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God’s Steadfast Love Endures


I am one who has seen affliction

under the rod of God’s wrath;


he has driven and brought me

into darkness without any light;


against me alone he turns his hand,

again and again, all day long.



He has made my flesh and my skin waste away,

and broken my bones;


he has besieged and enveloped me

with bitterness and tribulation;


he has made me sit in darkness

like the dead of long ago.



He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;

he has put heavy chains on me;


though I call and cry for help,

he shuts out my prayer;


he has blocked my ways with hewn stones,

he has made my paths crooked.



He is a bear lying in wait for me,

a lion in hiding;


he led me off my way and tore me to pieces;

he has made me desolate;


he bent his bow and set me

as a mark for his arrow.



He shot into my vitals

the arrows of his quiver;


I have become the laughingstock of all my people,

the object of their taunt-songs all day long.


He has filled me with bitterness,

he has sated me with wormwood.



He has made my teeth grind on gravel,

and made me cower in ashes;


my soul is bereft of peace;

I have forgotten what happiness is;


so I say, “Gone is my glory,

and all that I had hoped for from the L ord.”



The thought of my affliction and my homelessness

is wormwood and gall!


My soul continually thinks of it

and is bowed down within me.


But this I call to mind,

and therefore I have hope:



The steadfast love of the L ord never ceases,

his mercies never come to an end;


they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.


“The L ord is my portion,” says my soul,

“therefore I will hope in him.”



The L ord is good to those who wait for him,

to the soul that seeks him.


It is good that one should wait quietly

for the salvation of the L ord.


It is good for one to bear

the yoke in youth,


to sit alone in silence

when the Lord has imposed it,


to put one’s mouth to the dust

(there may yet be hope),


to give one’s cheek to the smiter,

and be filled with insults.



For the Lord will not

reject forever.


Although he causes grief, he will have compassion

according to the abundance of his steadfast love;


for he does not willingly afflict

or grieve anyone.



When all the prisoners of the land

are crushed under foot,


when human rights are perverted

in the presence of the Most High,


when one’s case is subverted

—does the Lord not see it?



Who can command and have it done,

if the Lord has not ordained it?


Is it not from the mouth of the Most High

that good and bad come?


Why should any who draw breath complain

about the punishment of their sins?



Let us test and examine our ways,

and return to the L ord.


Let us lift up our hearts as well as our hands

to God in heaven.


We have transgressed and rebelled,

and you have not forgiven.



You have wrapped yourself with anger and pursued us,

killing without pity;


you have wrapped yourself with a cloud

so that no prayer can pass through.


You have made us filth and rubbish

among the peoples.



All our enemies

have opened their mouths against us;


panic and pitfall have come upon us,

devastation and destruction.


My eyes flow with rivers of tears

because of the destruction of my people.



My eyes will flow without ceasing,

without respite,


until the L ord from heaven

looks down and sees.


My eyes cause me grief

at the fate of all the young women in my city.



Those who were my enemies without cause

have hunted me like a bird;


they flung me alive into a pit

and hurled stones on me;


water closed over my head;

I said, “I am lost.”



I called on your name, O L ord,

from the depths of the pit;


you heard my plea, “Do not close your ear

to my cry for help, but give me relief!”


You came near when I called on you;

you said, “Do not fear!”



You have taken up my cause, O Lord,

you have redeemed my life.


You have seen the wrong done to me, O L ord;

judge my cause.


You have seen all their malice,

all their plots against me.



You have heard their taunts, O L ord,

all their plots against me.


The whispers and murmurs of my assailants

are against me all day long.


Whether they sit or rise—see,

I am the object of their taunt-songs.



Pay them back for their deeds, O L ord,

according to the work of their hands!


Give them anguish of heart;

your curse be on them!


Pursue them in anger and destroy them

from under the L ord’s heavens.


The faithful do not here expostulate with God, but on the contrary acknowledge that God’s severity was just. That God then had dealt with them severely, they ascribe to their own sins, This is the substance of what is said.

We hence learn that an ingenuous confession ever accompanies repentance, as also Paul teaches us, (2 Corinthians 7:11.) For when a sinner is either secure or tries to cover his wickedness, and flatters himself, as we see but a few who willingly humble themselves before God, he contracts the hardness of obstinacy. For this reason the Prophet requires confession; nay, he suggests here the words suitable to be used, when we desire to obtain pardon from God. We have done wickedly, he says, and have been rebellious The pronoun, we, is here emphatical, as though the faithful had taken on themselves the blame of all the evils, which the greater part ever sought to disown. 195195     To give the proper emphasis to the pronoun, the version ought to be as follows, —
   We, transgressed have we rebelled.

    — Ed

Here then the Prophet shews that there is no other way of being reconciled to God, than by confessing ourselves to be the authors of all our evils; and he also teaches us, that it is an evidence of true repentance, when we do not allege vain pretences as it is commonly done, nor flatter ourselves, but confess that we are guilty. He now shows that guilt ought by no means to be extenuated, so that our confession may be real and complete: but in this respect the world trifle with God. The most wicked are, indeed, ashamed to deny that they are sinners; but as they are forced to make some kind of confession, this they do lightly; and it seems an extorted confession, and is therefore jejune, or at least not complete. But the Prophet here shews that they who seek to be reconciled to God, ought not only in words to acknowledge and confess their guilt, but also ingenuously to open their hearts. Hence he connects perverseness with sin: as though he had said, “We have not sinned simply or in one way, but we have exasperated God himself; and by sinning in many ways and constantly, we have provoked him against us.” He says, in short, that there is then an access open to us to obtain favor, when we do not murmur against God nor contend with him as though he had dealt severely with us, but when we confess that he has been hard and rigid with us, because he had a reason to be so on account of our sins and wickedness. He adds, —

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