Bible reading for Aug 25 -- 26
Aug 25 -- Lamentations 2 and Psalm 33
Aug 26 -- Lamentations 3 and Psalm 34
"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)
THE ABANDONED CITY (ch 2). Lamentations is composed of five poems, or songs, and each section is written as an acrostic in the Hebrew language. The five poems together form a chiasm. (See Tom Constable's helpful notes on Lamentations.) This chapter is full of sorrow for the ruined city. The city of God has been reduced to a ghost town. For the next seven decades there would be no sound of worship nor the public proclamation of God's word -- no more feasts, music, the reading of the law, joyful shouts, and sacrifices at the temple. Not for a long time would people hear the Aaronic blessing echo in the courts, "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you..." (Num 6:24-26). But God is merciful, and in due time will fulfill all his promises.
NEW MERCIES (ch 3). Where is hope to be found in such pain and humiliation (vv 21, 24, 29)? This song (chapter 3) is the center of the chiasm and highlights God's faithfulness to his own character. He was being true to his holy nature to judge the people of Jerusalem. But hope is found in this: God will also be true to his character of compassion and mercy toward his suffering people. Great is God's faithfulness to his righteousness, and great also is God's faithfulness to his people in covenantal love. Therefore, each day brings new mercies. The people are hurting, but their response should not be despair or anger or resentment, but rather, hope, humility, and trust in the Lord. Verses 22-23 shine out like a diamond amidst the ashes, and have become a hymn greatly loved by God's people. I enjoyed this recent arrangement of "Great is Thy Faithfulness". (The additional verse was written by John Piper, I believe.)
"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" (Psalm 34:8)
HYMN OF PRAISE (Ps 33). David calls us to worship God: "Praise befits the upright" (v 1), or as the NIV renders, "it is fitting for the upright to praise him." This psalm is classified as a hymn of praise, which was likely used in corporate worship at the temple -- notice the plurals, "we", "our", and "us" in the last three verses. God's word (vv 4, 6, 9), his character, and his counsel are extolled. He is both Creator and Redeemer. He guards his people and guides history to its appointed end (v 11). He is worthy of our praise! Why not use this psalm in your family worship time? Read it aloud around the dinner table, or as you put the kids to bed. (Remember, praise befits the upright!)
TASTE AND SEE (Ps 34). This is a psalm of thanksgiving by King David. As you read this psalm observe and make a list of all the reasons we should give thanks to the Lord. What are some of the ways we discover the goodness of God? David says, "taste and see" (v 8), meaning that we can experience for ourselves that God is good, trustworthy, and praiseworthy. Verse 20, "He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken" is a curious promise, since many of God's people have suffered broken bones! We must remember that many of David's psalms -- since he was a prophet and the ancestor of Jesus' human nature -- contain foreshadowing of the Messiah. The Apostle John tells us that this verse (and likely vv 19-22) pertain to the Lord Jesus upon the cross: "But when they (the soldiers) came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs" (John 19:33, 36).
FINAL QUOTE. "God has two sheepdogs: Goodness and Mercy. He sends them to us from his throne of grace; sometimes to bark at us, to badger us; sometimes to woo us by persuading us that his will is good and perfect for our lives." (Sinclair Ferguson)
Image credit: photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash. About this newsletter: I'm Sandy Young, and I post three times a week on my Bible reading, following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Subscribe for email at Buttondown.email/Sandy. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. A very helpful resource is the NET Bible with its excellent notes at netbible.org.