a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

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 Prophet confirms the same thing, but the words are different. He again repeats the word to cover; but, that the metaphor might be clearer and more fully explained, he says, with a cloud. He simply intimates, that a cloud interposed, that God might more unrestrainedly punish the Jews, as they had deserved. Isaiah speaks somewhat otherwise, but for the same purpose:

“The hand of God,” he says, “is not shortened, nor are his ears more deaf; but your sins have interposed a distance between you and God.” (Isaiah 59:1, 2.)

There is no doubt but that Isaiah meant the same thing as our Prophet, even that God’s nature never changes; and, therefore, that when he seems to rage against his people, the cause ought to be ascribed to their sins, because God ever remains like himself. We know what is said in the Psalms,

“Thou art God who hearest prayer.” (Psalm 65:3.)

God, then, is always ready to hear his people, and he also possesses power sufficient to help them; but the distance arises from our sins. And so the Prophet now says that a cloud interposed.

Nearly the same sentence is found in the third chapter, as we have seen; for there the Prophet said, in the name of the whole people, that they had become separated from God, but that it was a separation, not because God had changed his purpose, but because the people had, in a manner, rejected his favor. Thou hast, then, he says, covered thyself with a cloud, that is, thou hast made for thyself a covering, that prayer may not pass through. This seems, indeed, very strange, because God advances to meet all the miserable, and promises to hear their prayers: what, then, can this mean, that a cloud interposed that prayer might not go through to him? even that the Jews did not pray aright, and that they had closed up against themselves every access by which God could admit them. In short, the faithful do not here contend with God, as though they had been deceived by his promises, but confess that they were unworthy to pray to God, and they also acknowledge that they did not pray aright. 197197     There are circumstances, no doubt, according to God’s word, under which God does not hear prayer: and this seems to have been an instance of this kind. — Ed. And according to this sense they say, that they were hindered, as though a cloud interposed, so that their prayer could not ascend to God. It follows, —

VIEWNAME is study