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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 Prophet describes here the extremity of all evils, that it availed him nothing to cry and to pray. And yet we know that we are called to do this in all our miseries.

“The strongest tower is the name of the Lord, to it will the righteous flee and shall be safe.” (Proverbs 18:10.)


“Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
(Joel 2:32.)

And Scripture is full of testimonies of this kind; that is, that God graciously invites all the faithful to himself:

“He shall call upon me, and I will hear him.” (Psalm 91:15.)

“In the day when I call, answer me speedily.”
(Psalm 102:2.)

“Before they call, I will answer.” (Isaiah 65:24.)

In short, there is no need to collect all the passages; but we may be content with this one thing, that when God claims to himself this prerogative, that he answers prayers, he intimates that it is what cannot be separated from his eternal essence and godhead; that is, that he is ready to hear prayer. And hence the Psalmist concludes,

“To thee shall all flesh come.” (Psalm 65:3.)

When, therefore, Jeremiah complains that his prayers were in vain, and without any fruit or effect., it seems strange and inconsistent. But we know that God holds the faithful in suspense, and so hears as to prove and try their patience, sometimes for a long time. This is the reason why he defers and delays his aid.

It is no wonder, then, that God did not hear the prayers of his servant, that is, according to the judgment of the flesh. For God never rejects his own, nor is he deaf to their prayers and their sighs; but the faithful often speak according to what the flesh judges. As, then, the Prophet found that he obtained nothing by prayer, he says that his prayer was shut out, or that the door was closed against him, so that his prayer did not come to God.

Now, this passage is worthy of special notice; for except God immediately meets us, we become languid, and not only our ardor in prayer is cooled but almost extinguished. Let us, then, bear in mind, theft though God may not help us soon, yet our prayers are never repudiated by him; and since we see that the holy fathers experienced the same thing, let us not wonder, if the Lord at this day were to try our faith in the same manner. Let us, therefore, persevere hi calling on Him; and should there be a longer delay, and our complaint be that we are not heard, yet let us proceed in the same course, as we shall see the Prophet did. It follows, —

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