Darby's Bible Synopsis
Remember, O LORD, what is come upon us: consider, and behold our reproach.
The prophet can now present the whole affliction of the people to God, as an object of compassion and mercy. This is an onward step in the path of these deep exercises of heart. He is at peace with God; he is in His presence; it is no longer a heart struggling with inward misery. All is confessed before Jehovah who is faithful to His people, so that he can call on God to consider the affliction in order that He may remember His suffering people according to the greatness of His compassions. For Jehovah changes not (Lamentations 5:19-21). The sense of the affliction remains in full, but God is brought in, and everything having been recalled and judged before Him, all that had happened being cleared up to the heart, Jeremiah can rest in the proper and eternal relations between God and His beloved people; and, shutting himself into his direct relations with his God, he avails himself of His goodness, as being in those relations, to find in the affliction of the beloved people an opportunity for calling His attention to them. This is the true position of faith-that which it attains as the result of its exercises before God at the sight of the affliction of His people (an affliction so much the deeper from its being caused by sin).
Summary to Lamentations
This Book of Lamentations is remarkable because we see in it the expression of the thoughts of the Spirit of God, that is, those produced in persons under His influence, the vessels of His testimony, when God was forced to set aside that which He had established in the world as His own. There is nothing similar in the whole circle of the revelations and of the affections of God. He says Himself, How could He treat them as Admah and Zeboim? Christ went through it in its fullest extent. But He went through it in His own perfection with God. He acted thus with regard to Jerusalem, and wept over it. But here man is found to have lost the hope of God's interposing on His people's behalf. God would not abandon a man who was one of this people, who loved them, who understood that God loved them, that they were the object of His affection. He was one of them. How could he bear the idea that God had cast them off? No doubt God would re-establish them. But in the place where God had set them, all hope was lost for ever. In the Lord's own presence it is never lost. It is in view of this that all these exercises of heart are gone through, until the heart can fully enter into the mind and affections of God Himself. Indeed this is always true.
The Spirit gives us here a picture of all these exercises. How gracious! To see the Spirit of God enter into all these details, not only of the ways of God, but of that also which passes through a heart in which the judgment of God is felt by grace, until all is set right in the presence of God Himself. Inspiration gives us, not only the perfect thoughts of God, and Christ the perfection of man before God, but also all the exercises produced in our poor hearts, when the perfect Spirit acts in them, so far as these thoughts, all mingled as they are, refer in the main to God, or are produced by Him. So truly cares He for us! He hearkens to our sighs, although much of imperfection and of that which belongs to our own heart is mixed with them. It is this that we see in the Book of Lamentations, in the Psalms, and elsewhere, and abundantly, though in another manner, in the New Testament.
Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens.
We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows.
We have drunken our water for money; our wood is sold unto us.
Our necks are under persecution: we labour, and have no rest.
We have given the hand to the Egyptians, and to the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread.
Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities.
Servants have ruled over us: there is none that doth deliver us out of their hand.
We gat our bread with the peril of our lives because of the sword of the wilderness.
Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine.
They ravished the women in Zion, and the maids in the cities of Judah.
Princes are hanged up by their hand: the faces of elders were not honoured.
They took the young men to grind, and the children fell under the wood.
The elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their musick.
The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning.
The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!
For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim.
Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it.
Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation.
Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, and forsake us so long time?
Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.
But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us.