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Lamentations 5 seems to begins like every other chapter. There is much, much lamenting and a painful description of what is happening (vv.1-16). The people’s response is summed up in v.17 wherein we read:
“Because of this, our hearts are sick;
because of these things, we can hardly see through our tears”.
Then, in the last couple of verses of the chapter and of the whole book, there is a change. There is a turning. There is hope.
“But you, O LORD, reign forever;
your throne endures from generation to generation.
Why do you keep on forgetting us?
Why do you forsake us so long?
Bring us back to yourself, O LORD, so that we may return to you;
renew our life as in days before,
unless you have utterly rejected us
and are angry with us beyond measure.”
Feeling forgotten by God, Jeremiah knows that hope and deliverance and restoration come from only one place (v.19). Jeremiah and the people know that there is One who is in charge of times and seasons and they know it is to Him they must turn now:
“Bring us back to yourself, O LORD, so that we may return to you;
renew our life as in days before…”
Jeremiah’s hope is tempered, a little, in v.22, and it is here that we see a stark contrast with the hope for the future we have in Jesus. Whereas Jeremiah just wasn’t sure that deliverance and restoration was coming, you and I are sure that it is through Christ.
Those living under the Old Covenant, when reading passages such as this, would read v.21 again here so as to finish the reading with hope, they wanted hope to have the last word. For you and for me, Jesus has the last word and the hope He brings needs nothing adding to it. He is the firstfruits of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15.20) which gives us a living and eternal hope (1 Peter 1.3).
Lamentations is not the last word on the future for God’s people, Jesus is.