow himself to remain in that state. In the first words of hope in this little book, Jeremiah exclaimed, “But this I call to mind; therefore I have hope: The LORD’s loyal kindness never ceases; his compassions never end. They are fresh every morning; your faithfulness is abundant!” (Lamentations 3:21-23). Jeremiah knew that God could never change, so he was always trustworthy, no matter the circumstance, no matter what his emotions made him feel. For the next sixteen verses, Jeremiah extolled Jehovah – his faithfulness, his promises, even his just punishments (Lamentations 3:24-39). He concluded, “Let us carefully examine our ways, and let us return to the LORD” in honest repentance (Lamentations 3:40-42).
Yes, it was true that God had hurt them terribly in his wrath against their sin, and Jeremiah wept over their destruction and his own pain (Lamentations 3:43-54). However, God also heard his cries of pain and rescued him, so Jeremiah asked that God execute judgment on those who hurt him without cause (Lamentations 3:55-66).